Reading: Psalm 50:7-15
“Listen, my people, and I will speak;
I will testify against you, Israel:
I am God, your God.
I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices
or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird in the mountains,
and the insects in the fields are mine.
If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
and call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (NIV).*
Winter Sunset — photo by David Kitz
What is humanity’s greatest sin? Think about that for a moment. Is it murder? Hatred? Racism? The desecration of the planet? All of these are serious problems—serious sins. But what is the greatest sin?
Psalm 50 begins with a great summoning of all nations. The LORD is about to enter into judgment. But what charge does He bring against His people? He does not accuse them of heinous crimes, or the desecration of His temple. I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. Instead God calls for thank offerings. The LORD wants His people to have thankful hearts.
There is something rather anticlimactic about this call for thanksgiving. My initial reaction is one of surprise. I thought we had a serious problem here. Why summon the nations to a great gathering unless there is a declaration of some significance. Surely a lack of thanksgiving is an offence of no great significance. Or is it? Apparently in God’s view it is of great importance.
In his epistle to the Romans, St. Paul attributes a lack of thankfulness to the blinding power and deception of sin. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:20-21).
Because of its long term consequences, a failure to offer thanks may be the gravest sin of all.
Response: LORD God, I owe my life to you. I have so much to be thankful for. Every day is a gift from you. Amen.
Your Turn: What are you most thankful for? Why do you think ingratitude has such dire consequences?
* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA
Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.