Imagine working all day to fix a fine dinner for some special people in your life. The table is all set, all their favorite food is ready. You wait for their arrival, but they don’t show up. Later you learn they went and had hot dogs at someone else’s place instead of enjoying the nutritious feast you made just for them.
This is how I see God in Psalm 81. He longs to give Israel good things — to rescue them from their enemies — but they ignore God and seek other gods and desires that are not good for them. In 81:8 God said, “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you; O Israel, if you would listen to Me!” He wants them to be part of His household, to enjoy the good things he wants to give them. He reminds them of what he has done and what he wants to continue to do for them: “I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it (10).”
Even though God wants to provide for Israel a lavish feast, they reject Him. They refuse to obey God’s way and settle for other gods: “But My people did not listen to My voice, And Israel did not obey Me (11).” You can sense God yearning for them to follow him: “Oh that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways (13).” Because of their stubbornness, he leaves them to their own way: “So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, To walk in their own devices (12).”
God wants to give us good things. He wants to bless us with a lavish feast that satisfies us. Yet we grow impatient with God. We settle for things in this world that don’t satisfy, frequenting other beliefs that go against God. We settle for a hot dog that leaves us hungry and unsatisfied when we know in our heart that God wants to bless us with living water and a lavish feast that satisfies the longings of our heart.
“But I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” – Psalm 81:16