This psalm, as the former, is a psalm of instruction, not of prayer or praise; it is a psalm of reproof and admonition, in singing which we are to teach and admonish one another. In the foregoing psalm, after a general demand of attention, God by his prophet deals (Ps. 50:3) with the children of this world, to convince them of their sin and folly in setting their hearts upon the wealth of this world; in this psalm, after a like preface, he deals with those that were, in profession, the church’s children, to convince them of their sin and folly in placing their religion in ritual services, while they neglected practical godliness; and this is as sure a way to ruin as the other. This psalm is intended, 1. As a proof to the carnal Jews, both those that rested in the external performances of their religion, and were remiss in the more excellent duties of prayer and praise, and those that expounded the law to others, but lived wicked lives themselves. 2. As a prediction of the abolishing of the ceremonial law, and of the introducing of a spiritual way of worship in and by the kingdom of the Messiah, John 4:23, 24. 3. As a representation of the day of judgment, in which God will call men to an account concerning their observance of those things which they have thus been taught; men shall be judged “according to what is written in the books;” and therefore Christ is fitly represented speaking as a Judge, then when he speaks as a Lawgiver. Here is, I. The glorious appearance of the Prince that gives law and judgment, Ps. 50:1-6. II. Instruction given to his worshippers, to turn their sacrifices into prayers, Ps. 50:7-15. III. A rebuke to those that pretend to worship God, but live in disobedience to his commands (Ps. 50:16-20), their doom read (Ps. 50:21, 22), and warning given to all to look to their conversation as well as to their devotions, Ps. 50:23. These instructions and admonitions we must take to ourselves, and give to one another, in singing this psalm.
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