Psalm 81: God’s Appeal to Israel

How can we identify God’s strength in his people?

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Psalm 81:1 To the minister of music, a song of Asaph.
Sing praises to God, who is our strength. Shout with joy to the God of Jacob.
King James
Psalm 81:1 <To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of Asaph.> Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.

Of what importance are feasts and holy days?

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Psalm 81:2–4 Sing as you play the tambourines and pleasant sounds of the stringed instruments. At the feasts, blow the trumpets for the new and full moons as decreed for Israel by the God of Jacob.
Romans 14:5 For another example, one man treats some days as being holy, while another person believes every day belongs to the Lord. Let each person be convinced in his own mind and behave accordingly.
Galatians 4:10–11 You celebrate holidays, the new moon, religious festivals, and other times of the year. I am concerned for you, wondering if my work among you had any value at all.
Colossians 2:16 Therefore, pay no attention to people’s judgment of what you should eat or drink, or whether you should respect what they regard as special days such as the new moon, holy days, or the Sabbath,
Hebrews 10:24–25 Look for ways to motivate people to do acts of kindness, always showing love. Don’t be like some who fail to regularly meet together. Encourage one another more and more as the day of the Lord’s return approaches.
King James
Psalm 81:2–4 Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.
Romans 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Galatians 4:10–11 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Hebrews 10:24–25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

In what ways can God test us?

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Psalm 81:5–7 Joseph’s descendants were given those instructions when God led them out of Egypt. I heard a voice say, “I lifted the burden from his shoulders. The heavy basket was taken from his hands. When you cried out in distress, I delivered you. I thundered from the clouds and tested you at the waters of Meribah.” Pause to think about that.
King James
Psalm 81:5–7 This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I heard a language that I understood not. I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots. Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.

After being delivered from Egyptian oppression, why did the Israelites fail to worship God?

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Psalm 81:8–11 “Listen, my people. If Israel will follow my instructions, I will testify in your defense. Don’t worship anything or anyone besides me. I am the Lord your God, who delivered you from Egypt. If your mouth were open wide, I would satisfy your hunger.
“But my people wouldn’t listen. Israel wanted nothing to do with me.”
King James
Psalm 81:8–11 Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me; There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.

If God doesn’t want anyone to perish, why does he allow people to go their own way?

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Psalm 81:12 I let them have their own way. They decided among themselves what was right.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t slow in keeping his promise, not like some people think. He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, giving time for everyone to repent.
King James
Psalm 81:12 So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

With our conscience being our guide, why might we be headed for trouble?

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Psalm 81:12 I let them have their own way. They decided among themselves what was right.
John 16:13 But when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own authority but will say only what he hears. He will reveal to you things to come.
King James
Psalm 81:12 So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

What are the benefits of following God’s direction?

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Psalm 81:13–16 If only my people had listened to me. If Israel had been willing to follow my direction, I would have put down their enemies. My mighty hand would have been raised against all who opposed them.
“Those who hated the Lord would have been forced to submit, and their defeat would have lasted forever. But I would have fed you the finest bread and honey until your stomachs could hold no more.”
King James
Psalm 81:13–16 Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

Why don’t people do a better job at following the Lord?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Psalm 81:13–16 If only my people had listened to me. If Israel had been willing to follow my direction, I would have put down their enemies. My mighty hand would have been raised against all who opposed them.
“Those who hated the Lord would have been forced to submit, and their defeat would have lasted forever. But I would have fed you the finest bread and honey until your stomachs could hold no more.”
King James
Psalm 81:13–16 Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.