Psalm 81:13-14 NIV
13 “If my people would only listen to me,
if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
Psalms are beautifully written hymns depicting different time periods in Israel. Each psalm is placed in a book, which has a theme or message to God’s people. Psalm 81 is God’s message at harvest or The Feast of Tabernacles. This feast in Jerusalem was a celebration of God’s blessings on the Israelites. It also symbolized the Exodus and how they traveled living in tabernacles or tents. This event is a time of joy, so why did the author have everyone singing words of correction?
As I read these words, I began to see myself in my old bedroom during my childhood. I am fuming, and holding back anger. Thoughts of revenge seep in my soul and I begin to imagine myself bigger, stronger, and braver. Conversations in my head sound like, “I’m going to take up karate. I will learn some moves. Then I will be able to take on anyone who messes with me. No one will ever bother me again.”
I felt this way because I was bullied. Kids laughed, teased and sometimes touched me to take my confidence. This did’t happen that often, but often enough that it stripped me of my strength. I felt inferior, weak, and afraid. I thought the only answer was to bring brute strength to their party.
Where was God? As an adult and faithful believer, I now see the error of my ways. I tried to take on my enemies all by myself. Kept it all hidden in hopes that in a simple move, I would be David and take on Goliath (without God of course).
In Psalm 81 it says we need to listen and follow God. That means hear and do. The Israelites were excited about the celebration and most likely going through the motions preparing for the day. Did they hear God? Did they follow God’s will? I am sure like you and I they got caught up in the feelings of excitement, stress, and duty during the preparation. They had difficulties and arguments over how the day should proceed. They were human and like all of us, forgot God’s message.
God is telling them if you are with me and doing as I say, then I will take on your enemies. You will not need to worry about revenge. I got this.
As for God, His way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.