Recently, I moved from flat, black soil country to hilly red dirt country. From farmland to cattle country. I like this, because I like beef.
It is so nice for the ranchers to raise cattle so that I could have burgers, and roast beef, and… Hold on a second. I’m getting an incoming message.
Okay, so apparently, the main reason that the ranchers raise cattle is that it’s financially profitable for them.
Weird. I kinda thought it was all about me and my insatiable love of steak.
I guess I do kinda make things about me more than I should. I’m only human!
It is quite human to place ourselves in the center of the universe. And, unfortunately, the center of the Bible.
Ergo, Psalm 50.
Shady Green Pastures
If you’re not familiar with Psalm 50, you are probably familiar with this little phrase. “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.”
Yes, this is the Psalm that it came from. But like many other Biblical phrases, we’ve completely changed the meaning to make it about us. About God’s provision and care for our daily needs. Oftentimes, our wants too.
Except that’s not how the verse is used in the Bible. Starting in verse 7:
Hear, O My people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you; I am God, your God!
God is speaking to Israel; that is always an important distinction to make. Not everything God asks of Israel does He ask of His Church.
8 I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are continually before Me.
Speaking of things that God asked of His people, they were given the Levitical system of sacrifices and offerings which He commanded of them to look forward to the one sacrifice of His Son. The Church is called to sacrifice. We are to be living sacrifices. Continuing on…
9 I will not take a bull from your house, nor goats out of your folds. 10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine.
Aaaand there we are. We’ve reached the verse, but it isn’t about the fact that God opens His heavenly storehouses and treasure-houses for us. It’s about His ownership over everything.
The fact that God owns the cattle on 1000 hills isn’t about Him providing for us, but about the fact that we cannot provide for Him.
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness. 13 Will I eat the flesh of bulls, Or drink the blood of goats?
Umm, that sounds rhetorical, God. I’m going to say “no.”
On a Hill called Calvary
In a way, yes, verse 10 is about God’s provision. But not His provision of our daily needs; it’s His eternal provision of our spiritual need. All human religions are based on people bringing their works and sacrifices to god to appease him/them. Our religion is realizing that we cannot provide that sacrifice and accepting the sacrifice of God’s Son. The cattle on a thousand hills point to the Lamb on a hill called Calvary.
There are many verses in the Bible that tell us that God will provide for our daily needs (Phil. 4:19). When you hear someone talk about the cattle on a thousand hills, or you happen to see the cattle grazing on the hills, or even if you happen to have steak for dinner some night, give thanks that God meets our deepest need — deliverance from sin.
14 Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. 15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.
Soli Deo gloria.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.