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The Feast of Trumpets the basis for Psalm 81 September 28, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Promises of God, Psalms, Religion, Sermons.



Psalm 81

The trumpet was an important part of the life of Israel. It was used to call the people to gather and to break camp and move out. It was also to sound the alarm or the call to battle. The first day of every month it was sounded to remind the people of the victories that God had won for them. On the first day of the seventh month, a feast was celebrated which was marked by the constant blowing of trumpets. Psalm 81 was probably written on the occasion of that feast and lays out for us the truths that the blowing of the trumpets should remind them.

The blowing of the trumpets reminds us that God’s response to our need demands a joyful response from us (verses 1-7). The first three verses are a call to worship. This call to worship is not the call to be still and know God. The assumption is that the listeners already know God and know His works and they are called to shout with joy, to sing at the top of their lungs about the strength of the LORD.

The noise of joy is God’s command to His people (verses 1-4). In verses 3-4 we see they were supposed to come at a specific time and in a specific way for the purpose of praising the LORD. It is these two verses that indicate that this Psalm might have been used at the Feast of Trumpets. It was a day on which all day long the trumpets were to be blown, reminding His people that they every victory that they have ever won was through Him. To rejoice in victory in our worship is commanded. It is not an option. We sometimes desire a specific feeling before we worship but that is not the way of God. Spurgeon once said, “Obedience is to direct our worship, not whim and sentiment.”

We live in an age when people do not want to be forced to do anything. Don’t force us to pray, don’t force us to endure evangelism courses, don’t force us to sing songs that we don’t like, don’t force us to shake hands and greet people, don’t force us to give, don’t force us to be baptized and join the church, don’t force us to be regular in church, don’t force us to sacrifice for others, don’t force us…don’t force us…don’t force us…

Is it any wonder that we do not feel like worshiping when we come to church? Our slackness to obey God is proof that our heart is not in it. Yet, we are commanded to rejoice and in this case, to do it loudly, with bombast and fireworks, with shouts and song.

Joy testifies to God’s response to our need (verses 5-7). God does not command joy simply for the sake of joy. There is a purpose behind it. In this psalm we find that the joy of the people of God is a witness of God’s work in the lives of His people.

When they needed deliverance from the hand of their foreign taskmasters, He set the free (verses 5b-7a).

When they needed to learn that He would care for them, He gave them a lesson in God’s provision at Meribah, the like of which had never been seen before (verse 7b with Exodus 17:1-6).

God’s Response to our Need demands an obedient response to God’s Word (verses 8-16).

God’s unique claim on His people (verses 8-10).

Because God had delivered them from the foreigner, they needed to understand that their God was superior to all other gods and that He alone was to be worshiped, bowed down to, submitted to.

Because God had proven that He could supply their need, they needed to come to Him with their needs, expecting God to satisfy them.

Stubbornness prevents obedience (verses 11-12). They would not listen to God. The last part of verse 11 says that they were not willing to have Him as their only God. Why? They were stubborn. They followed the dictates of their own heart.

Deuteronomy 29:19 “and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’ ––as though the drunkard could be included with the sober.” Jeremiah 7:24 puts it this way, the one who follows the dictates of his own heart instead of the Word of God, is walking backwards rather than forwards.

There are only two possible responses (verses 13-16).

The deceitful response of the wicked cannot stand (verses 14-15). Sometimes the response of the wicked is blatant. Often though it is subtle and even appears moral, appears to be the way of God but if a man is not guided by God’s Word, he is God’s enemy and is in rebellion against God.

The clearest example we have of this type of attitude is found in Joshua 7:11. When God destroyed Jericho, He told the Israelites not to take anything of the goods of Jericho. It was the first fruit of their battles, the accursed thing, and the booty that was not burned belonged to the LORD. One man, Achan, disobeyed. He took a Babylonish garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and fifty shekels of gold. Then he buried them in the ground under his tent.

Here is what God had to say about Achan’s actions, “Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff.” Achan pretended to be obedient but was not truly obedient.

The God of strength who is praised in verse one reacts to such deception with a show of His strength. His enemies, his adversaries, those who hate Him while pretending to serve Him will be subdued, their fate is sealed forever.

The guide of the righteous is God’s Word (verses 13, 16).

Verse 13 echoes the importance of walking in God’s ways. Verse 16 points out what the righteous receive that the wicked miss out on. Satisfaction! With submission comes satisfaction. With stubbornness of heart comes leanness of the soul. Do you go to bed content and satisfied or do you go to bed longing for that missing something. Jesus Christ offers that satisfaction but it only comes through total submission to Him.

Conclusion: The Old Testament prophet Isaiah once called to Judah to satisfy their hunger and thirst with the things that money cannot buy. He cried out to his people, “Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”

By the time of Christ, however, many had forgotten this call. They had learned how to be good. They had learned to keep the commandments. They had in their minds learned to be righteous. They thought that they were full. They had pretended submission to God to such a point that they were self-deceived. Jesus says, however, it is not those who keep the rules outwardly who will be filled with righteousness but those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, those who obey and worship God. In fact, in another place Jesus said, “Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger” (Luke 6:25).

Are you full or are you hungry? The question is answered not by how you feel but by what satisfies you. Are you satisfied in Christ or do you feel the need to keep certain rules to be satisfied spiritually? Is He the one in whom you find spiritual satisfaction or do you seek some experience to fill that void in your life that only Christ can fill? Keeping rules will not do it. An experience cannot fulfill. You must trust Christ as Savior.





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