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The Mighty God, the Lord

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
November 17, 2021 7:00 am

The Mighty God, the Lord

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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November 17, 2021 7:00 am

What does God need from us? And what does He want from us? This week on The Bible Study Hour, we’re reminded in Psalm 50 that our God is a God of justice. He sees our hearts, and He knows our intentions. How, then, should we approach Him in prayer and worship? Where should our thoughts and attitudes be focused?

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What does God need from us and what does he want from us today on the Bible study our we are reminded in Psalm 50 that our God is a God of justice. He sees our hearts and he knows our intentions. How then should we approach him in prayer and worship. Where should our thoughts and attitudes be focused are welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Bortz preparing you to think and act quickly. We know that there are people all around us who don't. Trusting God work.

The saving grace of Jesus Christ and we know that they will one day be held accountable to God for their disbelief. What about the rest of us. How does God judge believers and what does God require of us. Let's join Dr. Boyce in turn to Psalm 50 last time when we were studying Psalm 49. I pointed out that because the Bible is progressive and its revelation is often the case that a New Testament passage is a commentary upon something we find in the Old Testament. That's to be expected. I pointed out that in dealing with Psalm 49 it's actually the other way around. Jesus told the story of the rich fool who saved up all his possessions and put them in Barnes and said now take it easy. You don't have to work anymore. All of this is going to be fine, eat and be merry. And Jesus said don't know you're a fool. That is very night your soul is going to be required and then who is all that is all that going to go to is going to belong to Psalm 49 was a commentary on the New Testament part of the story and the Old Testament passages. The explanation we have something like that when we come to Psalm 50 only in Psalm 50 we have the normal pattern we have described in Psalm 50 is judgment a scene of judgment, and in the New Testament, especially in first Peter chapter 4 verse seven we have commentary on it. You know that text you know that it says this, for it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God, and if it begins with us.

What will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel.

While those are sober words and this is a very sober soul. Now the background to it. Of course, is that it is a form of judgment. As I said and I become very clear in the opening verses as a matter of fact, this first section, verses one through six are a deliberate reference back to the appearance of God on Mount Sinai, and the giving of the law when he read what Exodus 19 says about that on the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning and a thick cloud over the mountain in a very loud trumpet blast everyone in the camp trembled and Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord descended on it in fire. Smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace will mountain trembled violently and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder delivered references to that in these opening verses. It's not the same. Of course, because Exodus 19 is a narrative.

This is a Psalm with the verbal reminiscences carry us back in.

One can hardly read this and we do the Old Testament without realizing that's what it's talking about in verse three.

For example, fire devours before him, and around the campus rages at length in case we didn't get it at that point later on we have verbal echoes of the kind of things we find in the language of Mount Sinai verse seven. For example, I am God, your God, that sounds very much like the first light of the 10 Commandments.

I am the Lord your God who brought you up on the land of Egypt, and so on and then very explicitly in the latter half of the Psalm. The references to three of the 10 Commandments in verses 18, 19 and 20 references there to the eighth commandment in the seventh commandment on the ninth commandment, so the psalmist is very deliberately setting forth that kind of a pattern. It's hard to imagine anything more serious or solemn than the summons to judgment now let's look at several things about it from these opening verses. First of all, you notice the names of God would appear there in verse one, new international version translates in the mighty one God and the Lord in Hebrews L Elohim in Yala or Jehovah first two of those L Elohim could be translated, the God of God's because the first is singular and the second is plural of the word Elohim, even though it's plural is usually used of God, and although some commentators say that what that really means is the God of gods who is Jehovah the Lord. Most commentators think that really what you have here is the piling up of three mighty names of God. Certainly, the new international version translators thought that because that's the way they translated it towards it's a solemn beginning each one of those names has its own connotation.

The word L speaks of God's mighty, mighty God Elohim is the creator before whom we should stand reverential fear and then the word Jehovah is the covenant God, self existing eternal covenant God enters into a special relationship with his people.

