Psalm 81 begins with miracles of God’s deliverance and ends with more He longed to do—except.
Except He couldn’t.
Verses 11-12 tell us why, “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.”
God surrendered Israel to her sin. Let’s examine their disobedience and the consequences:
1. “My people would not listen to me.” Did Israel suffer from worldy distractions or selective hearing? Both end in disobedience. I see people plugged in today. To what are we listening? Does God’s voice stand a chance? Are we willing to silence the clamor and focus on the One? How’s your listening?
2. “Israel would not submit to me.” I can’t tell you how many times one of our kids asked for counsel, listened, and then did exactly what they wanted to do. It never ended well. Submission requires obedience—not just head acknowledgment, but heart application. How’s your doing?
3. “So I gave them over . . .” My NIV notes read, “Thus for God to abandon his people to their sin is the most fearful of punishments.” While Psalm 81:12 gives us the Reader’s Digest version, Romans 1 elaborates on the process—and it’s not pretty. Nothing is untouched: mind, body, spirit. Ravi Zaccharias said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” How’s your repenting?
Don’t let sin get so far that God surrenders you to it. Listen. Submit. Obey.
- Lead a blindfolded member of the family through an obstacle course. Have one person give directions while the others try to distract them. Talk about how to focus on God’s voice.
- Delayed obedience is disobedience. Establish a reward system for quick response times.
- Look at the end of Psalm 81:13-16. What did God’s people miss by choosing sin instead?