Psalms Studies With Darlene Zschech (Psalm 81)

Featuring Darlene Zschech Posted on July 7, 2009


A Psalm of Asaph… to the chief musician.

Psalm 81 (Amplified Bible)

To the Chief Musician; set to Philistine lute, or [possibly] a particular Gittite tune. [A Psalm] of Asaph.

1.  SING ALOUD to God our Strength! Shout for joy to the God of Jacob!

2.  Raise a song, sound the timbrel, the sweet lyre with the harp.

3.  Blow the trumpet at the New Moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.

4.  For this is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.

5.  This He ordained in Joseph [the savior] for a testimony when He went out over the land of Egypt. The speech of One Whom I knew not did I hear [saying].

6.  I removed his shoulder from the burden; his hands were freed from the basket.

7.  You called in distress and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

8.  Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you--O Israel, if you would listen to Me.

9.  There shall no strange god be among you, neither shall you worship any alien 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 would not hearken to My voice, and Israel would have none of Me.

12.  So I gave them up to their own hearts' lust and let them go after their own stubborn will, that they might follow their own counsels.

13.  Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways.

14.  Speedily then I would subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their adversaries.

15.  [Had Israel listened to Me in Egypt, then] those who hated the Lord would have come cringing before Him, and their defeat would have lasted forever.

16.  [God] would feed [Israel now] also with the finest of the wheat; and with honey out of the rock would I satisfy you.

Psalm 81 leaps off the page toward my heart as I write this today… starting with the command to SING LOUD to our God, who is our strength!! To SHOUT FOR JOY, to lift up a song, to sound the drums…and sweeten the sound with strings… to rejoice in this great festival day decreed by God.  The Lord had commanded Joseph to keep this day so we would never forget what He did in Egypt.

To take the gift of music and use it for the reason it was given is nothing short of miraculous, no matter how simple or how elaborate the offering is, as long as it comes in truth – well, that is what delights the heart of God.

This is where my heart starts to tremble, for when the Lord starts to speak to Asaph…. in the message bible it says this.. “I hear this most gentle whisper from One I never guessed would speak to me”.

Think about this statement, the genuine humility and wonder… that the maker of heaven and earth actually cares enough to bow down and speak with us…. Crazy, Holy, mind-blowing stuff! And this is what is whispered….

“I took the world off your shoulders, freed you from a life of hard labour. 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. Listen dear ones, get this straight, don’t take this lightly. Don’t take up with strange gods, don’t worship the latest in gods. I’m God, your God, the very God who rescued you from the doom in Egypt, then fed you all you could eat, filled your hungry stomachs.  But, my people didn’t listen, Israel paid no attention; so I let go of the reigns and told them, ‘Run!  Do it your own way!

Oh, dear people, will you listen to me now? Israel, will you follow my map? I’ll make short work of your enemies, give your foes the back of my hand. I’ll send the God haters cringing like dogs, never to be heard from again. You’ll feast on my fresh baked bread spread with butter and pure rock honey.”

The lessons are rich throughout this psalm, probably the greatest lesson is about obedience, love, service… and the magnificent protective hand of our God…His heart toward us is indescribable. But in the end, He does not force what is continually rejected, the ultimate gentleman.

What is it about us that still wants to do things our own way? Why do we fight the hand that created us? The mystery of the great love of God is still so unfathomable, yet this IS the journey of faith and trust…. And I guess NOT fighting against something we cannot see yet can put ALL of our hope in, is part of the process.

With the journey we as a team have been on in the last few weeks with one of our much loved guys, who admittedly lied to all of us in his hope of something far greater, well, again, in life you learn not to point the finger too hard, but rather put your OWN roots down just that little bit deeper and trust in the Lord with ALL of your heart.

One great thing that has come out of this tragic situation, is that even in our own connect group we are talking about making sure there is at least one person (PLEASE make sure this person is appropriate) in your world who you could come to with areas of your life that need WORK. Hiding problems rather than dealing with them will only ever give them a hot house to mature in, turning something simple into sometimes a problem that is almost unbearable to comprehend. God Himself in Psalm 81 is saying that IF we choose to serve Him and do things as He has set out for us, then His covenant protects us largely from ourselves AND our enemies. I guess this is so much of a contradiction to our sin nature, well the results are simply great people, who sadly, turn their backs on God, do things their own way, and end up falling way short of His ultimate plans and purposes.

So my loves… PLEASE keep praising, even when the future does not look as clear as you would like… it’s amazing what is important in the light of the grace of God.