Psalm 50:16-18 - God Wants True Worship.

Psalms 50:16-18: God Wants True Worship.

Psalms 50:16-18 (NIV) But to the wicked, God says: "What right 
have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips?  You 
hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.  When you see a 
thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers.  

Psalms 50:16-18 (NLT) But God says to the wicked: "Recite my 
laws no longer, and don't pretend that you obey me.  For you refuse 
my discipline and treat my laws like trash.  When you see a thief, 
you help him, and you spend your time with adulterers. 

Psalms 50:16-18 (AMP) But to the wicked, God says: What right 
have you to recite My statutes or take My covenant or pledge on your 
lips,  Seeing that you hate instruction and correction and cast My 
words behind you [discarding them]?  When you see a thief, you 
associate with him, and you have taken part with adulterers.  

This psalm is the first of 12 psalms attributed to Asaph (cf. 
73-83), one of the three chief musicians of David. [Believer's SB] 

The ancient editor attributed this psalm to Asaph, who was among 
those David appointed to supervise music in the worship of God (1 Chr 
6:31-48). [Cambridge Annotated SB]  

Recite my laws. Apparently a part of the liturgy of covenant 
commitment. [NIV SB] 

You hate my instruction. They formally participate in the holy 
ritual but reject God's law as the rule for life outside the ritual. 

God now accuses them of hypocrisy--giving lip service to His laws 
(v. 16) while violating them (v. 17). Details are listed in verses 
18-20. [Ryrie SB] 

Here there is a contrast between (1) those who think they are 
meeting their obligations in the covenant with God by the mere act of 
bringing animal sacrifices while mistreating even their own families, and 
(2) those who offer to God the true sacrifice of thanksgiving 
(50:23). The former will meet destruction, and the latter will find the 
salvation of God. [Cambridge Annotated SB]  

This psalm describes a courtroom scene. God is judge, witness 
and jury; and He brings an indictment against two kinds of 
"religious sinners"    
Insincere worshipers (1-15). He calls the court to order, not 
with the rap of a gavel but with the revelation of His glory (vv. 
1-3). He indicts His people who offer sacrifices insincerely - their 
worship is just empty routine - and hope to "earn" God's blessing. God 
does not need the things we give Him (Acts 1724-25), but we need to 
give Him spiritual sacrifices of thanksgiving, praise, and obedience 
(vv. 14-15, 23).   
Hypocritical worshipers (16-22), Here the issue is not 
sacrifices but the covenant they made with God. They profess one thing and 
practice another (Titus l:16) they are guilty of theft, adultery, deceit, 
and slander. [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren 

Some people glibly recite God's laws but are filled with deceit 
and evil. They claim his promises but refuse to obey him. This is 
sin, and God will judge people for it. We too are hypocrites when we 
are not what we claim to be. To let this inconsistency remain shows 
that we are not true followers of God. [Life Application SB] 

They had seen the light but preferred to live in darkness (John 
3:16-21). [Nelson SB] 

Religious ceremonies and promises do not protect a person from 
judgment. Obedience to and trust in God show proper relationship to Him.... 
God takes what He says and does seriously. Anyone who fails to do 
the same stands in vivid contrast to God's declared purposes and 
thus faces God's judgment.... Israel had not failed to bring their 
offerings, but in bringing them they had failed to be genuinely grateful 
(v. 14). This was reflected in their character (vv. 16-20). Public 
prayer and worship should represent sincere praise and gratitude to God 
by a people who have been living obediently for God.... God expects 
us to do more than go through worship ceremonies. He expects our 
total dedication to Him and His way of life.... God's judgment rests on 
those who publicly profess religious faith in rituals and ceremonies 
but then do not do what they have committed themselves to. Our 
religious talk is only as good as our ethical actions. [Disciple SB] 

The patience of the Lord is very great. It is the more 
wonderful, because sinners make such ill use of it; but if they turn not, 
they shall be made to see their error when it is too late.... Man's 
chief end is to glorify God: whoso offers praise, glorifies him,... Let 
us thankfully accept God's mercy, and endeavour to glorify him in 
word and deed. [Matthew Henry Commentary Concise]