Now that's intended to be solemn L Elohim Yala who calls people before his court and the second thing we want to notice is the scope of the summons it's intentionally brought. Notice how it goes. God is speaking any summons the element from the rising of the sun on the one side to the going down of the sun on the other for east-west everybody in the face of the earth, and then let's we miss that a little bit later on he looks up to the heavens above and then he goes down to the earth below so you see he's going from east to west and is going up and down is embracing all universe you have a monumental at all embracing summons lists appears this point.super thinking through it to be the final judgment.

God is calling all the heathen stand before him in order to pronounce judgment on them for their many sins and there's 1/3 thing in the third thing comes to us as a surprise because when you get to verse four and also in verse five.

What you discover. Suddenly is that the people he is calling before and for judgment are not even you might have anticipated but actually his people as the people Israel. Notice verse 40 summons the heavens above in the earth that he may judge his people. What he says is this gather to me my consecrated ones who make a covenant with me by sacrifice how it's a common device in the Old Testament, though it's not always in exactly the same way I think of the most and best known example of LAT which is from the minor prophet Amos in a hot Amos begins his prophecy. You know it's by a series of judgments from God and all of the surrounding nations starts with Damascus, which is up to the northeast of Israel where he was prophesied a pronounce of the judgment upon them and everybody in nation of Israel would say, by all means put out the judgment against Damascus because they're the great enemy and that we want them to be judged. And then he swings down the other way and he begins to talk about the Philistines any branch of the judgment on them. They were always the enemies of the people, especially during the time of the judges that even into the time of David and so everybody's glad to have that kind of a judgment, then he goes up the tire along the coast. The goes down to Edom on the other side in any tax on Ammon and Moab is going all the nations round about them. Finally he talks about Judah in the south and last of all, the judgment against Israel must been very shocking now in a very short truncated way. That's what you have here God Almighty Jehovah God of his people summons to judgment when he begins to speak.

The judgment is a judgment against his people, which is why I began with a reference from first Peter 47 see what it says is, it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God's word CLECs over there in the margin following verse six is not always possible to tell exactly why that word is there is some question about what that word Selah means nobody translates it because they don't know how to translate it but seems to be used in a way that indicates applause pause for reflection might've been a musical notation.

This is a break in the music like change between the first movement of a symphony in the second might've been that it might be for us in our thinking the music but as we read this. We get to that point were supposed to stop. However, it was intended. If it does mean that this is a place to stop and ponder. It is certainly significant appearing at this point in the Psalm after the summons to God and say I'm going to summon my people, and before he begins to bring a judgment against them.

He says now stop and consider this a very serious business.

In other words, it's the same sort of thing we have in a back pocket. You go in the second chapter as those words sometimes uses a call to worship, but it doesn't mean that all words go like this. The Lord is in his holy temple.

Let all the earth.

Keep silence before I scalded judgment means God's in his court require settle down and listen because now the judge of all the earth is going to speak and so that's what we have other two indictments here. The first is to group of people that Derek Kidner, one of the commentators calls the nominally Orthodox of the mechanically pious what you have in verses seven through 15 and then there's a second category of people and there's a judgment pronounced against them and they are what are called hypocrites and their judgment is more severe. We start with the first there people who when God reproves them for a lack of genuine love retreat into ritual or liturgy.

Now there's nothing wrong with ritual in itself. The forms of the church. The forms of the synagogue, whatever it may be given to us by God are given to us for our good. Sometimes people say well they don't like liturgical elements in the service and so we're not going to have a liturgical service and sedately become liturgical and their non-liturgical approach and the certain forms they follow in order not to be liturgical, but the forms are kind of liturgy. If you've ever been part of the Quaker meeting at all. That's probably the greatest example of all you don't have anybody in charge. Nobody leads a certain thing but anybody who's in it knows that there's a very strict order. The people follow certain people speak times they speak the kind of liturgy you always have some kind of liturgy. If you have order all and it's not bad. It's given to us by God and in the case of the sacrifices of Israel are what are referred to here are in our cases.

