4th June 2023
Got Questions Ministries asks
What does it mean that God owns
the cattle on a thousand hills?
Saying that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills is
another way of saying that everything belongs to God.
The context of Psalm 50 sheds some light on the meaning
of the statement of God's ownership of cattle.
Beginning in verse 7, God is "testifying" against Israel.
He says, "I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices,"
which means that the Israelites were carrying out their duties regarding
the sacrifices according to the Law;
they were doing things right, externally.
But then God puts the sacrifices in perspective, saying,
"I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens" (verse 9),
and He reminds them that
"every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills" (verse 10).
God can get animals anywhere; they are already His.
He doesn't need to be offered them by man.
Why is God telling the people He doesn't need their animals?
The answer is in the message of this psalm, which includes these points:
1) God requires more than external compliance to commands;
He desires internal righteousness.
Even though the people were procedurally blameless in regard to
the sacrifices, they were lacking in true worship.
In Psalm 50:14-15, God says,
"Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
and call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honour me."
2) God does not need sacrifices for "food."
God does not need anything; He is the Self-existent One.
He is the Creator and Sustainer; nothing creates or sustains Him.
This is in direct contrast to the pagan gods, whose mythologies
taught their need to eat. Sacrifices brought to the idols were
considered the food of the gods.
The One True God of Israel makes a clear distinction between Himself
and the false deities (Psalm 50:12-13).
3) God rebukes "worship" based solely on obligation;
thanksgiving is an important part of true worship (Psalm 50:14),
as is a relationship grounded in salvation:
"I will deliver you, and you will honour me" (verse 15).
4) God defies the notion that what people give to Him is "theirs"
and that they are being magnanimous in parting with their property
for God's sake.
Many people today harbour the false perception that they own stuff
and then give some of it to God.
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills -
is it really generous of us to give God a cow every now and then?
If everything we have is the Lord's, how magnanimous is it to
give God ten percent?
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
He owns every animal and every bird and every beast.
He owns us.
For His greatness and goodness, we
"continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise -
the fruit of lips that openly profess his name"
Imagine the sights and sounds of cattle on a thousand hills.
As far as you can look, you see cattle. The varying colours may
make them hard to separate.
Hoofs may be kicking up while snorts and head hits disturb the group.
Dust and dirt fill the air as feeding time arrives.
God is speaking. He is telling the people that He is the creator.
He created everything, even the cattle on a thousand hills.
God makes no mistakes.
His creations are thoughtfully made and loved by Him.
Ranchers know the importance of each animal in a herd of cattle.
God created each animal with specific details.
The hills those animals graze on are also created by God.
God is the creator, whether the hills are rock-covered or
blanketed in grass.
God is the creator of each of the cattle, too.
Scripture provides descriptions and details of life and death.
Each verse in the Bible offers us the ability to draw closer to God
by reading His Word and gleaning the message intended for His creations.
Going to God in prayer, asking His help to discern the message of
Scripture is one way to deepen a relationship with God.
In Psalm 50, we read that God spoke, and He wanted the people to listen.
So, what does God want from us?
We are His. God wants dedication and devotion to Him.
He wants us to consecrate our mind, body, and soul.
Deciding to be a follower of God is a powerful and important one.
The Father loves each of His creations and will search for His beloved.
From the cattle on a thousand hills to the tiniest of His creations,
Have you considered the depth of His love for you?
Today, think of the cattle on a thousand hills and know that His love
is far more than we could ever comprehend.
© Copyright 2002-2023 Got Questions Ministries.
Award-winning author Melissa Henderson writes inspirational messages
sometimes laced with a bit of humour.
With stories in books, magazines, devotionals, and more,
Melissa hopes to encourage readers.