Today's devotion from Psalms 79, 80, and 81.
The tone of Psalm 81 is familiar, but the language is interesting. Again it is a call for the people of God to become faithful and for the Lord to restore them to former standing with Him. It recalls a glorious past and a less than ideal present with an eye toward a hopeful future. All these themes are familiar. In a sense, when reading through the psalms we can become so acquainted with these themes that we become blind to them. We neglect them and fail to notice after so many with similar longings.
Yet, that is the point, isn't it? The repetitious nature of the psalms exists because the people, regardless, really, of situation or circumstance, continue to need the same thing. They need to remember. They need to be obedient. They need to be faithful. They need to be forgiven. They need to be saved.
However, what really grabbed my attention is the this one phrase, "Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it." (Psalm 81:10, ESV) As I considered the reoccurrence of want and need throughout the psalms, I was confronted with the reality of this phrase. God's provision is there and is proven, we simply fail to act in faith to receive what He would so gladly and graciously give.
This is not just a wishful hope based on nothing. This is a promise from God. The psalmist, led by God, speaks His words to the people. He is the one inviting them to act in faith by readying themselves to receive His blessing if only they would believe. But they often did not. "But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me." (Psalm 81:11, ESV)
The repeating drum beat of the Old Testament is the neediness and want of the people in spite of the free offer of God. They would rather chase after those things that hurt and wound, that fill without satisfaction, than to receive the gift of God. They need, and He would give, but they refuse to receive. They need. They need. They need. But this is not just true of Israel.
We need, and our need is the very reason that our modern churches should continue to hold forth the gospel in every service and gathering. All that the psalmists longed for, we get the privilege of making known its availability. We preach a hope not that a Messiah will come or that God would act, but in a Messiah who did come because our God has acted. Oh that more would open wide to receive.