Psalm 81

1650 psalter

The Redeemer of Israel’s tender lamentation over His people’s rejection of His grace

It is thought that this psalm was written to support the Passover festal observance, in which the people were encouraged to render a full-hearted worship. This was in accordance to the laws given and to be observed, and especially the law against the worship of false gods.

But as so often happened in history, God’s people ignored what God had spoken. A generation grew up that did not know God experimentally, and demurred from His revelation. The psalmist recounts the benefits that would have been possessed by them if they had listened. There would have been the subduing of the enemy and their submission, but God would have also fed them with the finest of wheat and honey. Wheat, which signifies the bread of life, which is Christ; and honey, which is the sweetness and enrichment of Christ who is the mystical Rock.

Pastor Jeff O’ Neil

Recommended Tune: Bishopthorpe, Crediton


Psalm 81

¹Sing loud to God our strength; with joy
To Jacob’s God do sing.
²Take up a psalm, the pleasant harp,
Timbrel and psalt’ry bring.

³Blow trumpets at new–moon, what day
Our feast appointed is:
⁴For charge to Isr’el, and a law
Of Jacob’s God was this.

⁵To Joseph this a testimony
He made, when Egypt land
He travell’d through, where speech I heard
I did not understand.

⁶His shoulder I from burdens took,
His hands from pots did free.
⁷Thou didst in trouble on me call,
And I deliver’d thee:

In secret place of thundering
I did thee answer make;
And at the streams of Meribah
Of thee a proof did take.

⁸O thou, my people, give an ear,
I’ll testify to thee;
To thee, O Isr’el, if thou wilt
But hearken unto me.

⁹In midst of thee there shall not be
Any strange god at all;
Nor unto any god unknown
Thou bowing down shalt fall.

¹⁰I am the LORD thy God, which did
From Egypt land thee guide;
I’ll fill thy mouth abundantly,
Do thou it open wide.

¹¹But yet my people to my voice
Would not attentive be;
And ev’n my chosen Israel
He would have none of me.

¹²So to the lust of their own hearts
I them delivered;
And then in counsels of their own
They vainly wandered.

¹³O that my people had me heard,
Isr’el my ways had chose!
¹⁴I had their en’mies soon subdued,
My hand turn’d on their foes.

¹⁵The haters of the LORD to him
Submission should have feign’d;
But as for them, their time should have
For evermore remain’d.

¹⁶He should have also fed them with
The finest of the wheat;
Of honey from the rock thy fill
I should have made thee eat.