“Summaries, Psalms 47-51”Categories: Bulletin Articles
Psalm 47 is a simple song of rejoicing before God. It invites all of Israel to praise Him because He is great and has defeated their enemies. Because He has been exalted, they should sing praises to Him. Now, as He reigns on His throne, the leaders of His people are gathering to worship Him.
Psalm 48 is about God’s defense of Jerusalem. He has made her His holy mountain, set His throne within her, and made Himself known as her protector. When enemy kings attacked Jerusalem, God’s presence frightened and defeated them. From this, God’s people conclude that He always will protect her. They rejoice in His steadfastness and goodness. They urge everyone to consider how well fortified Jerusalem is, as well as the implications of God’s presence within her.
Psalm 49 is a reflection on the impermanence of wickedness. The psalmist announces to everyone that he has something wise to say. He asks, rhetorically, why he should fear the evil people who trust in their wealth. No amount of money can buy off God, and they, along with everyone else, will end up in the grave. They foolishly rely on themselves, but death will be their end. Only those who rely on God can hope for anything better. As a result, the righteous should not be afraid of the rich, no matter how impressive they may appear. They’ll die like everyone else.
Psalm 50 is about God coming as a righteous judge. He comes to judge in dramatic fashion, demanding that His people appear before Him. He applauds their faithfulness in offering sacrifices to Him, but He points out that He doesn’t need them. He owns everything anyway, and He doesn’t eat sacrificial animals. Instead, sacrifices are useful for the righteous because they ensure God will help them when they need it.
On the other hand, God condemns the wicked who talk a good game but don’t obey and who associate with thieves and adulterers. They spoke evil things, and they thought they were going to get away with it, but now God has come to rebuke them. If they continue their wickedness, they will be destroyed, and only if they praise and obey Him will they be saved.
Psalm 51 is David’s famous plea for pardon after his sin with Bathsheba. He begs God to have mercy on him and cleanse him from his sin. He thinks about that sin constantly, and he admits that he has wronged God. God is perfect, but he is so imperfect that he feels he may as well have been born in sin.
God delights in truth, so he begs God to cleanse him and take away the consequences of God’s righteous punishment. He pleads for a clean heart, for God not to reject him. If God will do these things, he promises to lead others to God and to praise Him. He won’t offer God any sacrifices for himself because he knows that what God really wants is his contrition. However, if God will defend Jerusalem, the sacrifices from His people will continue.