Tuesday, April 18, 2017

competing voices

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
Psalm 81:8

What does it mean when God has to insist on getting the attention of His people? It usually means they have strayed from Him and started listening to, and following, competing voices. This psalm uses the Exodus as a theme to call Israel back to worshiping Yahweh, the delivering God Who loves them. It promises renewed joy just like a celebration of a feast if the nation would turn to hear and follow again what God says.

Just as in Egypt God heard their cries and brought unbelievable deliverance, and just as in the wilderness He brought them through despite their sinful failures and rejections of Him, so with this psalm God again offered forgiveness, life and hope. He longs to nurture and to care for His people, to fill their wide open mouths with good food. He offers them abundant provision and good things. They need only listen and turn back to Him.

The harshest punishment God can lay on sinners is also found in this psalm. He will let those who reject Him have their stubborn heart's way. He will give them over to following their own counsel. It is a hard judgment to leave sinners alone as they careen toward certain doom, and even then God's heart cried out for Israel to return, to listen to Him, and to walk again in His ways.

I confess that like Israel I too can listen to competing voices. Often the loudest and most compelling rebel speech comes from my own heart. O God, forgive my wandering from You. I believe the good news, and repent from following what my will and those deadly siren songs compel me towards. I know Jesus, that You forgive my sin. I trust You. I know that You long to bless me with good things as I repent, believe, trust only in Your saving grace because I am clearly not good of my own efforts, and obey Your voice as You speak in Your word to my heart.

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