We have the communion service and so forth. Those are meant to remind us of spiritual things the case of the sacrifices they were certainly to remind the worshiper that everything comes from God when they present. Thank offering, which is what this Psalm speaks about. It's a way of saying what you've given us comes from you.

We recognize that we give you back a portion and when they presented their burnt offerings, it was a recognition that the only way you can approach God is my sacrifice that is by an atonement for your sin, you don't have any righteousness in yourself liturgy that rituals the sacraments are meant to teach those things and their good seed is a great problem with JI was talking about it this morning when we were studying Romans 11 and that is that you come to trust the ritual and you know how that is. You can come to think that the form of the service is so beautiful and in the prayers are so beautiful in the way we go through the ritual is so rewarding and personally satisfying that you simply forget that it's the point you to Jesus Christ and bring you to faith in him. Whenever that happens, then you get to think of yourself not as a person who is receive something from God, who needs to express thanks to God for what he is done, but rather as a person is doing something for God.

You say. Isn't it wonderful that we come to church and look what we do for God. You know, we have this beautiful building we put on these beautiful services.

All these things it joked God should certainly be thankful for that.

And so you begin to get hardened and the rituals do exactly the opposite of what God intended them to do and that's what was happening with the people. That's why Derek Kidner says they became nominally Orthodox and mechanically pious. If you look at them on the outside it was a mother they're doing everything there in the synagogue or in the church going through all the motions but actually they thought they were doing something for God and therefore they missed the point of it entirely. Now that is why there is such an emphasis in these verses upon God not needing anything from them. Interestingly, verses nine through 13 elaborate that point I have no need of a bowl from your stall or of goats from your pans every animal of the forest is mine and the cattle and the thousand Hills.

I know every bird in the mountains and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I wouldn't tell you the world is mine, and all that is in it.

I do not eat the flesh of bulls drink the blood of goats see what that is recognizing is that the proper cure for the nominally Orthodox social work pious in all their observances. Those who love the formalism, the cure for that is to recognize that God doesn't need anything from us and we do need to recognize that because really it is very hard to get that through our thick skulls constantly think they were capable of doing something for God and the God must be very pleased because of the things were doing what is God pleased with what we do for him we do for him. The whole world is mine all you could bring a million sacrifice. I got a million more says God I don't need your sacrifices use it that pleases God that what pleases God is a thankful heart that interesting.

That's what this Psalm emphasizes you find it in verse 14 of the end of that first section the first indictment for formalism sacrifice. Thank offerings to God is what God says. Be thankful and later on in verse 23 the end of the song with the same thing. He who sacrifices thank offerings honors million prepares away speaking about not faith in the New Testament we would say what what God wants is faith. The gospel is preached and wants us to believe that it respond to it and that of course is right here in the Old Testament speaking about being thankful because parliaments dealing with is the attitude of the worshiper.

The things that somehow by his worship he can make up something that is lacking in God and the contrary to that is to recognize that we can't that is the other way around. Everything leading comes to us from God and therefore we are to be thankful for thankfulness embraces all the other things you say if you're worshiping God in a formal way to think somehow that the most wonderful thing you'd do is the beauty of the service after learning that there's nothing really that you can offer. But heaven is much more beautiful than anything you can do here and what we have to be as thankful that he's given us that which we actually do enjoy so that's the first thing you know where the end of the Old Testament the prophet speak out against the sacrifices, even to the point of saying it out.

God says and some of the prophecies they make me sick and tired of them because you're just coming in this formal way in your hearts are far from me, so that's what certain kinds of formalism do now in the second half of this beginning with verse 16 we moved to a different category of people and is very clear because verse 16 begins to the wicked. God says now those in the first category are making a bad mistake. God doesn't call them wicked her trusting in in the ritual that's drawing them alive and hardening their hearts to great danger doesn't call them wicked. These people are called wicked reason they're called wicked is this there there in the churches reciting the laws taking the covenant of God upon their lips, but actually deep in their hearts they hate his instruction in their casting his words behind their back on the words he turned her face toward God and they say oh yes, God were doing all these things to go through all the ritual, but as soon as they get is law. They really don't want to obey is law think they throw it back behind them so they can go on and do exactly what they please. Kidner calls these hypocrites and hardened characters.

