Psalm 81

God gives those up to their own heart’s lust who are determined to give themselves up to be led by them.
Those who will listen to the counsels of His Spirit will find those joys and consolations which always reward the obedient.

1 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.

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.

6 I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.

7 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;

9 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.

11 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.

13 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.

15 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.

Psalm 81:1-7 – Sing unto God, the Deliverer

   It is supposed that this psalm was composed for use at the great Hebrew festivals and especially at the Passover, which is referred to in Psalm 81:5-7, 10. See also II Chronicles 30:21. Let us remember to celebrate the redemption of the Cross, where our Paschal Lamb was sacrificed. We must celebrate, here and hereafter, the love that rescued us from the burden and the basket, at Sinai and Meribah. Baskets have been found in the sepulchral vaults at Thebes, and were doubtless used for carrying the clay or the manufactured bricks. They are symbols of the drudgery and slavery of sin, when we served a hard taskmaster, whose wages is death.
   If we are in trouble, let us quote Psalm 81:7, call on God, and reckon on His delivering helpfulness. He will answer from “the secret place of thunder.” He comes out of His secret place. Especially when the thunder of a broken law is in our ears, let us hasten to the Redeemer, who has fulfilled the law in our stead. Let us maintain by faith our standing in Him; then we shall be as they who look down from the high mountains on the thunder-storm at our feet. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 81:7—Thou calledst… I delivered; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder.

​   Such trouble as Israel passed through in the Exodus comes but once in the history of a nation. From the brick-kilns and treasure-cities which they built, God’s people called to Him with strong crying and tears, extorted by insupportable sorrows. Still more did they need to cry for help when they stood between the Egyptians and the waters of the Red Sea. From the beach a nation’s call rose to God. Then was their trouble and heart-travail—a nation in throes of pain! Are you in trouble? Call upon God in the day of trouble; He will answer.
   God’s answers are often in the secret place of thunder. From his pavilion of cloud God spoke in tones of thunder that pealed over the heavily-breaking surf of the Red Sea. Several of the Psalms allude to the thunderstorm that rolled through the night of the passage through the deep. The march of Israel was to the roll of thunder. The peals of heaven’s artillery struck dismay into the hearts of the alien; but it was as though the Father was speaking to his children, the people with whom He was in covenant.
   God’s answer to our prayer is often in thunder-tones that hurtle through the air. By terrible things in righteousness He answers us. When Jesus asked the Father to glorify His name, the quiet reply, “I have… and will,” which He understood, sounded like thunder to the bystanders. Happy the child who in thunder-claps detects the Father’s voice, and in mystic characters of flame reads the Father’s handwriting! While, at Sinai, the people trembled at the repeated thunder-peals reverberating above them, Moses went into the thunder-covert where God was. There is no fear in love, because perfect love casteth out the fear that hath torment. —Our Daily Homily

Psalm 81:8-16 – ​“If Thou Wilt Hearken unto Me” 

   God wants our emptiness, which seems to Him like the gaping beak of the young fledgling, Psalm 81:10. Give me room! is his incessant appeal. It must be the wonder of eternity, and it will certainly be our regret when we come to review our life, that we have asked so little. Give me room! cries the river, as it comes with a rush to the plains. Give me room! cries the wind, as it searches into the narrow courts and alleys of the slums. Give me room! says the Spirit of God, as He breathes around the house of our heart, seeking by any tiny crack to enter.
   In the closing Psalm 81:13-16, we have an enumeration of all the blessings which would be ours, if only we would open our mouths wide. God would constitute Himself as our champion in subduing our enemies—the temptations from without and the inward warrings of selfishness and passion. He would give us unbroken and enduring blessedness. He would allow us to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, which are meat and drink indeed. He would surely satisfy us with the sweet honey of His love. Let us begin to claim these benefits! —Through the Bible Day by Day