Oh, That My People Would Listen to Me
To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.
Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
Raise a song; sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our feast day.
For it is a statute for Israel,
a rule of the God of Jacob.
He made it a decree in Joseph
when he went out over the land of Egypt.
I hear a language I had not known:
“I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I delivered you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
“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.”
In His mighty strength, He relieves, He frees, He delivers, He answers. In His powerful justice, He tests, admonishes, and He gives over to their (our) own ways. He will fill and feed, He will protect, He will satisfy. He is their (our) God. He loves us and will do anything for us that is in our best interest, even admonishing. We must learn. We must seek Him. We must listen. We must follow His ways and not ours.
This Psalm brings to mind all that is going on in the world today in the Middle East and in Israel. A world turning upside down. A time of change. Things are happening so quickly and for so many reasons. Many questions without answers.
For Israel, God is still calling them to listen, just as God calls me to listen.
“Listen”. shama` shä·mah’ שָׁמַע
to hear, listen to, obey
Israel is made up of two roots:
1. sarah sä·rä’ שָׂרָה
contend, have power, contend with, persist, exert oneself, persevere
2. ‘el āl אֵל
1) god, god-like one, mighty one
a) mighty men, men of rank, mighty heroes
c) god, false god, (demons, imaginations)
d) God, the one true God, Jehovah
2) mighty things in nature
3) strength, power
On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it shall grievously hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will come together against it. Zechariah 12:3
In the end, God prevails.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.” Zechariah 8:7-8
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” Zechariah 8:23
Oh Heavenly Father, may our hearts stay focused upon You. May we love, pray, help in ways we can the children of Israel. Please don’t allow us to be afraid and not stand up for them. May Israel listen and may their ears be ready to hear that the Messiah is here. Oh, what a glorious day when we are all with You, with Jesus. To shout for joy and sing a song aloud … All In His Wonderful Name, Amen.
** In the lines with the Hebrew, the first word is the “transliteration”, second is the pronunciation, and, of course, the final is the Hebrew.