It was I, the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. — Psalm 81:10
G. K. Chesterton, one of Britain’s great writers, was of the opinion that an open mind is like an open mouth: It is only useful when closed on something of substance. Sadly, some people only seem to open their mouths in order to put their feet in them.
The psalm writer had a better idea. He exhorted the people in the name of the Lord, “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things” (Psalm 81:10). The instruction was given in the context of a religious celebration. The people of God were “required by the laws of Israel” to participate in “a sacred feast when the moon is new, when the moon is full” (81:3-4). The purpose of the regular cycle of feasts and celebrations was to remind the people about what God had done in the experiences of their forefathers, so that they would remember who the Lord is and not deviate from His ways.
The Lord never tired of reminding his people, “It was I, the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt” (81:10). And He found it necessary to give them “stern warnings” constantly telling them, “You must never have a foreign god” (81:8, 9). But tragically, the history of the people was full of examples of willful disobedience. The Lord said sadly, “But no, my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want me around” (81:11).
The feasts and festivals were factored into the life of the nation, to bring them back to basics and to stir their hearts to worship and obedience. But there was something about God’s people that periodically caused them to refuse to believe that their security and joy rested in the Lord. They found other ways of living, more to their liking. So they had to be brought back repeatedly to a position of remembering God.
It was in that position that they were told to open their mouths wide. This certainly referred to them joining in singing “praises to God” (81:1)—a practice that warms the coldest heart and cheers the downcast spirit. But it also meant that they should “open their mouths,” spiritually speaking, to feed on the truth being presented to them and inwardly digest the Good News of God’s salvation.
Unlike ancient Israel, the law of our land does not legislate regular worship. But the most fundamental spiritual law insists that regular worship is necessary for all-around well-being. And it is not burdensome—in fact, regular worship is like being fed with “the best of foods” (81:16). It tastes good! It is something on which to close an open mouth.
For further study: Psalm 81
Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.