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Psalm 81

By Henry Law

      Observance of public ordinances is enjoined. The path of obedience is the path of blessedness. May we listen to our God; He will appear rich to multiply mercies.

      1-3. "Sing aloud unto God our strength; make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm and bring here the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Blow the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day."

      It is a constant duty publicly to worship God, and to assemble in joyful crowds within the sanctuary. It runs on through the year's course. But there are especial times which should awaken especial thanksgivings. It is most wise to celebrate appointed seasons with all the aids which reverence can bring. Thus gratitude and love will kindle into brighter flame, and sense of mercies will take deeper root. Thus shall we ripen for the day when every crown shall be cast at the Redeemer's feet, and endless Hallelujahs issue from all lips.

      4-5. "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; where I heard a language that I understood not."

      Such service was enjoined to the elders of faith's house. It was ordained to promote their wisdom, joy, and profit. Doubtless the true light now brightly shines, and we have passed from the shadowy forms of types and emblematic worship. But the essence of true religion abides the same. If forms are not observed, reality may soon be lost. We are called to note the period when these injunctions were given. It was at the moment of their deliverance from the slavery of Egypt; from the oppression of those who were aliens both in heart and tongue.

      6-7. "I removed his shoulder from the burden; his hands were delivered from the pots. You called in trouble, and I delivered you; I answered you from the secret place of thunder; I proved you at the waters of Meribah."

      Grievous burdens oppressed the groaning people, but God delivered them, and their servile bondage ended. In the wilderness trouble continued; but from the cloud--the home of thunders--answers responded to their cry, and faith grew strong by frequent trial.

      8-10. "Hear, O My people, and I will testify to you; O Israel, if you will hearken unto Me; there shall no strange god be in you; neither shall you worship any strange god. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I will fill it."

      The Lord tenderly expostulates. He stoops to crave attention. He assures those who if they would obey, He, and He alone, would be their God, and no vile deluders should mislead them. He reminds them that He is the same God who wrought such wonders for them in their early days. He assures those who He is the same in the infinitudes of His love and power; that they were not straitened in Him; that if they would be willing to receive, He would fill them until no more could be contained. Let us thus open our hearts, and doubt not that He will fully occupy.

      11-12. "But My people would not hearken to My voice; and Israel would not submit to Me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust; and they walked in their own counsels."

      We shudder at the madness of rebellious man. He closes his ears; he rejects God, and thus God leaves him. Terrible curses follow. The decree goes forth, Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone.

      13-16. "Oh that My people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in My ways! I would soon have subdued their enemies, and turned My hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord would have submitted themselves unto Him; but their time would have endured forever. He would have fed them also with the finest of the wheat; and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied you."

      Mournful is this upbraiding note. The scene is darkened by a picture of the blessedness thus forfeited. No mercy would have been withheld from the obedient. Their enemies would have fallen low before them. There would have been no evening to their bright days of joy. Their life would have been a perpetual feast. Their table would have been luxuriantly spread by God's own hand. Let us be wise, and hearken diligently, that we may enjoy such blessedness.

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See Also:
   Psalm 1
   Psalm 2
   Psalm 3
   Psalm 4
   Psalm 5
   Psalm 6
   Psalm 7
   Psalm 8
   Psalm 9
   Psalm 10
   Psalm 11
   Psalm 12
   Psalm 13
   Psalm 14
   Psalm 15
   Psalm 16
   Psalm 17
   Psalm 18
   Psalm 19
   Psalm 20
   Psalm 21
   Psalm 22
   Psalm 23
   Psalm 24
   Psalm 25
   Psalm 26
   Psalm 27
   Psalm 28
   Psalm 29
   Psalm 30
   Psalm 31
   Psalm 32
   Psalm 33
   Psalm 34
   Psalm 35
   Psalm 36
   Psalm 37
   Psalm 38
   Psalm 39
   Psalm 40
   Psalm 41
   Psalm 42
   Psalm 43
   Psalm 44
   Psalm 45
   Psalm 46
   Psalm 47
   Psalm 48
   Psalm 49
   Psalm 50
   Psalm 51
   Psalm 52
   Psalm 53
   Psalm 54
   Psalm 55
   Psalm 56
   Psalm 57
   Psalm 58
   Psalm 59
   Psalm 60
   Psalm 61
   Psalm 62
   Psalm 63
   Psalm 64
   Psalm 65
   Psalm 66
   Psalm 67
   Psalm 68
   Psalm 69
   Psalm 70
   Psalm 71
   Psalm 72
   Psalm 72
   Psalm 74
   Psalm 75
   Psalm 76
   Psalm 77
   Psalm 78
   Psalm 79
   Psalm 80
   Psalm 81
   Psalm 82
   Psalm 83
   Psalm 84
   Psalm 85
   Psalm 86
   Psalm 87
   Psalm 88
   Psalm 89
   Psalm 90
   Psalm 91
   Psalm 92
   Psalm 93
   Psalm 94
   Psalm 95
   Psalm 96
   Psalm 97
   Psalm 98
   Psalm 99
   Psalm 100
   Psalm 101
   Psalm 102
   Psalm 103
   Psalm 104
   Psalm 105
   Psalm 106
   Psalm 107
   Psalm 108
   Psalm 109
   Psalm 110
   Psalm 111
   Psalm 112
   Psalm 113
   Psalm 114
   Psalm 115
   Psalm 116
   Psalm 117
   Psalm 118
   Psalm 119
   Psalm 120
   Psalm 121
   Psalm 122
   Psalm 123
   Psalm 124
   Psalm 125
   Psalm 126
   Psalm 127
   Psalm 128
   Psalm 129
   Psalm 130
   Psalm 131
   Psalm 132
   Psalm 133
   Psalm 134
   Psalm 135
   Psalm 136
   Psalm 137
   Psalm 138
   Psalm 139
   Psalm 140
   Psalm 141
   Psalm 142
   Psalm 143
   Psalm 144
   Psalm 145
   Psalm 146
   Psalm 147
   Psalm 148
   Psalm 149
   Psalm 150


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