Psalm 50:16–20 (MEV): But to the wicked God says:
“What right have you to declare My statutes,
or take My covenant in your mouth?
You hate instruction, and cast My words behind you. When you see a thief, you are pleased, and have a share in those who commit adultery. You let loose your mouth to evil, and your tongue is bound to deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you accuse your own mother’s son.
In this psalm of Asaph, God is appealing to people. He is calling the peoples of the Earth to Him. This is ongoing since the garden. In that calling we note there are two types, His people and those not.
As He turns to speak to those that are not His people, He calls them wicked, He outlines their deeds. He shows the foundation of their errant behavior, “You hate instruction.”
Let that sink in.
Hating instruction is like saying, “You’re not my boss!” Or simply hating to be told what to do. It’s dismissive stubbornness. It’s not indifference or ignorance, but willful resistance.
That’s the basis for wickedness. The behavior that follows is just the bad fruit of from the bad rootstock. Look closer at what is said. The wicked person is not the one doing the bad stuff, but they are the one seeing it, letting it happen, and doing nothing about it. The wicked are silent about the sin of others. They don’t snitch.
When the wicked do speak, it’s lies. Oddly, others they won’t tattle on, except for their own family. All the secrets will be blathered out.
Psalm 50:21 (MEV): These things have you done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was indeed like you; but I will reprove you
and make a case before your eyes.
And that comes to the principle.
People think that God somehow gives approval for these things because He doesn’t stop them. They think somehow the silence of God is an endorsement of what they do. That the evil of this world is here because it’s allowed to be here.
God says, “No.” He has the evidence to make a case that will deprive those ideas.
Ecclesiastes 8:11–13 (MEV): Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed swiftly, the heart of the sons of men is fully set to do evil. Since one who sins may do evil a hundred times and extend his life, I also have experienced that it will be good for those who fear God when they have reverence before Him. But it will not be well for the wicked, and he will not prolong his days, like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
It’s the wisdom of Solomon that helps us to understand. God’s silence is not impotence, nor is it acceptance or permission.
Is God silent?
One response to the silence, the wicked go hell bent toward evil. There is another response, which demonstrates there might not be any silence. Some turn and give God the reverence due Him. That’s astounding.
Though we don’t witness swift judgment from our perspective, doesn’t mean it isn’t swift from God’s. Or even that it isn’t going to happen. After all He has the final say. He really isn’t silent, as we have His word.
The foreboding doom of wickedness is the assurance He will build a case against them in their presence. Those will not be able to avoid it.
But there is hope.
Psalm 50:22–23 (MEV): Now consider this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver: Whoever sacrifices a thank offering glorifies Me and makes a way; I will show him the salvation of God.”
Sacrificing a thank offering is an easy thing to do. You can do it right now. Say to God, “Thank you.”
There are plenty of things to be thankful for. You ate today. You woke up. You have breath. Most importantly, He has been merciful towards you. He has kept you alive and is now leading you right to this moment… That you may thank Him.
That simple turn from the direction you were going to now thank God is where salvation starts. That simple move is the one that moves the wicked one into the fold of His people. You don’t need to fix yourself up. You don’t need to stop sinning. You need to thank God.