REMEMBER GOD’S GOODNESS
I Worship You, Lord, for what You have saved me from and for what You have saved me into (1 Peter 2:9).
Read Psalm 81
For the director of music. According to gittith.[b] 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.[c]
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.”
a Psalm 81:1 In Hebrew texts 81:1-16 is numbered 81:2-17.
b Psalm 81:1 Title: Probably a musical term
c Psalm 81:7 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here.
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.
ReflectWhen your prayers go unanswered, are you tempted to wonder if God is as unreliable as we are?
This psalm might seem strange for use in corporate worship. Used at the festival of Tabernacles to remember how God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, it begins joyfully enough (1–5) and we marvel at God’s powerful response to his people’s cry (6, 7). But then the Israelites’ indifference and rebellion turns this into a hymn that should be called something like “Great is thy faithfulness; thanks a lot, I’m off!” (8, 11). How does recording their rebellion add power to its use in the worship of God? It magnifies his faithfulness even more (14–16)!
Like many characters we met earlier this season in Proverbs, turning away from God robbed the Israelites of their identity and inheritance (9, 12). When we stop acknowledging God as the ultimate source of satisfaction in our lives we will look to other things to fill our need for significance and love which require less humility than acknowledging God.
Which “idols” still pluck at your heart? Work, money, power, family, fame, romance? Make a list of God’s faithful deeds to you and see those imposters off!
My God, I remember all that You have done for me. I choose to trust that You will continue to be faithful in the future.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.