Generous Father, help me to hear Your voice and to walk in Your ways.
Read Psalm 81
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.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat has God done in your life? What are you giving to him in return?
What reasons do we have to worship God? What reasons do we have to do what he asks us to do? This psalm begins with an exultant call to worship and some very good reasons to praise the God of Jacob (1–5). Abruptly it shifts to God himself reminding the people what he has already done for them and how much it grieves him that they, despite all of that, no longer follow him (6–16).
How hard it sometimes is to let yesterday’s miracle, yesterday’s answer to prayer, yesterday’s strong conviction about the character of God shape our heart, our mind, our actions today! God saves his people from Pharaoh’s army, yet in the next minute they seem to have forgotten all about it.
In the Bible, remembering God’s actions is not primarily about recalling events. Remembering is about recognizing that the God who acted yesterday is the same God today and tomorrow—just as powerful, just as just, and just as merciful and generous. He delights to satisfy those who follow him.
Remember that he who has not withheld his Son will give you all you need for today (Rom. 8:32).
What challenge, temptation or opportunity lies before you today? Pray for God’s Spirit to guide and empower you.
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