Psalm 81: Praying Through The Psalms

“Sing aloud to God, our strength! Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. Raise a song, and bring here the tambourine, the pleasant 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, an ordinance of the God of Jacob (Ps. 81:1-4, WEB).” 

Holy King, you are worthy of our praise. We will shout for joy because you grant us peace in the midst of our storms. We bring to you the tambourine, the lyre with the harp, and the trumpet to magnify your great name. For these musical instruments are the best we can do to lift up your name above all other names.

The Hebrew word for trumpet, שׁוֹפָ֑ר, is to make a loud blasting sound. This reminds us of your judgment and holiness. We blow the trumpet at the New moon, on the feast day, to celebrate your Holy Days, Yom Teruah and Kippur. It also reminds us of the time when you delivered your people, the Israelites, from slavery in Egypt to the promised land. For you are a faithful God! The same is true today.

“He appointed it in Joseph for a covenant, when he went over the land of Egypt, I heard a language that I didn’t know. I removed his shoulder from the burden. His hands were freed from the basket. You called in trouble, and I delivered you. I answered you in the secret place of thunder. I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah (Ps. 81:5-8).”

You made a covenant with your people, O God. You promised to never leave us or forsake us if we obeyed your Torah and honored your righteous name. When Moses and the Israelites were in trouble from the Egyptians, you delivered them.

You deliver us now, because you have written your Law on our hearts. The Law has made it clear that all of us have sinned and fall short of your glory. That’s why we desperately need your grace. For it is by grace we are saved through faith. It is a gift of God, not as a result of works. Praise be to Yahweh!

The Hebrew word for deliver, וָאֲחַ֫לְּצֶ֥ךָּ is to rescue, draw out, and set free from danger. Just like you delivered your people from Pharaoh’s armies, you deliver us from sin today. Circumcise our hearts, O God. Teach us to follow your ways all the days of our lives. Provide your Holy Spirit to give us comfort, wisdom, and insight to navigate through this complex world.

When you tested the ancient people at Meribah, you called it a place of strife and contention. While there was water supply at Kadesh from the Southern Border, the people of God were still complaining and murmuring against God. The same is true today. You provide us with so many resources, and yet we are never content–our covetous idolatry is apparent. Forgive us for falling prey to these temptations. Deliver us from the evil one.

“Hear, my people, and I will testify to you, Israel, if you would listen to me! There shall be no strange god in you, neither shall you worship any foreign god. I am Yahweh, your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people didn’t listen to my voice. Israel desired none of me. So I left them go after the stubbornness of their hearts, that they might walk in their own counsels (Ps. 81:8-12).”

Heavenly Father, you are the King of kings and the Lord of lords. May we worship and serve you. Keep us from worshipping ourselves or mortal beings that are not mighty like you. Convict us of our shortcomings and lead us to a path of righteous living. If we do not listen to your voice, wake us up like a loving Father and discipline us so that we will walk in your counsel.

Do not allow our hearts to remain stubborn. The Hebrew word for stubborn, בִּשְׁרִיר֣וּת, conveys this notion of becoming stiff or hard. Keep us from a hardened heart that does not obey your righteous decree. Restore to us your salvation, power, and glory. In Jesus name. Amen.

Oh that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their adversaries. The haters of Yahweh would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever. But he would have also fed them with the finest of the wheat. I will satisfy you with honey out of the rock (Ps. 81: 13-16).”

Everlasting King, you our are shield and protector. When foes try to speak against us, you safeguard us from their destructive plans. Remind us that our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, and philosophies that contradict your ways. Help us to live at peace with everyone, and to love those who persecute us.

Prince of Peace, you satisfy us with your love, grace, and truth. You are like honey out of the rock. You sustain us and keep us filled–no matter how difficult our circumstances become. We will lean on you as our Mighty Rock, so that when the winds and waves of trials come our way, we will be able to withstand. You are the strong foundation. You are immovable. Thank you for sheltering us from calamity everyday. Praise be to your Holy name. Amen.

Prayer Commentary written by Chad A. Damitz

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