That's a problem here with the problem here is that these people are only the alleged people of God seem to be the people of God but they really aren't there.

The unconverted reason. We know there among the unconverted is that they are not obeying the law of God.

That's how you know it you have a great problem in the church. Sometimes I assess kind of question I I say do you know any people like that in the church and if you have any sensitivity of all you say yes indeed we go and there are plenty of them certainly in the evangelical church in America there are and many of them are in very visible positions and they they fall in the scandal and they bring dishonor the name of God. The theological problem here is what is called antinomianism antinomian as a means against the law. Auntie is against and no mosses law so antinomianism it's it's the kind of thinking that says we can be all right, we can say all the right things but we don't have to obey the law of God as a matter fact we can be opposed to it because were saying the right things is a special kind of form of this evangelicalism today and the weight usually expressed talked about it before, is the site you can have Jesus Christ as your Savior without having him as Lord, what is the Savior Jesus Christ was not the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior Jesus Christ was not the Lord Jesus Christ is not the true Jesus Christ Jesus Christ as your Lord is not your Savior, because the Lord Jesus Christ and the Savior Jesus Christ are one and yet we have a kind of theology that says, well, one would you say yes I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I can do anything I please. This observation can't. What is more expensive. That's the way you're thinking. You're wicked and you're a hypocrite and you need to be corrected is a correction while think of it this way in the first indictment versus seven and following where he is talking about the nominally Orthodox. It is those who are formal in their religion what he needs to remind them of impact section is that God is a spirit and he has to be worship in spirit and in truth. Mother was going through the motions doesn't count if your heart is in it. So Jesus said you have to worship God in spirit and in truth it's out of the worship in Jerusalem or Samaria that really matters. That's what those people need to be told what are the hypocrites need to be told. Please antinomian center. No true Christians in verses 16 and following needed to be told that God is a moral God. So if you're coming to worship moral God and you're pretending to be a follower of a moral God, you better be moral and that's why the space is given over here to sampling of the 10 Commandments you see the long section in the first indictment has to do with God not eating anything because he spirit using is not plotting the Feed and was sacrifices God is a spirit to be worship in spirit and in truth. In this section, the corresponding part is the reiteration of the law and so you have three of the commandments their samples so the 10 you shall not steal.

That's what verse 18 is all about. You shall not commit adultery. The second half of verse 18 is talking about that seventh of the 10 Commandments and then finally you shall not bear false witness, which is the ninth of the 10 Commandments. Now we know from the teaching of Jesus Christ that was involved there is more than just the outward act, especially when we talk about adultery. He said you're guilty of that acute is lust after a woman in your heart. That's the way Jesus explained it. The difficulty with that is that many of us treated this way, we say when I look it to be guilty of adultery.

All you have to do is lust in your heart, not even commit the act well everybody does that. Therefore it everybody does that. It really can't be so bad and so we say don't have to pay a lot of attention to that work were talking about the stealing.

If just the thought of stealing is as bad as actually stealing wealth. Everybody does that. So stealing can't be so bad. I want to point out is of the sound is exactly the opposite. Saunders and treated lightly. As a matter fact song treats it even more strenuously. Then we would tend to say otherwise. Listen, it doesn't merely say you are guilty of being a thief though. Probably these people were. But they're condemned for his joining with thieves and in the matter of adultery is not saying necessarily that they are guilty of adultery, though perhaps they were buddies as you throw in your lot with adulterers like the company you like to hang around with them like their stories you want to kick about hanging around the people were clever, or actually stealing or verses 19 and 20. Those who are smart with her mouth. Cool but why can't really be trusted. See how that operates saying like it doesn't solve one these are the people who sit down and gate send associate with those who were evil, and eventually become just like them.

This last one is serious this matter of speaking falsely told not to do that. You shall not bear false witness.

The reason this is so bad is it to speak.

