APRIL 10 – LEANING TOWARD HERESY

The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken…thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself.

Psalm 50:1, 21

 

When large numbers of adherents in the Christian churches come to believe that God is different from what He actually is, that concept becomes heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind!

When the Christian church surrenders her once lofty concept of God and substitutes for it ideas so low, so ignoble as to be utterly unworthy, her situation is tragic indeed. Into the life and the practices of the church comes a whole new philosophy; and the sense of the divine Presence and the majesty of God is no longer known.

Although “morality” is no longer a popular word in our world, it is apparent that such low and unworthy concepts of God’s Person actually constitute a moral calamity for professed believers in great segments of Christianity. The records of both sacred and secular history show that low views of God will surely destroy the appeal of the Christian for all who hold them!

To all sinners, Jesus said, “You must be born again—from above!” He knew that the gods begotten in the shadowy thoughts of the fallen sons and daughters of Adam will quite naturally be no true likeness of the true and living God!

 

Dear Lord, prevent me from ever diminishing Your greatness. I pray that You will reveal a glimpse of Your mighty power to all those in the world who hold You in low esteem.[1]


1 None other than God himself summons the inhabitants of the earth to prepare themselves for the great judgment to come. The first three words of the Hebrew text emphasize that it is God who has spoken: “El” (= God), “Elohim” (= God), “Yahweh” (= Lord) (the NIV has “The Mighty One, God, the Lord”). The Creator-God (= “Elohim”) and the Redeemer-God (= “Yahweh”) are one God (= “El”). He has made a covenant with creation (Ge 9:8–17; cf. Hos 2:18) and with the nation of Israel. His rule extends far beyond Israel to the whole earth, poetically described as “from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.”[2]


21 Too often, God’s silence is taken as his approval (cf. Mal 2:17; 3:14–15). The people became used to God’s patience and mistook it for an inability to do anything about the evil on earth. They did not understand that Yahweh is the Wholly Other One, who is free in his judgment as well as in his grace. He cannot be boxed in by human beings. In his own time, God will come to rebuke and then to judge his people openly.[3]


50:1 First the Judge is heard as He summons all the people in the entire land of Israel—from east to west—to stand before His tribunal. What gives authority to the Judge’s voice is the fact that He is the Mighty One, God the Lord.[4]


50:21 Because God had not punished them immediately, they thought He was as careless as they were. They failed to realize that His patience was designed to give them time to repent. But now the Lord breaks His silence and rebukes them for the charges listed above.[5]


50:1 The Mighty One, God, the Lord. The Divine Judge is introduced with three significant OT names. The first two are the short and longer forms of the most common word for “God” in the OT, and the third is the name for Israel’s God par excellence, i.e., Yahweh (cf. its historical origin in Ex 3:14). from the rising of the sun to its setting. A common OT idiom conveying from E to W, i.e., all over the planet.[6]


50:21 I kept silence … I will reprove you. God’s longsuffering grace must never be looked upon as laxity (cf. 2Pe 3:3–10) nor abused. His reckoning for rebellion will indeed be manifested.[7]


50:1 The Supreme God, God, Yahweh The psalmist uses three consecutive Hebrew names for God: el, elohim, and yhwh. Taken together, the names emphasize God’s supremacy as Creator of the earth and God of Israel.

Because el and elohim are both usually translated as “God,” most translations use “Mighty One.” However, the text literally translates as “God, God, Yahweh.” The first “God” (el) refers to God as the supreme deity.[8]


50:21 You imagined that I was just like you In addition to the sins He attributes to the wicked in vv. 17–20, God rebukes His people for their attitude toward Him. They viewed God’s silence as a sign that He was unable to judge them.

present an argument The Hebrew term arakh used here means “to get ready” or “set in order.” While it can describe preparation for battle (1 Sam 17:2), here it indicates the presenting of a legal case (Job 13:18; 23:4). With the heavens and earth as His witnesses (see Ps 50:4 and note), God has given evidence for the misdeeds of the wicked.[9]


50:1 The Mighty One, God the Lord. The psalm opens impressively with three divine names. The third is God’s covenant name, conventionally translated with the word “Lord” in small capital letters. In Hebrew it is four consonants, called the “Tetragrammaton,” and pronounced “Yahweh” by contemporary scholars, though that pronunciation is not certain. See Ex. 3:13–15 and notes.

rising of the sun to its setting. From east to west, God addresses the whole earth.[10]


50:21 I have been silent. God’s silence is frequently taken by the wicked as a sign that He doesn’t care if they sin.[11]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 428). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 432). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 627). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 629). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 50:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 50:21). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[8] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 50:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[9] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 50:21). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[10] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 887). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

[11] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 888). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

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