When we come together to worship The Lord, it is a wonderful thing when He speaks to us. We gather with the expectation that we will hear from Him. Even though the message may not always be something we want to hear, we know it is something we need to hear. Sometimes God, the Holy Spirit will convict us of something in order to bring us closer to Him. That is the case with this Psalm of Asaph. The psalm begins by calling the people together for the Feast of Trumpets, a time of Sabbath rest, reflection, atonement, and celebration.
So Asaph called together the people of Israel in Verses 1-3.
“Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
2 Raise a song; sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our feast day.”
We shouldn’t have to be called together to remember God, to worship Him, or to praise Him. God called us to gather. He gave us His ordinances from the beginning. And in The New Covenant we understand the body must be a body united together, not each in our own solitary closet. God works through us together each with his function gift, and ministry edifying the whole ministry which is to glorify Christ, spread the Gospel, baptize, and make disciples. (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Yet, as was the case then and is the case now, sometimes we have to be reminded why we need to come together and celebrate our Lord, Jesus. Verses 4-7 read,
“For it is a statute for Israel,
a rule of the God of Jacob.
5 He made it a decree in Joseph
when he went out over the land of Egypt.
I hear a language I had not known:
6 “I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
7 In distress you called, and I delivered you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah”
The Lord delivered Israel out of the slavery of Egypt through the wilderness and to The Promised Land. Our Lord Jesus delivered us out of the slavery of sin, through the world and into Eternal Life. He promised salvation and He provided salvation. The Lord led Israel out of Egypt with a hope they had never known before, they were slaves and His promise was freedom. He spoke directly to them through Moses. Intimacy with God was not something they ever knew. Joseph had known it, Jacob had known it, and Abraham had known it but Israel forgot who they were when they were slaves in Egypt.
We didn’t know who we were when we were slaves either. God created us as His children but we didn’t know we were sons of God until we heard that strange language, the Holy Spirit calling us, convicting us, tugging at us to repent and allow Jesus to atone for our sins and be the sons of Abba. He called us out of slavery and said we could take off those heavy onerous and oppressive chains, we didn’t have to have the heavy burden of the cost of our sins anymore. Jesus paid that price. He gave us a new and lighter burden. Jesus said it this way in Matthew 11:28-30,
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Now we hear God speak to us intimately in a way we never believed possible before. We never knew the language before, but now we hear His voice in our hearts, in His Word, in the wind, in visions and dreams, in the countless little ways our Lord communicates with us. And sometimes he must tell us to repent, He must tell us we are in danger of putting unnecessary chains on, or He must discipline us.
God spoke to Israel and warned them to get rid of their false gods, their idols, and be faithful to Him as He was faithful to them. Verses 8-10 read,
“Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9 There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10 I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.”
He warns us to rid ourselves of the idols in our lives, those things we worship. Those things we commit our time to. What is it for you? Is it music, TV, a tablet, a phone, or other screen? Is it your child, your significant other, a celebrity, or some other person? Is it your ministry, career or bank account? We don’t have to seek people to satisfy us, entertainment to divert us, or money to provide for us. Jesus told us, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33). He reminded us that the most important of all the over 600 commandments is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And that with that is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” He said that every commandment, hinged on those two. (Matthew 22:-38-40).
If The Lord God is first, He will fill our mouths. He will not only satisfy us with provision but He will speak to us and even through us. We do not have to have an Old Testament prophet to hear from God. We can hear directly from Him. He has given some of us the gift of prophecy, but He can prophesy through any of us. (1 Corinthians 14:29-32). He even encourages us to ask for that gift. 1 Corinthians 14:1-5 reads,
“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.”
God speaks to us in many ways. We can be too stubborn to hear Him, we can choose to close our ears and hearts and ignore Him. And He will let us. We are not in slavery we have freedom to choose how we will act, where we will walk, and what we will say. God will let us. Verses 11-13 say,
“But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
13 Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!”
We are free not to listen to The Holy Spirit. We are at liberty not to follow Jesus. We are permitted not to obey The Father. But it is so much better and easier if we do. Verses 14-16 tell us,
“I would soon subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes.
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him,
and their fate would last forever.
16 But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
We do not have to fight the enemy alone. God has already fought Him and won. We have God always with us, always meeting our needs. We have the Body of Christ with us and our gifts together give us everything we need in the battles. We have God, our Father, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit our Armor, our Shield, our Light, and Deliverer.
When we hear God and when we allow God to speak through our mouths and lives the enemy cringes, he recoils and those in slavery to him have a chance at freedom in Christ.
God speaks to us intimately and in ways that we each understand, we only have to listen, submit, and be courageous enough to speak. When we come together His message is even clearer and He can utilize each of our gifts to communicate through us to one another, and to the lost.