God is praised for what he has done for his people. (1-7) Their obligations to him. (8-16)
Verses 1-7 All the worship we can render to the Lord is beneath his excellences, and our obligations to him, especially in our redemption from sin and wrath. What God had done on Israel's behalf, was kept in remembrance by public solemnities. To make a deliverance appear more gracious, more glorious, it is good to observe all that makes the trouble we are delivered from appear more grievous. We ought never to forget the base and ruinous drudgery to which Satan, our oppressor, brought us. But when, in distress of conscience, we are led to cry for deliverance, the Lord answers our prayers, and sets us at liberty. Convictions of sin, and trials by affliction, prove his regard to his people. If the Jews, on their solemn feast-days, were thus to call to mind their redemption out of Egypt, much more ought we, on the Christian sabbath, to call to mind a more glorious redemption, wrought out for us by our Lord Jesus Christ, from worse bondage.
Verses 8-16 We cannot look for too little from the creature, nor too much from the Creator. We may have enough from God, if we pray for it in faith. All the wickedness of the world is owing to man's wilfulness. People are not religious, because they will not be so. God is not the Author of their sin, he leaves them to the lusts of their own hearts, and the counsels of their own heads; if they do not well, the blame must be upon themselves. The Lord is unwilling that any should perish. What enemies sinners are to themselves! It is sin that makes our troubles long, and our salvation slow. Upon the same conditions of faith and obedience, do Christians hold those spiritual and eternal good things, which the pleasant fields and fertile hills of Canaan showed forth. Christ is the Bread of life; he is the Rock of salvation, and his promises are as honey to pious minds. But those who reject him as their Lord and Master, must also lose him as their Saviour and their reward.
Psalms 81:1-16 . for the passover (compare Matthew 26:30 ), in which, after an exhortation to praise God, He is introduced, reminding Israel of their obligations, chiding their neglect, and depicting the happy results of obedience.
1. our strength--( Psalms 38:7 ).
2. unites the most joyful kinds of music, vocal and instrumental.
3. the new moon--or the month.
the time appointed--(Compare Proverbs 7:20 ).
5. a testimony--The feasts, especially the passover, attested God's relation to His people.
Joseph--for Israel ( Psalms 80:1 ).
went out through--or, "over," that is, Israel in the exodus.
I heard--change of person. The writer speaks for the nation.
language--literally, "lip" ( Psalms 14:1 ). An aggravation or element of their distress that their oppressors were foreigners ( Deuteronomy 28:49 ).
6. God's language alludes to the burdensome slavery of the Israelites.
7. secret place--the cloud from which He troubled the Egyptians ( Exodus 14:24 ).
proved thee--( Psalms 7:10 , 17:3 )--tested their faith by the miracle.
8. (Compare Psalms 50:7 ). The reproof follows to Psalms 81:12 .
if thou wilt hearken--He then propounds the terms of His covenant: they should worship Him alone, who ( Psalms 81:10 ) had delivered them, and would still confer all needed blessings.
11, 12. They failed, and He gave them up to their own desires and hardness of heart ( Deuteronomy 29:18 , Proverbs 1:30 , Romans 11:25 ).
13-16. Obedience would have secured all promised blessings and the subjection of foes. In this passage, "should have," "would have," &c., are better, "should" and "would" expressing God's intention at the time, that is, when they left Egypt.