“For this is a statute for Israel, a law of the God of Jacob.”
After choosing His people, God established laws to govern their behavior. There were moral laws and social laws, as well as ceremonial laws. All of which, when followed, would serve to benefit the individual, as well as the nation.
The Psalmist draws our attention to a particular set of laws that had to do with worship. “Sing aloud to God our strength; make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. Raise a song and strike the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the lute. Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, at the full moon, on our solemn feast day.” Psalm 81:1-3
Instead of laws that forbid religious assembly in public places, their laws required it. They were commanded to worship, and to worship loudly. Why? Why does God require His people to worship? We know it has something to do with God. He is, after all, worthy of praise. Just being God, and being exalted above the heavens, demands our highest praise. But I believe, it has at least as much to do with us. There are great benefits derived from taking time for private and corporate worship. Perhaps the greatest benefit is what it does to our perspective.
Too often, we see God in light of our problems. When we come face to face with a trial, perhaps an illness or a financial burden, we often become overwhelmed by the sheer fact that it is bigger than we can handle. We focus our attention on the problem, and it seems to grow larger and larger. Before we know it, we are consumed with worry, doubt, and anxiety. We can’t sleep, become irritable, and lose our appetite. It is even possible to begin to pray about the problem, only to find that after praying, we are more anxious than when we began. The solution is worship. When we take our eyes off of the problem and place them fully upon the Lord, our perspective changes. We no longer see our trials as something so much bigger than ourselves, but we see God as so much bigger than our trials. A healthy dose of the power, majesty, love, mercy, and provision of God, is the antidote to worry.
In Acts 4, the Church was threatened. If they continued to speak publicly about Christ, they would be beaten, imprisoned or killed. These were not idle threats. They had seen the rage of the religious leaders meted out on Christ only months before. Instead of allowing this trial to sink their faith, they turned their eyes upward and prayed, “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, . . ” Acts 4:24
Having been reminded of the power of God that casts a shadow over the weakness of human powers, they were able to rise from prayer with a new-found confidence. We read, “. . .they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31
No matter what you are facing, God commands you to worship. As you take your eyes off of your weakness, and the problem you are facing, and place them upon the God of Glory, your perspective will change. Faith will grow and His peace will flood your heart and mind. Let’s be faithful today to raise our voices in praise.
Questions for Psalm 81
- This is a call to worship. Look at verses 6-7, why were they to worship God?
- What promise are we given in verse 10?
- According to the Psalmist, how did Israel respond to this promise?
- In verse 13 the heart of God is exposed. He wants so badly for the people to listen to and follow after His Word that He may bless them. How will you respond to His Word today?