If my people would only listen to me,
if Israel would only follow my ways,
how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
Like most children, I was often compelled to challenge my parents' authority. Surely, the consequences wouldn't be that bad! And, after all, wouldn't I know what was best for me? Now that I am a parent, I realize how much frustration my actions caused my parents. How much pain and trouble could I have avoided had I only listened to their wisdom and trusted their guidance?
In Psalm 81, God is speaking to us as a parent would to his children. You can almost hear the frustration as He reminds them of all He has done for them, removing their burdens, rescuing them when they called to Him in distress. Yet, the Israelites continue to questions and turn away from God, perhaps thinking they know better and can do it on their own. And, because God wants us to worship and obey Him willingly, He allows them their rebellion. Their subsequent suffering is the natural result of their choices.
Yet, in spite of Israel's rebellion, God's promise is still in place. God's path is always there for us to return to, and He will always welcome us back with loving, open arms. And, while we can't change the past, we can do our best to change the future by remaining faithful to God and His timing.
By listening and obeying . . .
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~Matthew 6:33-34
Assistant to Minister of Families and Children
Psalms 119:97-120 or 81, 82