“Sing aloud to God our strength!” Asaph called the Lord’s people to worship. Israel was to “shout for joy” and use musical instruments and their own voices in exuberant praise of God. The Lord commanded His people to gather together for worship according to a calendar that He established. Why would they ever think that this commandment could be safely ignored?
The Lord reminded His nation that He had freed them from Egypt. They were once enslaved in a land where the people spoke a language that Yahweh refused to hear. The Almighty would hear the Hebrews, but He would not listen to the Egyptians.
The God of Israel had relieved the burdens of His people. Even after He brought them out of bondage, He remained involved in their lives. When they needed water and food in the wilderness, it was the Lord who provided for them. He also gave them laws, and He tested their devotion to Him.
What was Yahweh looking for? He demanded that they give Him the exclusive worship that He well-deserved. Yet even after He had rescued them with such great acts of deliverance, His people continued to call upon the names of other gods. These foreign deities had not helped the descendants of Jacob. Nonetheless, the Lord’s people were continually enticed by the lure of spiritual adultery. They would not be fully committed to the only true God.
“Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” But Israel would not obey God. They would not submit to His commandments. Therefore the Lord gave them over to their own ways. If they had only obeyed His voice, He would have speedily defeated all of their adversaries. He would have given them the “finest wheat” and “honey from the rock.” Yet they would not submit to Him as Father and Lord.
Would their persistent disobedience entirely thwart God’s plan of grace? Far from it. The God of heaven and earth would one day send His own Son to provide the obedience that His chosen people lacked. Not only would Jesus die for the sins of His beloved children, He would grant to them new hearts by His Holy Spirit. Now the church throughout the world is called to hear the Word of Christ, and to follow the King. They will be characterized not by their stubborn resistance to His commands, but by heartfelt worship and obedience. They will be known by the fruits that come from His powerful saving grace.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Great God, we should praise You with fullness of joy and expectation. You have redeemed us out of the greatest distress. We should listen to You completely. Why should there be strange gods among us? Why do we not follow Your commandments? You have great blessings planned for us, even through times of trouble. Will we still continue to deny You?