Monday, June 3, 2024

Open Wide!

Psalm 81:1-10

Many of you might remember feeding a very young child their beginner meals of soft foods, foods like oatmeal, applesauce, and pureed vegetables.  As you would bring the spoon to their mouth, perhaps you said something like “Open up!”  Often that would work, and the little one would open their mouth.  However, we all know times when they wouldn’t open their mouth, and food might land anywhere.  As adults, we know that the food is good for them, but fussy little children often won’t cooperate.  Our Heavenly Father also asks us, His children to open up, so that He can provide good things to us.  We find that in our Psalm selection for this week from the Lectionary of the Book of Common Prayer.

Our psalm is listed as being one of the psalms of Asaph.  Asaph was from the tribe of Levi, and was one of the guild of musicians in the first Temple, beginning during the reign of King David, and continuing through the reign of King Solomon.  Over the years, other Temple singers and musicians came to be known as Asaphites.  Right at the start of this psalm, Asaph calls upon the people to sing and make a joyful shout to the Lord, to sing out songs while making pleasant music, all in praise of the Lord (vs. 1-2).  That would be natural for him, as after all, he was a lead Temple musician.

Just about everybody likes some type of music.  Good music can help lift our spirits when we listen to some of our favorite pieces.  Psychiatrists will sometimes recommend their patients to have music therapy, where music is worked into their therapy treatment to help lift depression and other mental illnesses.  In a similar manner, music helps lift a person’s thoughts and emotions to God.  Through music we can reflect on our needs and shortcomings, as well as celebrate God’s greatness.

What is one thing that we can sing to the Lord about?  Asaph reminds us that when we call to God in our troubles, He answers us, and delivers us from them (vs. 7).  The psalmist looked back at the history of God’s people, and recalled in a very subtle way a couple of specific times when they were in trouble and the Lord answered.  One was when He delivered them from the hands of the Egyptians when they crossed the Red Sea.  Shortly after that the Lord led them to Mt. Sinai where He came down to Moses in the midst of clouds, lightning, and thunder, that “secret place of thunder”.  A short time later the people of Israel tempted God, while complaining and whining about their provisions at His hands at a place called Meribah.  It was there that they drove Moses to sin by causing him to disobey the Lord’s commands.   The word “Meribah” means strife or contention.  Even when we fail God and fall into sin, when we repent and turn back to Him again, He will hear, answer, and deliver us.

There is another thing that the Lord reminds us of in this psalm, and that is that He will not tolerate the worship of any foreign or pagan deity (vs. 9).  Foreign or strange gods are actually representations of demon spirits.  Anything that is not “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” and that alone and exclusively (I Corinthians 2:2), is a foreign or strange god.

As we close our Scripture from Psalm 81, we get to the part where the Lord tells His children to “Open wide” (vs. 10).  God is not stingy!  He lavishly pours out grace upon us.  God desires to bless His people beyond their imagination.  We must be trusting and willing to receive what He has to offer, just like the little toddler needs to trust that his parents are giving him something good.  We do that by submitting ourselves to God.  We are filled only when we obey His instructions.

Instead of sampling just little meager bites and portions of God’s Word, we ought to devour whole “meals” every day.  “Open wide” so that we can “taste and see” that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).  Every need of ours will be fulfilled if only we believe and follow Him.

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