The Message

Psalm 81

An Asaph Psalm

11-5 A song to our strong God!
    a shout to the God of Jacob!
Anthems from the choir, music from the band,
    sweet sounds from lute and harp,
Trumpets and trombones and horns:
    it’s festival day, a feast to God!
A day decreed by God,
    solemnly ordered by the God of Jacob.
He commanded Joseph to keep this day
    so we’d never forget what he did in Egypt.

I hear this most gentle whisper from One
I never guessed would speak to me:

6-7 “I took the world off your shoulders,
    freed you from a life of hard labor.
You called to me in your pain;
    I got you out of a bad place.
I answered you from where the thunder hides,
    I proved you at Meribah Fountain.

8-10 “Listen, dear ones—get this straight;
    O Israel, don’t take this lightly.
Don’t take up with strange gods,
    don’t worship the latest in gods.
I’m God, your God, the very God
    who rescued you from doom in Egypt,
Then fed you all you could eat,
    filled your hungry stomachs.

11-12 “But my people didn’t listen,
    Israel paid no attention;
So I let go of the reins and told them, ‘Run!
    Do it your own way!’

13-16 “Oh, dear people, will you listen to me now?
    Israel, will you follow my map?
I’ll make short work of your enemies,
    give your foes the back of my hand.
I’ll send the God-haters cringing like dogs,
    never to be heard from again.
You’ll feast on my fresh-baked bread
    spread with butter and rock-pure honey.”

New International Reader's Version

Psalm 81

Psalm 81

For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of Asaph.

Sing joyfully to God! He gives us strength.
    Give a loud shout to the God of Jacob!
Let the music begin. Play the tambourines.
    Play sweet music on harps and lyres.

Blow the ram’s horn on the day of the New Moon feast.
    Blow it again when the moon is full and the Feast of Booths begins.
This is an order given to Israel.
    It is a law of the God of Jacob.
He gave it as a covenant law for the people of Joseph.
    It was given when God went out to punish Egypt.
    There I heard a voice I didn’t recognize.

The voice said, “I removed the load from your shoulders.
    I set your hands free from carrying heavy baskets.
You called out when you were in trouble, and I saved you.
    I answered you out of a thundercloud.
    I tested you at the waters of Meribah.

“My people, listen and I will warn you.
    Israel, I wish you would listen to me!
Don’t have anything to do with the gods of other nations.
    Don’t bow down and worship any god other than me.
10 I am the Lord your God.
    I brought you up out of Egypt.
    Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.

11 “But my people wouldn’t listen to me.
    Israel wouldn’t obey me.
12 So I let them go their own stubborn way.
    I let them follow their own sinful plans.

13 “I wish my people would listen to me!
    I wish Israel would live as I want them to live!
14 Then I would quickly bring their enemies under control.
    I would use my power against their attackers.
15 Those who hate me would bow down to me in fear.
    They would be punished forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest wheat.
    I would satisfy you with the sweetest honey.”