No one is listening (Ps 81:11-81:16)

“‘But my people did not listen to my voice.

Israel would not submit to me.

So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts.

They followed their own counsels.

O that my people would listen to me!

O that Israel would walk in my ways!

Then I would quickly subdue their enemies.

I would turn my hand against their foes.

Those who hate Yahweh

Would cringe toward him.

Their fate would last forever.

I would feed you with the finest of the wheat.

I would feed you with honey from the rock.

I would satisfy you.’”

This psalm ends with the Temple prophet speaking in the name of Yahweh. They would not listen to the voice of Yahweh. Israel did not submit to Yahweh because of their stubborn hearts. They followed their own counsel. They would not listen to Yahweh and walk in his ways. If they had, Yahweh could have quickly subdued their enemies. He would have turned against their foes. Those who hated Yahweh would cringe. Yahweh would have feed them with the finest wheat and honey that would have satisfied them.

Listen to the voice of Yahweh (Ps 81:8-81:10)

“Hear!

O my people!,

I will admonish you!

O Israel!

If you would but listen to me!

There shall be no strange god among you.

You shall not bow down to a foreign god.

I am Yahweh!

Your God!

I brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

Open your mouth wide!

Then I will fill it.”

Yahweh speaks, probably through the Temple prophet. He wanted to admonish his people, Israel. If only they would listen to him. Very clearly he says that there should not be any strange gods among them. They were not to bow down to foreign gods. He was Yahweh, their God. He brought them out of Egypt. He wanted them to open their mouths wide so that he could fill them.

The voice (Ps 81:5-81:7)

“I hear a voice I had not known.

‘I relieved your shoulder of the burden.

Your hands were freed from the basket.

In distress you called.

Then I rescued you.

I answered you in the secret place of thunder.

I tested you at the waters of Meribah.’”

Selah

The psalmist noted that he heard an unknown voice. This voice said that he relieved them of their burdens. He freed their hands from the basket in their distress. He had rescued them. He had answered them with thunder. He had tested them at the waters of Meribah. These are references to the activities found in Exodus, chapters 17-19. This section ends with the musical meditative interlude pause of Selah.

Call to worship (Ps 81:1-81:5)

To the choirmaster leader, according to the Gittith, a psalm of Asaph

“Sing aloud to God!

Our strength!

Shout for joy

To the God of Jacob!

Raise a song!

Sound the tambourine!

Sound the sweet lyre!

Sound the harp!

Blow the trumpet

At the new moon,

At the full moon,

On our feast day.

It is a statute for Israel.

It is an ordinance of the God of Jacob.

He made it a decree in Joseph,

When he went out

Over the land of Egypt.”

Once again, Psalm 81 is a choral psalm on a Gittith or stringed instrument. Of course it is in this series of Asaph psalms, who was a Temple singer. They were to sing aloud with joy to the God of Jacob. They were to play on the tambourine, the lyre, and the harp. They were to blow the trumpet at the new moon, the full moon, and the feast day. This was a statute of Israel and an ordinance of the God of Jacob. This was the decree that came from tribe of Joseph as they left Egypt.