Daily Devotional Sunday 23rd July 2023

by William Moody

Psalms 81–82

Oh, That My People Would Listen to Me

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith.1 Of Asaph.

81:1   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 feast day.
  For it is a statute for Israel,
    a rule2 of the God of Jacob.
  He made it a decree in Joseph
    when he went out over3 the land of Egypt.
  I hear a language I had not known:
  “I relieved your4 shoulder of the burden;
    your hands were freed from the basket.
  In distress you called, and I delivered 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   Oh, that my people would listen to me,
    that Israel would walk in my ways!
14   I would soon subdue their enemies
    and turn my hand against their foes.
15   Those who hate the LORD would cringe toward him,
    and their fate would last forever.
16   But he would feed you5 with the finest of the wheat,
    and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Rescue the Weak and Needy

A Psalm of Asaph.

82:1   God has taken his place in the divine council;
    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
  “How long will you judge unjustly
    and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
  Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
  Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
  They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
    they walk about in darkness;
    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
  I said, “You are gods,
    sons of the Most High, all of you;
  nevertheless, like men you shall die,
    and fall like any prince.”6
  Arise, O God, judge the earth;
    for you shall inherit all the nations!


[1] 81:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term
[2] 81:4 Or just decree
[3] 81:5 Or against
[4] 81:6 Hebrew his; also next line
[5] 81:16 That is, Israel; Hebrew him
[6] 82:7 Or fall as one man, O princes


Asaph who wrote Psalm 81, was a Levite gifted in music and writing during David’s time as King. In this Psalm he calls the people to come and praise the Lord exuberantly and with musical instruments (v1-3). But more than that it is Asaph’s desire to encourage the people to be Faithful to the Lord.

To encourage praise and faithfulness Asaph recounts how the Lord delivered the Israelites from Egypt (v4-6). The people were commanded to have no other gods among them (v7-10) but to remain faithful to the One true God who delivered them.

Sadly, in their stubbornness they resisted God’s voice and walked their own ways (v11-13). Notice how these verses are the Lord speaking and there surely is great sadness as the Lord longs for obedience. If the people would only turn they would know God’s great blessing in subduing their enemies and providing for all their needs (v14-16).

Here we have a great appeal for us to be those who love the Lord in response to all His goodness and to listen to His loving and wise voice.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.