Sunday Devotional 20th November 2022

Strategicresourcetraining   -  

We are continuing to explore the knowledge of God as expressed in the Psalms. This week we are continuing to work through Psalm 50, a Psalm of Asaph.

Psalm 50:5 “Gather My godly ones to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.”

God is calling for His people to be assembled together. Why? So they may hear the word which will search and try their hearts, and so that the true and the false may be revealed. Note these people are those who claim to be His followers, not the unbelievers.

The covenant God made with Abraham (Genesis 15), was sealed with the slaying of animals that God alone walked between. This was a forerunner of the death of Christ and the New Covenant. It is based on true faith, not pretence. It is not built upon sacrifices, noble works, or merit, as much as God desires to see us demonstrate such behaviour.

But the true covenant, embraces those who have truly accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and that their lives reflect this. These are people who carry an awe, reverence, and respect for who He God is and the way He calls us to live.

God’s perfect moral nature demands that the penalty for sin is death. In the Old Covenant, as a symbol for what was coming with the Incarnation of Christ, people could offer an animal to God as a substitute for their own lives, symbolizing their faith in the merciful, forgiving God.

But at the time of the writing of this Psalm, the people were offering sacrifices and forgetting what this signified. The very act of sacrifice back then, and our accepting Christ today, is a commitment and consent that we agree to follow God wholeheartedly. It is a “heart thing.” But at the time of writing the Psalm, most of the people did not have their hearts in it. They were worshipping false gods, living life for themselves, and violating the commandments.

We can easily fall into the same pattern by embracing religious activities, such as reading our Bible, attending church, giving financially, and talking the so called “Christian talk” rather than following the Lord out of a heartfelt love and obedience to God. God wants righteousness, not empty ritual and He is able to assess this instantly.

Although the Holy Spirit brings conviction, confession, transformation, and behavioural adjustment to us as we journey with Him, the day is going to come when all who know the Lord will be gathered and judged by Him (2 Corinthians 5:10).

It is not about salvation – but if our faith has been totally counterfeit, we will not get to appear before the Lord at all for any assessment of our lives – we will immediately be consigned to eternal death.

However, those who are found to have a sincere faith in Christ, will have their lives and services evaluated by Jesus Christ Himself, who loved us and gave His life for us (Ephesians 5:25; Revelation 1:5). What we should understand is that the burning eyes of our Saviour will penetrate every area of our lives.

Everything we have done as believers will be inspected and evaluated by Him. If we have been faithful to Him, we will be gloriously rewarded. If we have been unfaithful, we will suffer the devastating loss of the rewards we could have received (1 Corinthians 3:8–15).

Such words are never written as a threat or something to make us feel guilty or ashamed. They are written to call us up to something magnificent, that contains the fullness of God’s blessing. They are designed to call us into fully embracing the way of the Lord and living in a way that expresses the Kingdom of God.

So what does this mean? It means we should walk in holiness, resisting temptation and obeying God’s commands (Romans 6:19; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:13). We should make sure that we are giving the Lord the first place in our lives – way above the temporary things of the world (Matthew 6:33). Obviously, this calls us to embrace the cross by practicing discipline and self-control; it calls us to endure trials, temptations, and tribulations patiently and faithfully (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10) and to be an example to all of what life in Christ really means or looks like.

As an atheist, I used to accuse Christians of being weak people who needed a crutch to lean on. What a shock I got when I encountered the Lord and learned we don’t get a crutch, we get a cross. It is a way of life that is certainly not for sissies. We need the Lord’s help every minute of every day to truly make life work in the way He has designed it.

God bless you.

Bruce Billington