August 19, 2019
Psalm 50:3, 14-15 - Our God comes; He does not keep silence; before Him is a devouring fire, around Him a mighty tempest. ... Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.
Psalm 50 is not a gentle psalm. In it God comes to His people, a mighty storm swirling around Him and a devouring fire going before Him. This is the God who descended on Mount Sinai in cloud and fire and with a thundering voice. The terrified Israelites begged Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die" (Exodus 20:19b). Now, wrapped in fire and storm God comes to judge His people. He does not rebuke them for the sacrifices they bring. Those offerings, God says, "are continually before Me."
God does not need the birds and goats and bulls offered to Him; He certainly does not hunger for them. He is the Creator, and all beasts and birds already belong to Him. The Lord calls on His people to offer a different kind of sacrifice, a sacrifice of thanksgiving and prayer. "Call upon Me in the day of trouble," God says, "I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me." He is the God who delivers and saves, and in that act of deliverance, He is glorified.
When the God who delivers and saves walked on earth, many people called on Him for deliverance. Ten lepers once cried out: "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" (Luke 17:13b) Jesus looked on them in compassion. He sent them on their way to show themselves to the priests and, as they went, they were healed. Nine continued on their way, perhaps to offer the sacrifice required upon being cleansed of their disease. But one of the ten, a Samaritan, returned to Jesus with a different offering, the sacrifice of thanksgiving that God desires. "He fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving Him thanks" (Luke 17:16a).
The Samaritan leper offered the sacrifice that glorified God. It is the sacrifice of praise that we offer now, the sacrifice of praise we will offer for all eternity to the Son of God—who was Himself the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Called by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel, we know and believe that our God delivers and saves. We call on Him for forgiveness, for life and salvation and, for the sake of His Son, He delivers us, and we glorify His holy Name. It is the sacrifice He desires. "The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me" (Psalm 50:23a).
THE PRAYER: Almighty God, accept our grateful praise for all of Your gifts, especially the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Have you seen God make Himself known in your life in some profound way?
2. How do you acknowledge God's supreme power in your day-to-day life?
3. Do you call out to God when things are desperate in your life?
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