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.”
What a Psalm. A real and honest call to worship the Lord with song and in festival. A song that celebrates the liberating work of the Lord on behalf of His people. And yet acknowledges the wilful ignoring of the Lord in spite of such deliverance. Verse 13-14 strikes me as the heart of the Psalm, indeed the heart of God – if only we would listen and follow. Then we would be fed on the finest of wheat, satisfied with honey from the rock.
Oh, how simple, and yet so hard to practice at times. When all that is within me wants to escape. Or work it out myself. Or turn first to human sources of support and help. But who can promise me what the Lord does – quick deliverance; the shaming of adversarial forces; and deeply satisfying feeding.
Though it will take all of me to practice this, I will give myself wholeheartedly to this simple call – to listen for, and follow, my Lord.
Jesus, I listen for your voice. Jesus, I will follow in your ways, and by your counsel. Amen!
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh