Summary: God wants us to be close to Him, not emotionally or spiritually distant from Him.
Distancing Ourselves from God
1. Memorial Day is a day to remember our war dead. Over 1.1 million military personnel have died as a result of war in the history of our nation.
2. To give you a sense of proportion, almost 500,000 died in the Civil War, over 400,000 in World War II. World War I saw about 117,000 casualties.
All other wars — the Revolution, War of 1812, Indian Wars, Mexican War, Spanish American War, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, Desert Storm, and the War on Terror account for about 177,000.
3. These brave men and women gave their lives serving their country on our behalf, and we honor their memory today. It is good to reflect and remember.
5. In the spiritual realm, a distinct connection between remembering and renewal.
6. The children of Israel had wandered from God. Those who truly knew Him had become mechanical in their faith. Others, who professed to know Him, were simply unconverted and needed to face their lost condition.
7. Written by Asaph or his guild, Psalm 50 calls the people to remember the Covenant God made with them at Sinai, and recognize how God was administering that covenant in the current day. It calls the people to repentance and renewal.
Main Idea: God wants us to be close to Him, not emotionally or spiritually distant from Him.
I. A Picture of God As A Cosmic JUDGE Before a Watching Universe: He Know How It Is (1-6).
• For years, Christians have been trying to communicate that God is not sitting in heaven ready to pounce upon anyone that is not miserable. BALANCE
• In the process, however, we have created a God who does not exist, who says “boys will be boys” & does not judge anyone. Not the right picture, either.
• Here, God takes His people to court. How would they/we fare?
A. He is El (the Mighty One), Elohim (God) and YAHWEH (the Lord Who is and causes to be).
B. This may not refer to the final judgment, but a PROCESS — God’s providence.
• Not the final judgment
• Believers: Judgment seat of Christ
• Lost people: Great White Throne judgment
C. God’s AUDIENCE includes the residents of heaven and EARTH.
1. Confused spelling principal /principle?” Remember, the principal is your pal.
2. Ever called into the principal’s office? You probably didn’t think “pal”
3. That is what God is doing here — he is calling you into his office.
4. How would we fare? Are we in trouble?
5. God is the judge, jury, and prosecutor; witnesses testify to the strong case
D. His standard is the WORD.
E. We cannot FOOL Him!
Hebrews 4:13, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
II. A Picture of Ungrateful Believers Whose Faith Has Become MECHANICAL and Perfunctory (7-15)
• Merriam Webster, “Perfunctory… used to describe something that is done without energy or enthusiasm because of habit or because it is expected…”
• Do you ever find your faith perfunctory? I do. We all do. We so focus on matters of life that we crowd out time to contemplate God and His Word.
• Sometimes we aim too high & unrealistically, and then do nothing.
• Faithfulness, however, is different; if we are faithful, we might make ourselves do the right thing and discipline ourselves to do the right thing, even though we do not feel like it. But once we are doing it, we become enthusiastic and energetic… no guilt about this… this is BEST
A. The offering of sacrifices was good but not the most CRUCIAL (7-8)
1. Constable writes, “He was not charging them with failure to offer the sacrifices He had prescribed. They had done that. They erred in thinking that offering sacrifices was all He expected.
2. Mechanical religion doesn’t fool God. We can hide our real thoughts from our conscious mind, but not from God. So we may as well be honest with Him.
B. God doesn’t NEED us, but He wants us! And He wants us to want Him.
1. Do you know people you don’t like? An officer giving you a ticket. A lazy, dishonest fellow worker. Says bad things about you to others. Maybe an ex-spouse that has done you wrong, or a cult member out to proselytize you.
2. You may be outwardly pleasant to them, but there is a distance.
3. The difference between treating someone as a functionary and as a person.
4. God is Three Persons. He is not merely a functionary fulfilling a role.
C. We can’t really give to God, we can only give some BACK to Him out of appreciation.