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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

Psalms 50

Verse 15

Psalms 50:15

We have in the text:

I. A precept for the day of trouble. God saith, "Call upon Me." (1) This calling is a suitable recognition of Himself in His relation to us. Is He not our Father? And as our Father, is He not our Deliverer? (2) This calling is an act of homage to His delivering power. It recognises God's hand. (3) This calling brings us near to God, face to face with God. (4) This calling is a beneficial religious exercise. It comforts. It lessens pressure. (5) This calling is the best possible preparation for the deliverance. It promises humility, humbleness of mind.

II. God encourages us to obey this precept by the promise and assurance, "I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me." Thus does God speak to us now: (1) By verbal revelations of His character He saith, "Call upon Me" (Genesis 17:1 ); (2) by exceeding great and precious promises (Isaiah 43:2 ); (3) by various precepts and exhortations (Isaiah 43:1 ); (4) by the history of the deliverances He has wrought (Psalms 44:1-4 ); (5) by our experience and observation of deliverances effected (Psalms 34:5-6 ); (6) by the mediation of His Son He saith, "Call upon Me" (Hebrews 12:24 ); (7) by the ministry of the Holy Ghost He saith, "Call upon Me" (Romans 8:26 ).

S. Martin, Comfort in Trouble, p. 12.

References: Psalms 50:15 . T. Kelly, Pulpit Trees, p. 300; Congregationalist, vol. vi., p. 461; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxv., No. 1505, and vol. xxxi., No. 1876; G. S. Barrett, Old Testament Outlines, p. 114.

Verse 21

Psalms 50:21

In what sense are the words true that we think wickedly that God is such a one as ourselves?

I. We are constantly judging of His knowledge by our own.

II. This is true also with reference to His holiness.

III. We have an inadequate estimate of the veracity of God. We infer from the delay of His interposition that, like a mere man, He may threaten and not execute. It needs a very firm faith, and a very patient spirit, and a very tender conscience to keep alive in man's heart the practical and living conviction that for all these things God will bring him into judgment.

C. J. Vaughan, Harrow Sermons, 2nd series, p. 321.


I. God keeping silence. By this is intended God's appearing for a while not to take heed of the course of those who are sinning against Him. There is sufficient of God's prompt and even swift and startling vindication of His law to show that there is a God who judgeth the earth; and there is not sufficient of it to lead us to suppose that a final day, when the judgment shall be perfect, is not necessary.

II. Look, next, at man misinterpreting and misusing God's silence. The intention of God is to lead man to repentance, and the effect of it upon too many hearts which thus misinterpret and misuse it is only to lead them to sink more deeply into indifference and to be hardened in sin.

III. God says at last that He will break silence. The longsuffering of God will not last for ever. Whether we look at the history of the Flood, or at the history of the Cities of the Plain, or at the history of the people of Canaan, or at the history of Nebuchadnezzar, or at the history of the Jews and the destruction of Jerusalem, we see that at last even the longsuffering of God comes to an end.

J. C. Miller, Penny Pulpit, No. 771.

References: Psalms 50:21 . G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 137; J. Armstrong, Parochial Sermons, p. 66.

Verses 21-22

Psalms 50:21-22

The disposition of many to misinterpret the moral government of God arises from one remarkable characteristic of it, to which our attention is drawn in this passage. Men misunderstand and misinterpret the majestic silence of God. "I kept silence." This has been the rule in God's dealings with men, and it is upon this rule that men presume.

I. Why does God keep silence and show Himself patient as well as strong, although He be provoked every day? The answer is, not because He is indifferent to sin, and not because He does not intend to punish it, but because He has ordained certain conditions for our probation here, and He is not so inconsistent as to reverse them. Man was created by God in His own image, in this respect above all others, that he possessed from the first a power of independent volition, a capacity of freewill, by the right and dutiful exercise of which he was to be raised to his proper destiny and fitted to share the glories of the Divine Being. If God broke silence and inflicted penalty every time that we transgressed against Him, it might become our will not to transgress against Him; but surely our will would only be free in a very limited sense of the word.

II. A further explanation of God's silence lies in His forbearing compassion. "He is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish." This is no sign of weakness; but it is a sign of patient, persevering, though ill-requited love, and it is evident that such an exhibition of forbearance on God's part makes our sin all the greater when we do sin against it.

III. Besides the occasional warnings which come within the experience of most of us, God has broken silence thrice at least in human history and spoken in a way that must needs appeal to our hearts if we reflect at all. There are three stupendous facts in human history in which we may say God has broken silence. They are (1) the curse which fell upon the world in consequence of a single sin; (2) the Flood; (3) the judgment upon the Sin-bearer at Calvary.

IV. God does even more than this. He has sent His Holy Spirit into the world especially to carry on the work of reproof, and to anticipate that judgment from which there is no escape and no appeal, by setting in order before us the things which we have done. The Holy Spirit is seeking to convict us of sin. Let us listen to His voice, and plead guilty to those charges which He brings against us. We may be sure that His friendly accusations are true.

W. Hay Aitken, Around the Cross, p. 17.

References: Psalms 50:23 . H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1495; S. Cox, Expositions, 3rd series, p. 152.Psalms 51:1 . G. Forbes, The Voice of God in the Psalms, p. 173.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 50". "Sermon Bible Commentary".