Psalm 81

How do you know if someone is listening to what you say?

Psalm 81 is a call for God’s people to be true listeners.

Listen, my people, and I will admonish you.
Israel, if you would only listen to me! (v. 8 CSB)

A true listener pays close attention to what is being said and who is saying it.

Psalm 81 reminds God’s people of the period after the Exodus, when God spoke to His people, Israel, to reveal Himself and His commands for holy living. The chief of God’s commands was to have no other gods other than Him, Yahweh, the LORD. Psalm 81 reminds them of this primary command. It is the LORD who rescued His people from Egypt and provided for them in the desert.

There must not be a strange god among you;
you must not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up from the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (v. 9-10 CSB)

A true listener responds to what is heard with obedience.

Psalm 81 tells us how God answers the question, “How do you know if someone is listening?” God says obedience is the test of listening. True listening demands a response. Here, God says He knew His people were not listening to His voice because they did not obey Him.

“But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel did not obey me.” (v. 11 CSB)

The consequences of not listening and not obeying?
God gave His people over to their stubborn hearts.

“So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own plans.” (v. 12 CSB)

Their stubborn hearts and selfish plans led them into disaster.

God’s desire is for His people to be true listeners.

“If only my people would listen to me
and Israel would follow my ways,
I would quickly subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes.” (v. 13-14 CSB)

Truly listening to God leads to obedience, to following God’s ways.
God gives protection and provision to those who obey.

But he would feed Israel with the best wheat.
“I would satisfy you with honey from the rock.” (v. 16 CSB)

If only we would listen!
If only we would follow God’s ways instead of our own reasoning!

How do I know if I’m truly listening to God?
I know I’m listening if I’m obeying what He says and following His ways.

I will listen.
I will obey.
I will praise.

Sing for joy to God our strength;
shout in triumph to the God of Jacob. (v. 1 CSB)

Father, I want to hear Your voice. I want to listen to what You say. Thank You for Your written Word that teaches me Your ways. I want to follow Your ways, not my own. Help me to obey Your commands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 81

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