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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Psalms 81



Verses 1-16

Psalms 81:1. Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.

In these days, the Psalm would have to be altered if they are to suit the dogmas of modern thought, for “the God of Jacob” is altogether rejected by those wondrous thinkers who think they know so much. The God of the New Testament, they say, is a very different Being from the God of the Old Testament. According to them, the Old Testament God is too stern; but the New Testament God is far softer, quite effeminate, indeed, if they rightly describe him. But we do not hesitate to say, over and over again that the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob,-the immutable and unchangeable One,-the God of Sinai, is as much our God as the God of Calvary, so we delight “to make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.”

Psalms 81:2-6. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob. This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I heard a language that I understood not. I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.

Child of God, have you forgotten the time of your deliverance? God has not; and here he reminds his people Israel of their deliverance out of Egypt. So he says concerning you, “I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.” Do you not remember the joy of that glad moment when the burden of sin was taken away from you, and the pots of your own self-salvation lay broken at your feet? Glory be to him who brought us out from that terrible house of bondage!

Psalms 81:7. Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.

But how sadly did they stand the test! You and I, too, have not only received much mercy at the hand of God, but we also have had our testing-times. We can look back to the waters of strife with deep regret that there we failed so sadly.

Psalms 81:8-10. Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me; there shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

What a wondering verse this is! We have been so accustomed to hear the expression, “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt,” followed by the law; but here it is followed by a gracious encouragement to us to pray: “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Whatever force the law derived from that preface, this exhortation derives the same force, and no child of God ought to forget that. He who delivered you from the burden of sin bids you open your mouth wide, and he will fill it; and after your deliverance from guilt, do you not feel that you may well ask great things of such a gracious God?

Psalms 81:11-15. But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own heart lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued the enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.

Alas, poor Israel! Through what sufferings and captivities didst thou go because thou wouldst not trust in the Lord, and how often some of God’s children have had to go through years of sorrow and spiritual captivity because of their lack of close walking with their God, and complete obedience to him! May we learn from the sins of others, and be helped to walk closely with our Master!

Psalms 81:16. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

If the Word of God does not seem to feed us as once it did, it will surely be because we have not hearkened to our Lord, or walked in his ways. May he give us grace to render complete obedience to his holy will!

“So shall thy choicest gifts, O Lord,

Thy faithful people bless,

For them shall earth its stores afford and heaven in happiness.”


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 81:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

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