Psalm Chapter 81  (KJV) Are you listening Israel?

Are you listening to me Israel? Psalm Chapter 81  (KJV) : (Unless otherwise stated all Scriptures in this devotional are from the King James Version of the Bible.)


The psalmist indicates that this psalm was written during the Feast of Tabernacles – FOT) (see verses 1-5b below) (Lev. 23:34-44). The FOT reminded the people of God’s law. The FOT also constituted the Feast of Ingathering. Theologians imply that this is a prophetic psalm and should be read as such.

Exodus 23:16 (ESV)  You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor.

The psalm consists of four apparent parts.

    1. First, a hymn (verses 1-5a), calls the people to praise God and reminds them of the ordination of the Feast of Tabernacles and its relationship to the Exodus 23:16.
    2. Next, an unusual change in voice change in (verse 5b where I heard a language that I understood not. seems to introduce a prophetic pronouncement from YHWH. It is highly probable that a prophet came forward at this point in the ceremony and delivered the prophetic utterances contained in (verses 6-10).
    3. Israel is disobedient: Israel’s sins are revealed to the people in (verses 11-12).
    4. Lastly, the utterance reveals its significance to the present: Israel must make a turnaround, then God will rescue them  (verses 13-16). The verbiage of this latter section should reflect a wish for the future, not for the past: “Oh, that my people would hearken unto me,” etc.

It’s the new moon festival: Praise God

psalm 81Who is the strength of God’s people? And therefore, we have reasons to sing the praises of God with great fervor, zeal, and affection. So, did the People of Israel.  It was celebration time at the temple, and God’s people were being told to…. 

Blow up the trumpet in the new moon ( The worship leader once again calls Israel to celebrate the “New Moon” festival, which was a memorial of Israel’s deliverance from “Egypt” (Num. 29:6; 1 Chron. 23:31; 2 ESV. See the Jewish Holiday that is celebrated at this time and its historic and religious significance. This was the first day of the new month and the new year.), in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.  4 For this was a statute for Israel and a law of the God of Jacob. This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: The celebration of this day was not optional. It was a commanded assembly for the Jewish People (see Leviticus 16 ESV) it was established after the exodus from Egypt.

A different voice?

Could it be that the sheep had become so disobedient that it no longer recognized the voice of the shepherd? 5b, where I heard a language that I understood not. Or could it be that the psalmist did not garner the supremacy and transcendency of God?

6 I removed his shoulder from the burden: [the removal of the burden of enslavement occurred when the people left Egypt] his hands were delivered from the pots [they were forced to make pottery and bricks all day long to support the pharoah’s build and enrichment activities].

  • Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; They called, and he answered and helped them. Such as at the Red Sea Exodus 11 ESV.
  • I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: When God spoke to them at the foot of the mountain, and it sounded like thunder Exodus 2:23-24;6:5 ESV.
  • I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah. At Meribah they asked him for water and it he gave it to them. Have you had hot trials of late? Have you kind of sort of whine to God about how he does not hear you?  But here is the rub, did we really listen to and obey his response to those prayers? When we don’t believe him enough to receive what he has told us to do our Meribah problem  is repeated again and again until we do. Remember that Selah again, means stop and pause and think on these things.

Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearkens unto me; 

This part of the psalm is very telling.  God is basically saying, “ok then, you won’t listen, and chose to forget your past, so let me remind you. He is basically witnessing against them; if they will listen to him.  It is clear that God knows that we choose to exercise our rights as “free moral agents.’ So did Israel. So he goes back to the basics. The ten commandments. Today we are told to share the gospel to the entire world. 

Our Purpose

For over ten years, I have had people tell me that they do not know what their purpose is. Just understand me, friends. When we call ourselves followers of the way, we know that God defined our mission. We may not want to carry it out, but it still remains our purpose.

gointoalltheworld matthew28

Our purpose is defined by our actions of obedience to God’s will in our lives. What gods have we erected to replace the eternal one?

There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.  Just in case we are not clear about what he meant he has made it crystal clear to us. #1 10 I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: #2 trust me and open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. 

Yes introverts, that does include us! OY! OY! OY! Bubeleh! I know that we would rather have our teeth pulled than talk to total strangers.
But as Ken Cox told us on Sunday “Go Big” in Christ or “Stay Home!”

Now I know that he was not telling us to walk out of the church AND go somewhere else. Not everyone is called to be a “spiritual leader”, but we are all called to do what this scripture says-those words came from Christ!
God said it and he will give us the strength to do it, and or support those who are more emotionally, and or physically capable of doing it than we are. No excuses – No retreat, No regrets. In Matthew 4:4 Christ tells us that “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Be willing to feed the lost with the bread of life friends. Galatians 2:20 reminds us that “[we are] crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Israel is continued disobedient

11 But my people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me. 12 So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Walking in their own counsels means that Isreal did what was pleasing to their flesh. WHen Christians do the same thing that is what we are doing.

When we like Israel becomes God in our own eyes, GOD will walk away and leave us to our own devices.

Israel must turnaround: God will rescue them.

Because God is merciful and does not want a single child of his to perish. Once again, he is appealing to his people.

13 Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! 14 I should soon have subdued their enemies and turned my hand against their adversaries. Remember when I conquered your enemies? Deuteronomy 28:7 (KJV) The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. What about when I used Joshua to deliver you from? (See Joshua 15:13-6:27). 

15 The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured forever. Christians, this is speaking to us. We must obey God and receive His blessings. We will not live forever with him when we ignore and deny his existence.  Just because we call ourselves a Christian that does not make us a follower of Christ. Just look at how I am going to feed you if you will only be obedient, Israel! 16 He fed them with the finest of the wheat and with honey out of the rock and that should I have satisfied thee.

Deuteronomy 32:13 (KJV)He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;”

The end of the matter for Christians?

Revelation 22:1-5 “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.” “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:” “And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads.” “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”



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