Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Twenty-Two


Psalm 81

Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
Raise a song, sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our festal day.
For it is a statute for Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
He made it a decree in Joseph,
when he went out over the land of Egypt.

I hear a voice I had not known:
“I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
Hear, O my people, while I admonish you;
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

“But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
O that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
and their doom would last forever.
I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Right here, in this 3-stanza song, we have the story of the Old Testament. It begins with beautiful music, moves to a recital of God’s repeated acts of deliverance for his people, and ends with the sad news that those people responded with belligerence and disobedience.

The consequences of that disobedience are long-lasting and terrifying, yet God never wavers in choosing them and promising them safe return . . . if they would only walk in God’s ways. A song that is both beautiful and terribly sad, one that haunts us all from time to time. Our lives are marked by both the consequences of our own wrong choices and the sweetness of God’s restoration. 

Which is exactly why I love the psalms — they speak to real life in ways that nothing else quite does. These songs offer praise, repentance, warning, anger, joy, blessings, lament — the whole gamut of emotion, the truth of this thing called life. Maintaining a steady faith and learning to hold the good and the hard at the same time — these are worthy goals. And not possible to achieve outside of the goodness and grace of our God. 

Thank you, Creator, for giving us songs to sing in the key of life. Thank you, Savior, for singing our song with us as you walked on our soil. Thank you, Spirit, that you keep singing those songs in us and through us as we navigate the rough seas and the calm ones. Help us to sing them true.

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  1. Yes, Lord, help us to sing even in the hardest of moments. So thankful He is always there! And the Psalms are my absolute favorite part of the O. T.
    Blessings, Diana!

  2. Margie Bicknell says

    Yes, that we sing even in hardship, for that is when my life needs the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the most. May I ever seek Christ’s face and sing to His glory when I am weary. Amen.