Today's Lectionary Text
Sing aloud to God our strength;
I hear a voice I had not known:
“But my people did not listen to my voice;
When God chose Israel to be His people, He made a covenant with them. He promised great blessings if they were true to His word, obeyed His commands, and remained faithful to him. He is the God who fought their battles in Egypt while under the ruthless Pharaoh. However, God also warned them of the consequences of disobedience and unbelief. He forewarned them about the afflictions that would follow if they wandered after foreign gods and backslid into apostasy.
God gave them the law, the feasts, the priesthood and the tabernacle to remind them of the special privileges of being His chosen nation. One of the annual feast days they were to celebrate was the Feast of Trumpets which not only reminded them of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, but of His promise to provide bountifully for their daily needs and satisfy them with good things.
God is not a hard taskmaster but a good and gracious Provider. The Psalmist called the people of Israel to rejoice in the God of their salvation and to dance and sing for joy to the Lord. He reminded them that the joy of the Lord was their strength. They were encouraged to shout joyfully to the God of Jacob as they blew their trumpets celebrating the annual feast at the time of the new moon...
"I am the LORD, am your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it."
In this verse, the people are reminded of who they are and what God has promised to do for them. God had proved His power many times in Egypt, as after the plague befell their cruel slave-masters. However, we see that as the Israelites set out on their journey to the Promised Land, the Lord tested their faithfulness along the way.
The same God who clothed the lilies of the valley and fed the wild birds guaranteed his people abundant blessings. All God wanted from His people was that they continued to heed His Word, trust His promises, obey His commands, and walk worthy of the privilege they enjoyed as His covenant nation History not only illustrates God's long-suffering mercy towards his people but also records Israel's ongoing infidelity and their incredible fall into apostasy, for we read, "But My people did not listen to my voice. Israel did not obey me -- so I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, to walk in their own devices." Psalm 81:11-12
God has these same expectations for us today. While God is not a hard taskmaster, he is a jealous God. He does not want us to share our lives with earthly and frivolous priorities. We are not to lust after the false gods and idols. Each one of can take time to examine how we live today and see what idols and earthly priorities we put before God. The Lord wants us to rejoice in our salvation and to honor him for that salvation. He wants us to rejoice in our redemption from the slave-market of sin, rejoice in him for having lifted us out of the miry clay, and pardoned all our iniquities. We must serve God and forsake the little gods we secretly cherish within our hearts.
Just as God promised to bless His people Israel and fill their mouths with good things, so He has given us all we need for life and godliness. He has clothed us in the righteousness of Christ and has promised to come again to take us to be with Himself.
--Rev. Ever V. Mudambanuki
Nebraska City UMC
Prayer for Reflection
Heavenly Father, thank you for your word and the truths it contains. Thank you for rescuing us from the bondage of sin and for your many precious promises of provision, which are all "Yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus my Savior. We widely open our mouths as you fill us with your goodness, mercy, and love. Amen.
This Week's Lectionary
This Week's Liturgical Color