Psalms 81

1 A song to our strong God! a shout to the God of Jacob!
2 Anthems from the choir, music from the band, sweet sounds from lute and harp,
3 Trumpets and trombones and horns: it's festival day, a feast to God!
4 A day decreed by God, solemnly ordered by the God of Jacob.
5 He commanded Joseph to keep this day so we'd never forget what he did in Egypt. I hear this most gentle whisper from One I never guessed would speak to me:
6 "I took the world off your shoulders, freed you from a life of hard labor.
7 You called to me in your pain; I got you out of a bad place. I answered you from where the thunder hides, I proved you at Meribah Fountain.
8 "Listen, dear ones - get this straight; O Israel, don't take this lightly.
9 Don't take up with strange gods, don't worship the latest in gods.
10 I'm God, your God, the very God who rescued you from doom in Egypt, Then fed you all you could eat, filled your hungry stomachs.
11 "But my people didn't listen, Israel paid no attention;
12 So I let go of the reins and told them, 'Run! Do it your own way!'
13 "Oh, dear people, will you listen to me now? Israel, will you follow my map?
14 I'll make short work of your enemies, give your foes the back of my hand.
15 I'll send the God-haters cringing like dogs, never to be heard from again.
16 You'll feast on my fresh-baked bread spread with butter and rock-pure honey."

Psalms 81 Commentary

Chapter 81

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.

Chapter Summary

Psalms 81 Commentaries