Do you find it hard to trust God when you’re going through difficult times? Who doesn’t! Back in the day, Israel would have been so much better off had they trusted and obeyed God. It’s a lesson for us today. Let’s dig in…
Sing praises to God, our strength.
Sing to the God of Jacob.
2 Sing! Beat the tambourine.
Play the sweet lyre and the harp.
3 Blow the ram’s horn at new moon,
and again at full moon to call a festival!
4 For this is required by the decrees of Israel;
it is a regulation of the God of Jacob.
5 He made it a law for Israel
when he attacked Egypt to set us free.
I heard an unknown voice say,
6 “Now I will take the load from your shoulders;
I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.
7 You cried to me in trouble, and I saved you;
I answered out of the thundercloud
and tested your faith when there was no water at Meribah. Interlude (Selah — pause and refelct)
8 “Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings.
O Israel, if you would only listen to me!
9 You must never have a foreign god;
you must not bow down before a false god.
10 For it was I, the Lord your God,
who rescued you from the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.
11 “But no, my people wouldn’t listen.Psalm 81 NLT
Israel did not want me around.
12 So I let them follow their own stubborn desires,
living according to their own ideas.
13 Oh, that my people would listen to me!
Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths!
14 How quickly I would then subdue their enemies!
How soon my hands would be upon their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him;
they would be doomed forever.
16 But I would feed you with the finest wheat.
I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock.”
What if You Trusted God?
I turn to the good folks at Spoken Gospel for insight…
Psalm 81 was meant to be sung during the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Psalm 81:3). This feast calls all of Israel to remember the power and provision of God when he led them out of slavery in Egypt and guided them through the wilderness (Psalm 81:1-2). God personally removed their heavy burdens (Psalm 81:6). So every year all of Israel stops to remember the story of how God rescued and provided for them (Psalm 81:4-5; Leviticus 16:29-34).
But the Feast of Tabernacles also remembers how God tested Israel and how they failed. Right after God rescued his people from Egypt and spoke in thunder from the top of Mt. Sinai, God tested them for several days in the wilderness without water (Psalm 81:7). And this test was supposed to teach them to trust that he would always provide for them (Psalm 81:8-9). But after arriving at a place called Meribah, Israel wished they could go back to Egypt. They even accused God of rescuing them just so he could kill them in the desert (Numbers 20:1-13). But then, God miraculously split open a dry rock, made water gush out of it, and provided for them (Psalm 81:10). But after receiving this provision, Israel kept stubbornly rejecting and doubting God’s goodness. They failed the test (Psalm 81:11-12).
The psalmist warns them not to repeat the mistakes of their past as they celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Israel must trust and obey her God, and if they do, God will not hand them over to stubborn hearts (Psalm 81:13-14). Instead, he will rescue them like he did before and give them the finest foods and drinks (Psalm 81:15-16).
Where is the Gospel?
God’s provision of water in the desert became central to celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. By the time Jesus was an adult, each day of this week-long festival was marked by a parade. The priests of Israel would gather gallons of water from a nearby pool and parade it through the streets of Jerusalem. Once they arrived at the temple, a large crowd would watch as the water was poured on the altar as a reminder that God still provides for his people.
And it’s exactly at this moment that Jesus stands up in the temple courtyard and says that the water they’re pouring out and the provision they’re celebrating are about him (John 7:1-44). The hearts of God’s people are still as stubborn and dry as rocks, but if they come to him, he will strike and turn their stubborn hearts so that they flow with willing and joyful trust in God’s provision (John 7:37). Jesus exposes that while Moses quenched a nation’s thirst he did not change their hearts. So, Jesus announces that he has come to transform the hearts of God’s people like Moses never could. Jesus hasn’t come to pass out cups of water, but to make the rocky hearts of God’s people trust that God will always provide (John 7:38).
Like Israel in the desert, all humans are stubborn and ungrateful, especially when it seems as if God is testing us. But Jesus promises that if we come to him, he will transform our doubts and stubbornness into trust and obedience. And like the rock that satisfied the thirst of a stubborn Israel, Jesus also promises that our once-rocky hearts will stream with living water for the benefit and transformation of the stubborn and rock-hearted around us. So, come to Jesus. Let him make waters flow from you so that you may trust God for the good of others.Spoken Gospel
Are YOU too stubborn and ungrateful to Trust God?
Pastor Sandy Adams pulls it all together…
Blessings untold could’ve belonged to Israel if they’d just walked in God’s ways. Instead they bristled up in stubbornness and rebellion – and limited God. You can sum up their history in two words, “blown opportunities.”Pastor Sandy Adams
Unfortunately, for Israel, hindsight is 20-20. Moreover, they’re still not putting their complete trust in God. Consequently, God has to keep reminding Israel that all they have to is to trust Him. Generations later, the Israelis have forgotten what God did for them in the past. Currently, it’s a very secular nation. Undeniably, what happened on Oct. 7, 2023, has brought many secular Jews back to God. I pray that they put their complete trust in Him and not government entities or foreign powers. I pray they get back to reading what we call the Old Testament and turn back to God.
7 I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.Jeremiah 24:7 NLT
What about you?
“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”John 4:13-14 NLT
Jesus quenches our spiritual thirst — something the world can’t ever do! Personally, I spent over 30 years of my life looking to quench my spiritual thirst in the world. It got me nowhere. In fact, the song I have embedded below, “Running Home” describes my life perfectly. I’m so grateful for His salvation. I am filled!
Are you thirsty?
Jesus is waiting to fill you to overflowing and quench your spiritual thirst through His Salvation! Here’s what you need to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.