In this picture hummingbirds are trying to feed from the cup, but instead of drinking from the basin of the cup full of “nectar,” they are unsuccessfully attempting to sip it from between the fingers of my daughter’s hand. They were trying to feed in the only manner they knew. Their long narrow beaks were designed to sip nectar from flowers. They don’t know how to drink from an open cup. Fortunately, we recognized their dilemma and abandoned our attempt to feed them from our hand. However, we continued to be motivated to fill hummingbird feeders designed to match their feeding process. God knows what birds need to be nourished. He feeds them through nature as well as through us.
These birds testify to good news. God knows what you need, and He delivers. Distance is not an obstacle to Him. It doesn’t matter where you live. He can reach you. He sees you and knows every tiny, unique detail about your need. By examining Biblical accounts, it seems the needs of human souls are in an ever-developing flux of slavery and bondage, wilderness, or reaching the Promised Land. Psalm 81 talks about this flux and God’s flawless delivery service. “They,” God’s people, called, and He answered. He delivered.
“You called in distress and I delivered you….I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt (bondage, addiction, slavery.)
He delivers again when He acknowledges their need in a wilderness place (place of transition, barren, strange, hostile, lacking usual nourishment) and says, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.”
I am compelled to question myself at this observation. Do I believe God can soul-feed me when I am in a wilderness? It would seem from this Psalm that the nourished outcome of my life depends on my willingness to trust and believe. If so, God help my unbelief! Evidently, “God’s people” of the day this Psalm refers to, did not believe. The very next verse (verse 11) tells us this sad fact.
“But My people would not hearken to My voice, and Israel would have none of me.”
What might happen when we don’t listen to His voice? We might get our own way. How curious is this allowance? God letting you have what you strive after. That doesn’t sound so bad. The very thing He tells you is wrong for you, but you will not heed the warning, God allows and says so in verse 12….
“So I gave them up to their own heart’s lust and let them go after their own stubborn will, that they might follow their own counsels.”
So what? If I don’t listen to God I get to have my own way? Sounds good. Read on. Remember His delivery service? Having your own way means you miss out on what He would have delivered. Missing the good of what God would have done is one of the greatest unknown tragedies of human life. Also in verse 13, take note of the area where we are most likely to offend God when we encounter our wilderness—our tendency to stop listening, or stop obeying. Do we become deaf and stop walking in His ways when we are stressed?
Verse 13-14 tells us about the missed, speedy, and permanent delivery of God’s original plan.
“Oh that My People would listen to Me, that Israel (us) would walk in My ways!
Speedily then I would subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their adversaries.
Had Israel (us) listened to Me in Egypt, then those who hated the Lord (those opposing God) would have come cringing before Him, and their (those opposing God) defeat would have lasted forever.”
Wow! I never saw this before. God’s people were led out of Egypt, but that was not God’s first, second, third, fourth…. plan for them. I guess you could follow this sifting for God’s original plan all the way back to Adam and say, NONE of the effects of sin were God’s original plan for us. However, the words here indicate that at any moment in this unfortunate cycle of human tendency towards slavery, bondage, and wilderness, we can stop and turn to God and He will deliver just what we need.
Pretty good delivery service, don’t you think?
O, God! What plan number am I now living because I did not walk in Your way or heed Your voice? Help me to say “yes” to Your first plan for me. Give me the fortitude to stay there, God, in spite of a surrounding wilderness. If I get off the plan You have for me, help me to come running back. Teach me faithfulness, steadfastness, and good listening skills so I can hear Your voice clearly above the fray! Amen.
(For new readers, this is a Psalm blog. I have been blogging my way though the Psalms since last November. I read to find treasure verses I can use in my life. I ask God to show me what I need to see. My observations are certainly not All there is to these passages. Scholars can tell you so much more. I am merely a beggar looking for every day food, using ordinary means. Eventually that’s what Bible “feeding” must become in my life if I am to have a steady diet. I have to feed myself (with God’s help) in the ordinary days when no gourmet Bible chef is available.)