What I want instead is your true thanks to God; I want you to fulfill your vows to the Most High. Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory. - Psalm 50:14-15
A lot of men have problems relating to their wives. When they discover there is a problem they hadn’t been aware of and then try to find out what it is, they might be told, “You should know what the problem is! The fact that you don’t know is part of the problem!” Often the wife’s complaint is that her husband does not give her enough attention. She longs for him to relate to her. She is not unappreciative of the things he gives her and the work he does for her. But even more she wants him.
God had a similar complaint about his people, Israel. His people were active in religious observance, meticulously offering animal sacrifices. God said, “I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offerings you constantly bring to my altar” (Ps. 50:8). But he was not looking for the bulls and goats from their barns and pens. He had no need of anything from them at all. In fact, even if he did have a need (which he didn’t!), he certainly would not have told them, because his resources were greater than any need. More than their gifts, he wanted them! God’s people had forgotten to relate to him, and he wanted them back.
God wanted his people to thank him (Ps. 50:14). He wanted to be thanked because saying “thank you” is evidence of a healthy relationship with him. Those who recognize who God is in their lives and know how much they depend on him to intervene in their experiences are people who know that all they are and have come from him. As they recognize this imperative connection with God, they overflow with gratitude.
God also wanted his people to fulfill their promises (Ps. 50:14b). It was God who took the initiative and told the people of Israel that he would be their faithful God. In response, they assured him that they would be his faithful people. The closest of relationships was born, but the people tended to forget—the vows lay unfulfilled, the promises were ignored, and the relationship deteriorated. But God longed to have his people back again.
God also wanted his people to trust him (Ps. 50:15). Imagine God’s pain when his children get themselves into trouble and then turn away from him to find help in other people and things. He wants them to turn to him and ask him for his help. He is more than ready to give it.
What God wants is no mystery—he wants thankful, trusting, faithful children. He wants people who will keep their promises to him and live in active relationship with him. He wants people he can delight in and who delight in him. He wants us.
For Further Study: Psalm 50