What does Psalm 50:14 mean?
ESV: Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,
NIV: Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,
NASB: Offer God a sacrifice of thanksgiving And pay your vows to the Most High;
CSB: Offer a thanksgiving sacrifice to God, and pay your vows to the Most High.
NLT: Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
KJV: Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
NKJV: Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High.
Verse Commentary:
Still addressing the people of Israel, God commands them to offer their sacrifices correctly. The people have been going through the motions of religion (Psalm 50:8). But their lives are marked with sin—their sacrifices are insincere and hypocritical (Psalm 50:16–21). God isn't asking for sacrifices so that He can eat (Psalm 50:10–12). Rather, the Lord wants His people to offer sacrifices as an obedient, loving response to Him in faith. This begins His explanation of Israel's sin, to be expanded in the next section.

A proper understanding of God's nature should inspire gratitude. Leviticus 7:11–15 gives instructions to the ancient Israelites regarding peace offerings given as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Leviticus 22:29 says, "And when you sacrifice a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lᴏʀᴅ, you shall sacrifice it so that you may be accepted." It was to be eaten that same day. The Psalms also encourage worshipers to offer thanksgiving to the Lord. Psalm 118, for instance, urges everyone to "give thanks to the Lᴏʀᴅ, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!" (Psalm 118:1, 29). Psalm 136:1 encourages: "Give thanks to the Lᴏʀᴅ, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever." Verses 2 and 3 repeat the refrain, using different titles for God; the remainder of the psalm recounts things that God has done, and each verse repeats the reality of God's love. The final verse, again, exhorts giving thanks to God. New Testament believers ought to give thanks to God for His inexpressible gift (2 Corinthians 9:15), and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells believers to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
Verse Context:
Psalm 50:7–15 explains the judgment which God came to deliver in the prior passage. All of creation was called to witness this verdict, given to the supposedly faithful people of the Lord (Psalm 50:1–6). In this passage, God notes that Israel hypocritically participates in sacrifices and rituals—yet they ignore God in their lives. Sin and disobedience mark their habits (Psalm 50:17). Still, they assume God is pleased with them. The Lord explains that without sincerity, those rituals are meaningless.
Chapter Summary:
Asaph depicts God as an unimaginably glorious judge, calling the entire world to hear a divine verdict. Israel has offered sacrifices, but God ignores them. The nation rejects His laws. It is pervaded with blatant sin, even while they claim to be God's chosen people. The Lord's patience does not mean He does not notice. Those who continue ignoring Him will be "torn apart" without any possibility of rescue. Those who respond to God with sincerity will be rescued.
Chapter Context:
This psalm, written by Asaph, addresses the Lord's intended connection between religious rituals and daily behavior. When the people offer sacrifices, but blatantly reject God's laws, they invite judgment. This passage notes national sins mentioned directly in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14–16). In other writings, Asaph expresses frustration over Israel's continued rebellion and God's delayed response (Psalm 73:2–3; 74:10).
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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