Quite frankly, it becomes a habit. You're not a man or woman of truth.

You don't make a practice always to say things as clearly as you can on the basis of how you perceive them. If you're always kind of shading things. Well, it will become a habit of life with you and your speech and your thinking and everything will be conditioned in that way.

That's what he says here you say you speak continually against your brother, not just a July wants, but you get into a pattern of doing about as bad and moreover everyone for the latter half of that means you speak continually against your brother and you slander even your own mother's son about stepbrothers and stepchildren. This is the one that's actually closest to you, your brother or your sister on the same other one that you should be especially close to what you make it a habit of not speaking the truth regularly well you're going to do that, even with people who are closest to you is what he say so. He gives a warning he tells these people to straighten out because he said that the problem is what you're doing your thinking that I am all together like you, why do they do that reason they do that is that they forgotten the God is a moral God because they don't care about morals, saying that God doesn't care about morals because they don't think about judgment doesn't think about judgment and what happens is that they find themselves now to go back to Peter out of the second P referred to first Peter earlier to go back to second Peter and the people who say where is this coming he promised this judgment that's going to, Jesus Christ returns because far as we can see everything is continued exactly the way it was from the beginning. You know what Peter says.

He says the Lord is not like you. You say I don't see it in my lifetime I lived to be 50 years or 60 years. Therefore, God's not going to judge you forgot the God is it like you because with the Lord thousand years is like a day and a day is like a thousand years in the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness doesn't think the way you do, rather, is delaying his judgment in order to draw all of his people in and then it will come Peter when he refers to it says is going to come in fire just as the psalmist goes here. You see, that's where Psalm 50 ends. What we have is a very nice outline sometimes to give the outlines of the beginning. Let me get this outline at the edge of the summons the judgment verses one through 60 of the first indictment indictment of the formalism in verses seven through 15 second indictment of hypocrites verses 16 to 21 and finally verses 22 and 23 have final charge final charges to both categories of people in the point you see is on the surface they seem exactly alike. Here the formalists in church are allowing the ritual to take them away from a true spiritual relationship to God. God rebukes them in here in the other hand, are the hypocrites and their going through all the same motion saying all the same things, just like Alonzo.

Believe it or becoming formalistic like that on the outside, you say I can't tell the difference and its true. Often we can't regards as a way to tell the difference is this. I'm going to, and I'm going to pronounce a judgment. I'm warning you about its those really know me are going to take a warning and they're going to sacrifice thank offerings which acknowledge what God is done and that is they do that they're going to find that the way of salvation is unfolded to them and that in a very great way not Jesus talked about it he said was that man went out to Saul when he sowed his field with all the great and then enemy came along the enemy through tears in the field and when the servant saw the tears were there. They said let's pull up the tears. I don't belong in the field with a wheat and the master said no let them grow because if you pull up the tears, or to pull up some of the week to let them grow into the harvest and then I'll sort it out. Say this is a day in which the gospel is being preached at Lowe's who hear it respond turn from their ways and follow after God. And although there are times in the church are day, especially when you can't, it would seem tell the difference between those who are utter hypocrites and and those who are trying but nevertheless have the life of God really within the model.

You can tell it one day you are going to tell Reagan to tell us whether they've done with the psalmist tells us to do here with and actually come to trust God there thanking him for the salvation which he gives. I guess that's the point at which to and ask whether you've done that you really trusting in him are you thanking God for what he's done. You've done that then you're in the company of those with whom he is working in whom the life of Jesus Christ is found in the blessing of God Almighty rest upon you. Make sure that that's the case. Bible says make your calling and election sure don't presume upon. Make sure you're really trusting him and you can do it right now. Spray her father. We do thank you for this on the Psalms are always so practical and this is certainly a practical song for us and speaks to the very problems we have this day in the evangelical church and other places to kinda formalism on the one hand hypocrisy. On the other. And yet the situation in which your word is preached grant of those who are your people might hear and obey and respond because they are your people and work in them to bring them to a fuller knowledge of what it really is to be a follower of Jesus Christ is. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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