April 11, 2018: ListenJosh Moody
The psalm begins with praise and ends with appeal. This morning, begin your day with praise, and then listen to the appeal that this psalm makes.
The praise is loud! “Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!” (81:1). No moderate, refined praise is this! It is LOUD! It is a SHOUT! Roll back your sleeves, lift back your head, and with a full open throat bellow praise to God! (Not recommended if your spouse is asleep beside you as you read this psalm!).
But not only is the praise loud, it is also musically variegated. There is a “tambourine,” a “sweet lyre” and a “harp” (81:2). Bang it, pluck it, shake it—sing it! To God be praised! Perhaps the psalm was first designed for a special “feast day” (81:3).
And this praise is not only loud, not only variegated, it is also well-grounded. There is a reason to praise God with this confidence and exuberance. What is that reason?
I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt (81:10).
We praise God for he is the God who rescued us. He rescued us through Christ at the cross. Therefore, praise him! Loudly!
But with this praise rapidly comes the appeal.
O Israel, if you would but listen to me! (81:8)
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it (81:10)
But the sad truth is that God’s people so often did not listen to God. “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me” (81:11). Consequences followed: “So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels” (81:12). If we refuse to listen to God, before too long we will find that we cannot listen to God. Beware of hardening your heart! Today if you hear his voice, believe and obey!
Think of the consequences of listening!
“Oh that my people would listen to me…I would soon subdue their enemies…he would feed you with the finest of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you…” (81:13-16).
Praise God for all that he has done. And now, follow him, trust him, listen to him!