Friday 8 June, 2018

Psalm 81

For the director of music. According to gittith. Of Asaph. 1 Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! 2 Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre. 3 Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival; 4 this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob. 5 When God went out against Egypt, he established it as a statute for Joseph. I heard an unknown voice say: 6 “I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket. 7 In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. 8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you— if you would only listen to me, Israel! 9 You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me. 10 I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. 11 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. 13 “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, 14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! 15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever. 16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

I am curious as to the structure of this Psalm. It begins with call to worship in song and a call in celebration of the decree for Israel (vs1-5). It is then followed with verses declaring God’s provision in times of hardship (v6-7).

But it is then the second half of this Psalm that captures me, for it describes how God’s people, the Israelites, then turned from God, even after the experience of His provision is times of distress.

“If you would but listen to me, O Israel” (NIV), a cry from God repeated throughout this Psalm, then He would …

Fill their mouths.

Not give them over to their stubborn hearts.

Subdue their enemies.

Feed them with the finest foods.

Be satisfied.

And so the question is how is God speaking to me (to us) through this Psalm for today?

I believe it is a prophetic reminder that God is my Provider. In times of stress and distress, he is always the One I can call upon. But also in times of fruitfulness and flourishment, His statues must remain in my life, and that he is still the Provider to be called upon. How he loves to provide for His people, for me. This is His greatest delight.

Father, I thank you sincerely today for so much that you have provided for me, the seen and the unseen. Your provision is in abundance; the cup you provide overflows. I want to increase in my gratitude, and so help me Lord today to have a heart that overflows with thankfulness for all you have done, are doing, and will do for me. Amen

Written by Steve Fell

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