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Psalm 81

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Bring the musical instruments and make a joyful noise, the psalmist says. Then the singing stops and God begins to narrate: “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.(v7)” For the rest of the psalm God entreats his people to listen to Him, and all will be well. What could be simpler? But the people seem unable to trust Him: But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.(v11) His frustration is palpable. One is tempted to say to God, Hey, easier said than done! The great work (and it feels like work sometimes, let’s face it) is to believe, as Jesus said.

1{To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of Asaph.} Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
2Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.
3Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
4For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.
5This 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.
6I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.
7Thou 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.
8Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me;
9There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.
10I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
11But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.
12So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.
13Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!
14I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.
15The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.
16He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

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