By: Steve Negley

Posted: March 20, 2023

Category: Daily Devotional

Psalm 81

God’s Appeal to Stubborn Israel
To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.

Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
Raise a song; sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our festal day.
For it is a statute for Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
He made it a decree in Joseph,
when he went out over[a] the land of Egypt.

I hear a voice I had not known:
“I relieved your[b] shoulder of the burden;
your[c] hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
Hear, O my people, while I 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.
10 I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

11 “But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
13 O that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
14 Then I would quickly subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes.
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
and their doom would last forever.
16 I would feed you[d] with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.

The editor of the New Revised Version of the Bible calls this psalm “God’s Appeal to Stubborn Israel.”

When God’s people were refusing simply to let God be God, and when they were not turning their attention and allegiance to the God who made them, saved them, and claimed them in love, God asked these stubborn children to remember their past. They were slaves in hard labor, and it was God who lifted the burden and freed their hands. Because of their stubbornness, God had allowed their life after slavery in Egypt to, once again, become hard. But if they would remember God’s grace, and turn again to God for guidance and goodness, God would be faithful still. The finest wheat and honey from the rock is still being offered.


God of our past, remind us in your word and in our own heritage how good you are to your people. Fill my mind with memories of your grave, and dreams of your promised goodness. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.