Read Psalm 81
When I was around 13, Psalm 81 had a great impact on me.
My father was a new convert.
We used to attend the Bethany Presbyterian Church.
Mrs. Maria José, the wife of Reverend Antônio Elias, was reading the Psalm.
It was early in the morning…
I was impressed by God’s tone of voice in the Psalm.
Ah! If my people would but listen to me…
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it…
Ah! If my people would follow my ways…
How quickly would I subdue their enemies!
Those who hate me would cringe before my people…
I would feed them with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy them.
I was thoughtful.
I talked to my parents.
I talked to Mrs. Maria José and Rev. Antônio Elias.
For sure they still remember.
The Psalm really got into me.
Today it sounds much the same to me.
Only the subtleness of the perception has changed.
But I’m still impressed by God’s tone in the Psalm.
First He speaks of the way he took care of His people by leading them out of Egypt, liberating them from the burden of oppression.
Then He starts saying His prayers to the people!
What always impresses me the most is this God who says prayers to His people; this God who speaks as if He needed them; this God who sighs with those exclamatory “Ahs!”…
And the promises that follow are even more serious.
If, if, if…
I, I, I…
And it’s God speaking!
And all those who recognize themselves as His people are supposed to answer.
It’s impressing, too, that “land flowing with milk and honey” is no great shakes!
It’s a desert.
Canada is better. No to mention Brazil.
However, God is not offering the best land on the Planet.
He’s offering the Presence that makes wheat grow even in the desert.
He’s offering the Presence that makes the finest honey flow from any rock.
So the God who says prayers to His people is telling us:
When you call on me, I listen and answer.
Why do you only want me while under oppression?
Do you only want to be my people when in bondage?
What a shame you only know me when in trouble.
How painful this is to me!
Am I only useful to get you out of trouble?
When you hear my love sighs, will you ever respond to me as I respond to you?
Or haven’t you realized that my interest in you is that of the One who loves and can see that your poverty comes from the fact that you only seek me when you’re at the edge of the precipice?
I want to be the God of abundance for you, too!
I want you to know me as the God of Peace!
I want you to experience me as the God who doesn’t need the help of the earth or the circumstances in order to make the miracle.
I led you through the desert. Why couldn’t I give you the finest wheat on whatever ground, and give you sweetness even if rocks need to outpour honey to that end?
I do try…
But your mouths are closed to my provision.
The divine voice echoes one message:
You are like that because you want a custom-made God.
If that is the case, follow your own paths and find your own solutions!
However, if you’re willing, mind you: The tongue of your souls will taste that which is Good.
When I was a boy…
Now that I’m a man…
Well, not much has changed in this regard.
I’m still impressed by God’s prayer.
As for me, more than ever, I want to open my mouth; I want to follow His ways; I want Him to give me the ground of His will; I want Him to keep me from going on according to my own advice to myself!
I want to be a gentle, peaceful answer to this wonderful prayer of God!
From the original “A ORAÇÃO DE DEUS”
Translated by F. R. Castelo Branco | August 2007
Scripture quotations are taken or adapted from the NIV