Psalm 81 - Sweet Satisfaction
This is a very PRACTICAL Psalm. We have said previously that God's truths are not doctrines - they are more like the laws of physics - only in the realm of the Spirit, Mind and Body.
This Psalm will help us be very faithful. Our God gives us "Sweet Satisfaction" - referred to here as "honey from the rock".
Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" says we are fulfilled as our physical needs are met and we can have the freedom to experience fulfillment - "spiritual" fulfillment - if you prefer. So according to the "really smart guys" of this world - only the wealthy get to experience fulfillment and spirituality.
Our God shows us the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the world says - here in this Psalm.
When God intervened to mold His people into a holy nation, He didn't make Egypt nicer for them. First it got much worse. Then He took them through the Red Sea and out into the desert. They and their vast herds of cattle were without water.
"I tested you at the waters of Meribah"
It doesn't get much worse than having no water in a desert - with a huge mass of people and their cattle. But God expected them to trust Him and not complain. And, sure enough, He provided what they needed.
This Psalm is all about how we can not just SURVIVE, but THRIVE. If the context was one of peace, wealth, ease and comfort, it would be of much less value.
The Wilderness is where the "old man" dies.
God brought them out of Egypt. In the wilderness he got Egypt out of THEM. Passing through the Red Sea is a picture of baptism - dying to your old life and being born again into a new life. They pass through the Jordan in just the same way. The entire wilderness experience is a process of the "old man" - that which was Egyptian in them - dying.
Our First Love Experience
The wilderness experience is also referred to as a very special time - a sort of "honeymoon" - between God and His people - where He was with them as a sheltering cloud during the day and a warming pillar of fire by night.
Something Totally New In Our Relationship With God
Here's an amazing verse for this "honeymoon" experience
"I heard a totally unfamiliar voice say:
I removed the burden from your shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket." (vs 5,6).
This is a new voice - one we never heard before - a voice of Love that brings newness. This is something totally new and beautiful beyond words. This voice speaks FREEDOM into our lives. And it's more than just not being a slave in Egypt. They are released from the slavery of our hearts to our old ways. We are no longer slaves of Sin. We are free!
This wonderful new voice speaks FREEDOM!
So THAT is why the first verses of this song command us to make music and celebrate. It's all about this new voice - His Wonderful Voice - speaking FREEDOM to our hearts!
Why "when the moon is full"?
I'll let you figure that out. As for me, I love worshipping God under a full moon. You can take it as you want - but for me it's full of spiritual "super romance". At the very least this becomes a nice mental handle to renew your "First Love" with the Lord month by month.
Such a "super romance" Love relationship is seen so much more clearly by us NOW as we see Jesus laying down HIS life for HIS BRIDE. HE does the dying. We get the benefits of what He did simply by Loving Him in Living Faith.
So we should be faithful. We should not be spiritual adulterers.
"You shall have no foreign god among you" (v9)
Then God gives the strongest encouragement He can possibly give. Sure, we must control our appetites. But when it comes to SPIRITUAL FOOD, to the richness of Love we can have IN HIM, he wants us to be GLUTTONS - crazy about Him.
Open WIDE your mouth and I will fill it." (v10)
The best DEFENSE against sin is a GOOD OFFENSE.
A friend of mine said, "Spending your entire life fighting temptation is a wasted life".
I agree. But we should not be running to a different lover - one who will abuse us, take what we have, and leave us worse off for it. We should let God take our relationship with Him to a new level - a level where we fly ABOVE the storm clouds. Up there those clouds are a beautiful fluffy white in the light of a bright and brilliant sun. Below, the clouds are dark and temptation lurks.
The key to freedomis to become passionate pursuers of God and the beauty He brings. Being "in Love" with God is the answer.
But the battles increase the drama. "I answered you out of a thundercloud". He will be with us through the storms of life. It reminds one of a plot for a very good story or movie. There's danger, drama, excitement and passion. This story we participate in is The Greatest Story Ever Told!
Sadly, as the band "Jars Of Clay" sings,
"I'd rather have the pain - all too familiar - than a Lover I don't understand."
Change, even fantasticly good change, goes against our grain. So we turn to something else over and over again.
But by the time Ezra comes along, they are broken hearted at their own unfaithfullness. From that time on they never again turned to idols and graven images. Faithfulness came with brokenness and repentence.
When we repent from the heart God "will quickly subdue our enemies." Yes. There's hope. There's a way out of a lifestyle dogged by defeat.
This Psalm ends with one of the most beautiful verses in scripture:
"But you would be fed with the finest of wheat, with honey from the rock I would satisfy you" (v.16).
These sweet words bundle several images together.
1. Jesus followed them in the form of a mysterious fountain - in appearance as a rock. Once Moses was commanded to strike it. The Law did strike Jesus "once for all". After that Moses was told to "speak to the Rock". He struck it again - in frustration - and was banned from entering the promised land. The point we're focussing on HERE is that we need to SPEAK to Him when we thirst.
2. The bread of heaven - finest wheat indeed - the Manna they had for their "daily bread" - tasted like honey. Did you ever think of Jesus as your "daily bread"? The manna came on a DAILY basis. His mercies are new every morning.
So when you compare the "honey sweet manna", "the Messianic Rock" thatmysteriously fountain that followed them, and the "gift of finest wheat", you get an awesome picture of Jesus as all we need in life.
We have "Sweet Satisfaction" IN HIM.
Jesus is the "bread of heaven" - the "gift of finest wheat". If you would like a sweet song that quotes this beautiful verse, "Gift Of Finest Wheat" on the Album "City of God" by John Michael Talbot, has these wonderful lyrics
"You satisfy the hungry heart with gift of finest wheat.
Come give to us, oh saving Lord, the Bread Of Life to eat.
As when the shepherd calls His sheep they know and heed His voice
So when you call your family, Lord, we follow and rejoice.
With joyful lips we sing to You our praise and gratitude.
That you should count us worthy, Lord, to share this heavenly food.
Is not the cup we bless and share the blood of Christ outpoured?
Does not one cup, one loaf, declare our oneness in the Lord?"
We've been given a foretaste of Spiritual Paradise in our wonderful Lord Jesus.
Listen to His stong voice - a voice formerly totally unknown to you - and enjoy the freedom He will speak into your life - in total NEWNESS!
Savour the "honey from the Rock" and enjoy "Sweet Satisfaction" - in Him!
"This Psalm is all about how we can not just SURVIVE, but THRIVE."
Sadly enough, that is what so many Christians are doing. They are merely surviving when God has so much more for us. Psalm 81 is a beautiful reminder that God has fine wheat for us and sweet honey from the Rock. When we partake of that, we do not merely survive... we thrive!
I'm SHOCKED by the beauty in these Psalms.
It's funny cause at first the Psalm will look "generic"
But as you actually TAKE IN what the Psalm says, you're like - WOW - HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT BEFORE!
And how, after 40 years, can this Psalm not already be a "best friend" - very familiar.
And with 150 of them, you NEVER can really retain it. It's like really enjoying a movie rerun - only better.