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81 The Lord makes us strong! Sing praises! Sing to Israel’s God!

Sing, accompanied by drums; pluck the sweet lyre and harp. Sound the trumpet! Come to the joyous celebrations at full moon, new moon, and all the other holidays. For God has given us these times of joy; they are scheduled in the laws of Israel. He gave them as reminders of his war against Egypt where we were slaves on foreign soil.

I heard an unknown voice that said, “Now I will relieve your shoulder of its burden; I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.” He said, “You cried to me in trouble, and I saved you; I answered from Mount Sinai[a] where the thunder hides. I tested your faith at Meribah, when you complained there was no water. Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings. O Israel, if you will only listen! You must never worship any other god, nor ever have an idol in your home.[b] 10 For it was I, Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Only test me![c] Open your mouth wide and see if I won’t fill it. You will receive every blessing you can use!

11 “But no, my people won’t listen. Israel doesn’t want me around. 12 So I am letting them go their blind and stubborn way, living according to their own desires.

13 “But oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths! 14 How quickly then I would subdue her enemies! How soon my hands would be upon her foes! 15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him; their desolation would last forever. 16 But he would feed you with the choicest foods. He would satisfy you with honey for the taking.”[d]


  1. Psalm 81:7 from Mount Sinai, implied; literally, “in the hiding place of thunder.”
  2. Psalm 81:9 nor ever have an idol in your home, literally, “There shall no foreign god be in you.”
  3. Psalm 81:10 Only test me, implied.
  4. Psalm 81:16 honey for the taking, literally, “honey out of the rock.”

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