A Psalm of Asaph
A Song for a Feast
1: Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. 2: Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. 3: Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. 4: For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob. 5: This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I heard a language that I understood not. 6: I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots. 7: Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah. 8: Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me; 9: There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. 10: I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. 11: But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. 12: So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels. 13: Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! 14: I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. 15: The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. 16: He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.
A Psalm of Asaph
The Lord is in Control
1: God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. 2: How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. 3: Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4: Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. 5: They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course. 6: I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. 7: But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. 8: Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
Today we are reading Psalm 81 & 82. In Psalm 81 Asaph speaks of God in the sanctuary. In the first part God calls on Israel to praise his name and listen to instruction. In the second part Asaph spells out the consequences of refusal to hear the Lord. In verse 1-3, Asaph calls upon Israel in the name of the Lord to sing, and to sing loud, to make a noise of joyful praise to the God of Israel. He says bring a Psalm and bring the timbrel a sort of shaking instrument and bring the beautiful harp with the psaltery. And they are to blow the trumpet at the first day of the new moon and they are to proclaim a solemn feast day. It was not to be a sombre thing but a serious thing. This is an opportunity for Israel to keep the law, all together. This day was ordained as a feast to the children of Israel when they were in Egypt. It was given when slavery was brought to an end. When Israel called on the Lord in the day of their trouble and the Lord delivered them. It was the Night of the Passover. This was a great day in Israel. Think about that. This was when the Lord gave his law to Israel. And the Psalmist reminds them of their deliverance and of their solemn duty to serve only the Lord. Then the Lord says BUT my people refused to hear my voice so I gave them up to the lusts of their minds and they lived by their own ways. If only my people had listened to me and lived as I had commanded them. I would have conquered all their enemies and fought against all their foes. The Lord would have fed them with the best wheat and the purest honey. In Psalm 82 Asaph brings a simple Psalm in which he begins and ends with a description of the Lord as the righteous Judge. He then between these ideas speaks of the Earthly judges who are indicted and condemned. And between these two ideas he speaks of the reason why they are condemned – which is that they give wrong judgment on the affairs of men, both negatively and positively. So he begins by saying that God stands in the assembly of the mighty and he judges among those who he has appointed as judges among men. God asks how long these human judges will judge unjustly and justify wicked and ungodly men. Think about that. Then the Lord gives instruction to these men he says, Defend the poor and orphans. Give justice to the afflicted and needy. Save the poor and needy and save them from the grip of wicked men. Then the Lord comments on these wicked judges, he says they do not understand and they are blind to the things of God. The whole world is out of kilter because of them. The Lord speaks to these judges saying you administer on behalf of God and you are all children of the MOST HIGH. But you will die like the ungodly and fall like one of the princes who opposed Moses. Then Asaph says, Arise O God judge the earth because you will inherit the nations. One cannot help but think that this Psalm has a prophetic message in the light of Matt 25.
- What is it that Asaph wants to sing about?
- How does God lament at Israels waywardness?
- What does God require of the righteous under the law?