(Our two-part study with Psalm 81 is available here)
Twice in this Psalm we read of God’s desire for Israel to hearken unto him, once in verse 8: “O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me” and again in verse 13: “Oh that my people had hearkened unto me and Israel had walked in my ways!”.
For God’s elect, this desire of God is understood to be spoken of in a rhetorical way, because we are persuaded (Rom 8:38-39) that God alone is the one who is allowing the hearts of man today to be hardened so that they cannot hearken unto Him as these verses witness to (Eze_36:26-27 , Eze_11:19 , Mat_23:37).
Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Eze 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Eze 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Eze 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
This persuasion in our spirits of (Rom 8:38) is a gift from God, and Psalms 81 focuses on how God takes the bitter waters of our life, which are unbelieving and doubtful, and changes them into living waters that flow forth from out of our bellies as Christ said they would (Joh 7:37-38).
This Psalm looks at how those life giving waters or bread of life are stored up in the life of His people (Gen 41:48). There must be famine of the word in our own life, and then a recognition of our need for that life (Luk 15::17 , Mat 4:4).
Gen 41:48 And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same.
Luk 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
It is through that process of much tribulation through this life that the bitter waters are made sweet at the hand of our Creator as the bride of Christ makes herself ready by filling up what is behind of the afflictions of Christ (Rev 19:7 , Col 1:24).
Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
The webinars, mp3 recordings and study notes for each of these 2 one-hour studies can be viewed here.