A sermon idea based on Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23.
Psalm 50:1-8,22-23 NRSV
 The mighty one, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.  Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
 Our God comes and does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, and a mighty tempest all around him.  He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people:  “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”  The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge. Selah
 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God.  Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me.
 “Mark this, then, you who forget God, or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to deliver.  Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me; to those who go the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…
What God desires far more than our empty praise and ritualism is genuine gratitude and thanksgiving, and he cares enough to speak to us and reveal his desire so that we aren’t left to wonder about his will.
Information about the text that matters to the message…
Notice the repetition of words and phrases that have to do with God speaking, summoning, calling, and declaring himself to us. Yes, the psalmist gives us a bit of a prescription for what God desires – genuine gratitude. And he also communicates something about the goodness of God.
God speaks. He reveals. And he doesn’t just give orders. God calls, invites, and summons us closer to him. If your impression of God is that he is a distant tyrant in the sky who demands worship from his people, you’re mistaken. The contrast here between the God the psalmist worships and the gods of surrounding nations is that God gets personal.
The big call-to-action in the message…
Listen. God has been speaking to every person in every generation through one form of revelation or another. Take time, not only to pray or ask for things, but to listen for the still, small voice of God.
Rubens, Peter Paul, 1577-1640. Sacrifice of the Old Covenant, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.
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