Lent Devotional: Psalm 81:7-16

by Jonathan Haefs

Psalm 81:7-16 (click here)
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! (Psalm 81:8-13)

As a kid, I remember watching my grandparents VHS of “The Ten Commandments,” starring Charlton Heston as Moses. Even now, I can remember shaking my head at the Israelites building the golden calf at the base of Mount Sinai as I thought, “How can they forget all that God has done for them so quickly!”

I mean, they had seen him work incredible miracles and plagues that displayed his power over all the false gods of Egypt. They’d experienced the “impossible” as he led them out of slavery and literally parted the waters of the Red Sea to save them from Pharaoh. How could anyone forget such things so quickly?

But if I’m honest… I forget this quickly.

There have been times when the Lord has worked wonders in my life… parted seas… and within weeks, sometimes days, sometimes in the same day… I find myself living as if he’d never worked at all. I’ve forgotten… and I go after my own “golden calves.”

In Psalm 81, the Lord calls out for his people to remember! Why? Because they have forgotten him and gone after other gods. But, if they’ll remember who he is and what he has done it will put all these other “gods” in proper perspective. They will be seen for what they are… powerless… worthless… false.

So the Lord calls his people to remember that he brought them out of Egypt… that he saved them… that he alone is God and there is no other.

He calls them to remember past redemption for the sake of their present relationship!

But, the people will not listen. They harden their hearts by stopping up their ears to the word of the Lord.

Do we?

Do we harden our hearts by stopping up our ears to God’s Word? It is through the Word, through Scripture, that the Spirit most explicitly works to remind us of who God is and what he has done… how he has brought us out of the “Egypt” of slavery to sin and saved us through the red “sea” of his Son’s blood! And, it is only in remembering this Gospel that all other so-called “gods” are put into proper perspective.

Have you remembered the Gospel today? Have you recalled who God is and what he has done? You can remember! He can remind you! Open your Bible now… read… hear his voice! Hear the Gospel again so that you don’t forget who he is and who he has made you to be!

God desires to remind you! “Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!” (Psalm 81:13)

We can be a people so prone to forget… and this is why we are a people called to remember.

Take time right now to remember past redemption for the sake of your present relationship!

*All previous devotionals may be found at 
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.