But to the wicked person, 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. You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son. When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you. But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you. “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”
It was one of my parent’s favorite axioms. If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times: “Actions speak louder than words.” The phrase followed the times (and there were many) when I was told to do something, agreed to do it, but failed to follow through.
Psalm 50, written by Asaph, one of David’s three choir leaders, calls God’s people to account. The “Mighty One” summoned His covenant people for judgment. The people recited God’s laws but failed to put them into practice. Regardless of their pious platitudes, God said, “You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.”
Jesus had a singular term for the mismatch of words and actions. He called it hypocrisy. He likened the religious leaders of the day to “whitewashed tombs.” They looked and sounded impressive but their hearts were dead to the truth. Today’s psalm is a solemn reminder that actions really do speak louder than words.
Father, please show me any hypocrisy in my life. Don’t let me be all talk. Guide me by the power of Your Spirit to live out what I say. In Jesus’ name. Amen.