Psalm 81:11-16

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by: FCC Staff

08/05/2022

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“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes. Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever. But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”  Psalm 81:11-16

There are a series of scenes in the animated movie, “The Emperor’s New Groove” where one of the characters, Kronk, is visited by a shoulder angel on one side and a shoulder devil on the other.  These shoulder visitors pop up at the moments in Kronk’s journey when a decision needs to be made.  You know how it works. The shoulder angel tries to convince Kronk to do the right thing, while the shoulder devil tries his hardest to convince him to do the opposite.   At one point, the shoulder devil tells Kronk, “Don’t listen to that guy, he’s trying to lead you down the path of righteousness.  I’m gonna lead you down the path that rocks!”  

You’ve probably never had an actual devil or angel pop up on your shoulder and talk to you, but the decision-making process for us can seem a bit like those scenes from the movie.   Life is full of competing voices trying to get us to act according to the truths that they adhere to.  Competing voices have always been a part of the human experience. Think back to the very first pages of the Bible, where in Genesis chapter 2 we read about the voice of God speaking to Adam and Eve in the garden.  What happens in chapter 3?  Another voice is introduced; the voice of the serpent.  Competing voices.  We all know what resulted from that conversation. The wrong voice was obeyed.

Our Psalm today starts out repeating that same sad truth. God says “…my people did not listen to my voice.” (verse 11) This is many years after the initial disobedience in the garden, and also after many, many occasions of disobedience by God’s people.   A good percentage of scripture is dedicated to God encouraging people to listen to His voice, warning against listening to competing voices, and calling people to repentance when they do.  This struggle always has been, and continues to be, a significant reality for us. Why is it so hard to get right?

The answer is given in verse 12 of this same Psalm.  The troubles don’t stem from a hearing problem, a thinking problem, or a comprehension problem.  It’s stubborn hearts that are the problem!  Listening to God consistently would be easier if it were a thinking or comprehension problem.   It is very easy to reason that we should listen to God, because most of the time God tells us what will happen if we obey (good things) and what will happen if we disobey (bad things).   Reason and logic will always tell us that we want the good things that God offers, but our stubborn hearts throw reason and logic to the wind and lead us down wrong paths.

A soft, humble, and submissive heart is what God wants from us and ultimately what will allow us to choose on a consistent basis the correct voice to follow.  God knows what is in our hearts and it is important that WE also acknowledge what is in our own hearts.  This is the first step in being able to listen and obey the voice of God.   Examine your heart today, give it over to God and make it your daily routine to work on keeping it soft and pure before God.   

Prayer for Today:

God, thank You for creating us, loving us, pursuing us and talking with us.   Thank You for speaking words of truth to us and speaking words of promise to us.  Help me to avoid the mistakes of the past by maintaining a right heart before You so that I may be able to listen and obey Your desires.   Amen.

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“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes. Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever. But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”  Psalm 81:11-16

There are a series of scenes in the animated movie, “The Emperor’s New Groove” where one of the characters, Kronk, is visited by a shoulder angel on one side and a shoulder devil on the other.  These shoulder visitors pop up at the moments in Kronk’s journey when a decision needs to be made.  You know how it works. The shoulder angel tries to convince Kronk to do the right thing, while the shoulder devil tries his hardest to convince him to do the opposite.   At one point, the shoulder devil tells Kronk, “Don’t listen to that guy, he’s trying to lead you down the path of righteousness.  I’m gonna lead you down the path that rocks!”  

You’ve probably never had an actual devil or angel pop up on your shoulder and talk to you, but the decision-making process for us can seem a bit like those scenes from the movie.   Life is full of competing voices trying to get us to act according to the truths that they adhere to.  Competing voices have always been a part of the human experience. Think back to the very first pages of the Bible, where in Genesis chapter 2 we read about the voice of God speaking to Adam and Eve in the garden.  What happens in chapter 3?  Another voice is introduced; the voice of the serpent.  Competing voices.  We all know what resulted from that conversation. The wrong voice was obeyed.

Our Psalm today starts out repeating that same sad truth. God says “…my people did not listen to my voice.” (verse 11) This is many years after the initial disobedience in the garden, and also after many, many occasions of disobedience by God’s people.   A good percentage of scripture is dedicated to God encouraging people to listen to His voice, warning against listening to competing voices, and calling people to repentance when they do.  This struggle always has been, and continues to be, a significant reality for us. Why is it so hard to get right?

The answer is given in verse 12 of this same Psalm.  The troubles don’t stem from a hearing problem, a thinking problem, or a comprehension problem.  It’s stubborn hearts that are the problem!  Listening to God consistently would be easier if it were a thinking or comprehension problem.   It is very easy to reason that we should listen to God, because most of the time God tells us what will happen if we obey (good things) and what will happen if we disobey (bad things).   Reason and logic will always tell us that we want the good things that God offers, but our stubborn hearts throw reason and logic to the wind and lead us down wrong paths.

A soft, humble, and submissive heart is what God wants from us and ultimately what will allow us to choose on a consistent basis the correct voice to follow.  God knows what is in our hearts and it is important that WE also acknowledge what is in our own hearts.  This is the first step in being able to listen and obey the voice of God.   Examine your heart today, give it over to God and make it your daily routine to work on keeping it soft and pure before God.   

Prayer for Today:

God, thank You for creating us, loving us, pursuing us and talking with us.   Thank You for speaking words of truth to us and speaking words of promise to us.  Help me to avoid the mistakes of the past by maintaining a right heart before You so that I may be able to listen and obey Your desires.   Amen.

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