Tuesday, July 12, 2022

I Am Yahweh (Psalm 81)

There shall be no foreign god among you; nor shall you worship any foreign god. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt” (Ps. 81:9–10).

Today we return to our study of the Psalms. In Psalm 81:8 God declares that He is the God of Israel, and He forbids them to worship other gods. Israel ought to be fully satisfied with the God who had purchased them to be His people. By making mention of the deliverance He had wrought for the people, God sets a bridle upon those whom He had taken under His protection. He binds them to His service and assures them that He has an abundant supply of blessings with which to satisfy their desires.

God employs three arguments to induce the Israelites to adhere exclusively to Him, and by which He shows them the depth of their wickedness in turning to strange gods. First, He calls Himself Yahweh (the LORD, the God of Israel). “By the word [Yahweh], He asserts His claim as God by nature, and declares that it is beyond the power of man to make new gods,” Calvin wrote. God proves Himself in delivering His people from Egypt, keeping the promise He had made to the fathers. God keeps His promises to His people just as He kept His promise to Abraham.

Second, God’s deliverance of Israel proved not only His truth in keeping His promise but His power. God often reminds us of His awesome power so we will offer Him the praise due Him.

Third, God offers Himself to Israel forever, “assuring them that provided they continue to persevere in the faith, He will be the same towards the children as He was to the fathers, His goodness being inexhaustible: Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it,” Calvin said. “He not only bids them open their mouth, but He magnifies the abundance of His grace still more highly, by intimating, that however enlarged our desires may be, there will be nothing wanting which is necessary to afford us full satisfaction.” When we give God His due, we experience the abundant blessings that pour forth from heaven. Yet if we deem God unable to satisfy our desires, we wickedly turn to foreign gods and forfeit the blessings of God.

God demands that our hope not be withdrawn to other objects, or that the praise of righteousness, salvation, and blessings be not transferred from Him to another. Only God, Yahweh, possesses a plenitude of all blessings with which to satisfy and fill us.

List some ways Christians can commit idolatry without even realizing it. In what ways are you guilty of putting your hope or trust in something besides God? How do God’s blessings strengthen you? Ask God to reveal any sins of idolatry in your life so you can repent and glorify Him.