Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Ps 81: Worship, Obedience, Discipline, Promise in the Hard Times

Usually, I stick with the ESV, but I love the NLT for reading, journaling, etc. This wknd I spent a lot of time in the higher numbered Psalms - journaling, praying, etc. This morning as I sat down to my waffles and blueberries - I opened to one of my fave psalms. This is the reason for re-reading - you always see something new. Thank you HS for opening my eyes this morning to the glories of your Word!
Psalm 81
Sing praises to God, our strength. Sing to the God of Jacob. Sing! Beat the tambourine. Play the sweet lyre and the harp. Blow the ram’s horn at new moon, and again at full moon to call a festival! For this is required by the decrees of Israel; it is a regulation of the God of Jacob. He made it a law for Israel when he attacked Egypt to set us free.
I heard an unknown voice say, “Now I will take the load from your shoulders; I will free your hands from their heavy tasks. You cried to me in trouble, and I saved you; I answered out of the thundercloud and tested your faith when there was no water at Meribah. “Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings. O Israel, if you would only listen to me! You must never have a foreign god; you must not bow down before a false god. For it was I, the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. “But no, my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want me around. So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas. Oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths! How quickly I would then subdue their enemies! How soon my hands would be upon their foes! Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him; they would be doomed forever. But I would feed you with the finest wheat. I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock.”

Verses 1-3 is all about the act of worship, the noise of worship, that the Israelites are doing. Why? Verse 4 tells us that - because God commanded them to worship Him - and they did because He freed them, broke their chains of bondage, parted the Red Sea.
Verse 6-7 talk about how God freed them from their distress and bondage - He heard their cries for help.
Verses 8-9 is their admonishment again to not have any foreign gods ("little g gods" as I heard Sunday) before the only God.
Verse 10 gives them a reason to be a hopeful in this command.
Verse 11-12 - They still didn't get it, so they got the discipline (not wrath) of the Lord. He will not settle for second fiddle (as a Gaither song says).
Verses 13-15 - A promised plea from God - hey do this, look at what I'll do for you - I'll bless you if you'll just obey me.
Verse 16 - a great verse of promise coming from the most unusual places.

Now for us:
1. Worship. Loud. "Sing aloud. Beat the tambourine. Blow the trumpet." These aren't soft commands. Yes, there is room for soft and tender worship before the Lord. I think most of us have that down. But, why is it so hard for us to worship with total abandonment? Not caring if others around us hear our worship. As JD used to say I wish we would get as excited as the folks in Cameron Indoor - the Cameron Crazies - what if we were the Summit Crazies?
2. He freed us. God has paid the price for our lives so we may worship the One who has freed us. He delivered us from everything that troubles us. That doesn't mean we won't have any more troubles (the NT makes it clear that in this world we will have troubles). But, the one who loves us is the One who overcame sin and death so we could triumph over our troubles.
3. He tells us not to have any other gods. He knows us. He knows we are going to succumb to other gods. He knows we want to have the control in our lives and want things now just the way want them.
"Oh, if you would but listen to me!" "If you would only listen to me." I've heard this many times from my parents in the past - sorta an "I told you so". God just wants us to listen to Him. To obey Him. He knows the good that comes from that. He knows the blessings that will come. He knows our happiness that will come when we obey and listen - FULLY.
4. But, He has to often discipline us because we aren't listening - we choose other gods - we get discouraged because our focus and gaze is on other things other than Him. We get worked up because we don't think God is capable of solving our problems. We get distracted by worthless things.
5. His promises: Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. Based on the action He already did - calling to their mind - that He freed them from bondage. He is the same God. I will feed you with the FINEST of wheat, and with honey from the rock I will satisfy you. Not just with wheat to fill your storehouses - not just giving you stuff. But the FINEST of WHEAT. And since when does honey come from a rock. He will satisfy us out of these hard places.
This is what I cling to even now when I pray the same thing as I fall asleep at night. I seldom pray aloud - but last night as I laid listening, I spoke very softly, a genuine prayer of my heart. I pray more now - just the inward unceasing prayer. That He would stay my mind, but that He would also graciously give me the things I desire.
God is good.

1 comment:

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