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Psalm 81

When I doubt that God is good, how can I trust Him?

By looking at what he offers in Jesus. 

This is another psalm that looks back with great rejoicing (v1-5) on how God famously saved his people from slavery in Egypt (v6-7), recorded in the Old Testament book of Exodus. This Psalm also emphasises how much God longs to care for his people, if only they would listen to him. Unfortunately the Israelites did not listen to God, and it did not go well for them, as it could have done (v11-16). 

Later in their history, out of Egypt came another, and his name was Jesus (see Matthew 2:1-15). The good news for us is that Jesus did what the Israelites could not: he did submit to his Heavenly Father (v11-13), and now he sits with all his enemies of evil under his feet (v14-15). And now he offers such kindness to those in distress. Following him can be hard, but it is never burdensome, and he is always good. He offers us such fullness and sweetness in life. He asks us to “open our mouths” and he will fill them (v10). And look at that last line (v16): from the driest of places he can bring forth sweetness. What a Father, and what a Saviour! 

PRAYER Father, thank you that you are not deaf to our calls of distress, but that before we even knew what trouble was, you sent Jesus to save us. Help me today to not doubt your goodness, and to trust that it is worth following you, for you want to fill me with such sweetness. Amen. 

For the director of music. According to gittith. Of Asaph.

1 Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!

2 Begin the music, strike the tambourine, 

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 Feast;

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 for ever.

16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;

with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.’


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