Psalms 81:1



The Bible says in Psalms 81:1-4, “Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.[2] Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.[3] Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, 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.” If we have true faith in the Almighty God, then we should be able to sing. If we know and appreciate God’s love through Jesus dying for us, then we should be able to sing. If we believe the promises of the Bible and put our trust in God’s Word, then we should be able to sing. If we know that we are saved and on our way to heaven, then we should be able to sing. Christians have a lot to sing and be happy about, and so it is not surprising that the Lord reminds us to sing and make music in praising Him. In the Old Testament they were given many feast days to set aside times to sing and praise God. In the New Testament we have every day to sing and praise Him.


The Bible says in Psalms 81:5, “This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I heard a language that I understood not.” What did God ordain? God ordained all the singing and music that was described in the previous four verses. By the way there are four primary activities of a church congregation: teaching the Word, prayer, Christian fellowship, and singing. Singing will help make you happy and will help make you filled with the Spirit. That is why it says in Ephesians 5:19, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Psalms 81:5 tells us one of the reasons that the Lord wants us to sing and be happy: “for a testimony.” One of the primary reasons that believers are on the earth is to be a testimony to the lost souls around us. You will not be attracting too many people to Christ if you are down in the dumps, depressed, and complaining. But if you love others and have a song in your heart, you will be attracting others to Christ.  


The Bible says in Psalms 81:7-8, “Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.[8] Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me;” One of the reasons that God allows trouble into our lives is so that we will call upon Him. And when we call upon Him, He always answers us. Notice in verse seven that God said that He “answered thee in the secret place of thunder.” The place of prayer is the “secret place.” Only believers have access to the secret place. The rest of the world knows nothing about it. And the place of prayer is compared to thunder. Thunder is one of the phenomena of God’s creation that symbolizes His awesome power that can be suddenly and terrifyingly released. Run to the secret place often, and then watch the fireworks begin. It says in James 5:16, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”


Notice in verse eight that God said to the children of Israel, “I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me.” God answers us when we call on Him. He only asks that we answer Him when He calls on us. To “hearken” means to have a willing ear. It means to listen to the Lord with an obedient attitude and a desire to do what He asks us to do. If we do that, God says, “I will testify unto thee.” Why should God speak to you if you are not going to respond anyway? What blessings we can miss if we have the wrong attitude. Hopefully we can all sing these words: “Speak, my Lord. Speak, my Lord. Speak, and I will surely answer thee.”


The Bible says in Psalms 81:9-10, “There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.[10] I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Of course, the Lord wants us to have no other gods. One of the Ten Commandments is: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Even though in many countries today we do not have man-made images that are literal idols, there are other things that can become idols and steal away our hearts from God. Some of these things are not evil of themselves, but can become evil if we love them more than God. Sports, entertainment, travel, hobbies, and many other things can become idols: as well as drugs, alcohol, sex, and other immoral things. It says in First John 5:21, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen


One of the ways to keep ourselves from idols is to remember what Jesus has done for us when He saved us from our sins. That is symbolized by what God said in Psalms 81:9, “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt.” They were slaves in Egypt. We were slaves to this world and to its system and manner of thought, and to its false religions. It took a miracle from God to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. It took a miracle to save our souls and to give us faith in Jesus the Savior. In the last of the ten plagues God said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” God says the same thing to us when He sees the blood of Christ applied to our hearts.


If we do keep ourselves from idols, and if we remember how great things Jesus has done for us, and if we stay close to the Lord, Psalms 81:10 tells us what the Lord wants to do in our lives. God says, “open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” He wants us to be witnesses for Him. He told Joshua in Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth…” It says in Psalms 107:2, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…” it says in Romans 10:14, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”


The Bible says in Psalms 81:11-12, “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.” God gives us a free choice. Israel chose to not listen to God and to reject Him. Therefore, God gave them what they wanted. That is why God said in verse twelve, “So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.” The worse thing that can happen to any of us is to get what we want instead of what God wants. That is why we need to always add to our prayers after the example of Jesus: ”not what I will, but thy will be done.”


The Bible says in Psalms 81:13-14, “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.” Basically, these two verses say the following: “If only…” This is the story of the human race. It is definitely the story of Israel. These two words are among the saddest of all words that could be said about someone: “If only…” What victories would have been won. What miracles would have been performed. What souls would have been saved. What mighty deeds would have been accomplished. God has a great plan for every life. If only people would turn to Jesus and follow Him.


The Bible says in Psalms 81:15-16, “The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.[16] He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.” Notice that unbelievers are called “The haters of the LORD.” People who do not love Christ end up hating Him. There is no in-between. You either love Him or hate Him. You are either cold or hot. In verse fifteen hating the Lord is connected to not being “submitted” to Him. One reason that people hate the Lord is that they know that God has commandments for them, and they do not want to hear the commandments. They do not want to do God’s will. If only they had loved the Lord Jesus and turned to Him instead of away from Him. This would have been the result: “their time should have endured for ever.” In other words they would have received eternal life from Christ. That is the benefit in the next life. The benefit in this life is given in verse sixteen: “He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.” In other words things would have really gone well for them in this life because God takes care of His children. But they threw away God’s promises, God’s presence, and God’s protection through Jesus because they were “haters of the LORD.” I wonder if there are any people like that in our world today? The answer seems obvious.                                                   






Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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