5 When God went out against Egypt,
he established it as a statute for Joseph.
I heard an unknown voice say:
6 “I removed the burden from their shoulders;
their hands were set free from the basket.
7 In your distress you called and I rescued you,
I answered you out of a thundercloud;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Psalm 81:5-8
After the Psalmist has called the people to look at the character of God and begin to worship and praise Him, the door opens for more praise. You see, when you begin to meditate on the character of God, experience His love, remember His grace, contemplate His mercy, consider His faithfulness, reflect upon His protection, ponder His provision, think about His goodness, deliberate His sufficiency, meditate upon His peace, glory in His strength! You can’t help but to remember all the times that He has manifested these character traits in your own life and praise, worship, and devotion becomes the outflow.
In verse 5, the Lord begins to recount the past of the Israelites. He reminds them of Egypt and how He brought them out of a land where they heard a language that they didn’t even understand. They were foreigners, aliens in a strange land. The Lord recalls how He removed their burden and set them free – took them out of bondage. The Psalmist is saying you’ve got something to sing about. You’re no longer bound, no more taskmasters, no more Pharaoh’s – you’ve got something to shout about. You are no longer bent over from the weight of those baskets, carrying those bricks – I set you free! I removed the yokes! You ought to be singing, shouting, praising, and worshiping Me, the One who did all that for you. The Lord is saying the things I have done on your behalf ought to be forever in your heart and mind – never to forget! I brought you out of Egypt and took care of your every need!
Remember the Red Sea, remember the rock that water poured from, remember how I guided you in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, remember? Remember how I fed you manna from heaven, remember how you rebelled and was stiff-necked? I tested you and you failed the test. I could have destroyed the entire nation but instead I kept my promises – remember? You’ve got something to sing about, something to shout about because I Am your God and your strength. I gave you birth, sustained you, and I Am with you now. You should have a taste for praise and worship. Selah! Pause and ponder that for a moment. Amen
The Word of God calls for us to do the same thing today – to Selah, to pause and ponder, to just look back over your life and remember the goodness of your God. We were in bondage ourselves, wrapped up, tangled up but it wasn’t in Jesus. David said in Psalm 51:5, surely, I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Galatians 3:22 declares the whole world is a prisoner of sin. Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is just no way of denying it – sin had us bound. Romans 6:23 tells us that sin demands a wage, and that wage is death. We were dead men walking in our sin, shame and guilt, too blind to even know – doomed to a certain hell, separated from the God who made us. That was our condition when God declared that I so love these people that I will give my only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Today is a good day to remember your history1 You know your story, you know the condition you were in when God drew you unto Himself, took the blinders off, loosed the shackles and paid your sin debt, redeemed you from the curse and set you free. May we never to forget and always remember…and give God praise.
The Lord encourages us to understand that we got something to sing about, we’ve got something to shout about, something to lift up holy hands about, surely there ought to be a taste for praise and worship! There ought to be a taste for submission, a taste for surrender, a taste for obedience, a taste for repentance, a taste for commitment, a taste for intimacy with the God who saved us, snatched us from the pit of hell and made us to be His children! Selah! Shout now, Hallelujah!