Studies in Psalms – Psa 81:9-16 “Proved At The Waters of Meribah” – Part 2

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Psa 81:9-16 “Proved at the waters of Meribah” – Part 2

Num 20:13, Exo 15:23-24

The emphasis of last week’s study was about how obedience to God’s word keeps us spiritually healthy by keeping us of the same mind, which is what fulfills God’s joy.

Php 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Php 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Mat 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. [right now in earnest Eph 1:14, 1Co 13:12].

Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words[Rev 1:3]: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

The shadowy character in the back of Rembrandt’s painting of the prodigal son returning reminds me of how at some point in our life we cannot see how this son of God who is being received is covered by the love of the father. Neither can this character see that God has given this prodigal son a contrite and broken heart which has brought him into the light of a right relationship where he is being washed by the light of Christ. When we don’t have this mind of Christ to bear each other’s burden, we are blinded to what is really happening around us, and just as the brother whose heart had no compassion or desire to do what the father was doing to the prodigal son, so Christ’s disciples at first could not see the need to tend to Christ’s body, which is where we all start.

1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Isa 66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

Luk 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Luk 15:8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
Luk 15:9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
Luk 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Luk 7:44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

Joh 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

This may have not been the intention of Rembrandt when he painted this masterpiece, but if you look closely, you see that the father’s left hand is stronger looking with a more delicate right hand, which I expect should symbolize the church is on the right hand, and both hands are gently placed on the prodigal son’s back which can serve to remind us that we are part of the reconciliation process with God the Father and Christ. [Example of the picture by Rembrandt is here]

2Co 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

2Ti 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

The other brother is looking on from the left side of the father in the painting and is turned sideways. His hands are clasped, and he looks unreceiving, in contrast to the father’s hands that are open and embracing. There are many other symbols in this painting which are centered around the story of the prodigal son. It is, after all, an interpretation of something that was never seen accept for those who were there at the time. Regardless, there is powerful imagery that can be connected to the word of God (Luk 15:11-32). The mature Christ, who we want to be, is represented by the father who is washing the feet of his son in receiving his once lost son, and he is sheltering him from the evil glares and darkness of the world around them all.

Joh 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Darkness represents many things, but in this particular painting and story in God’s word, the emphasis is on the ignorance of those who can’t understand the depth of the father’s love and the singleness of mind that is being formed through forgiveness and compassion, which we have all been blessed to recieve and are receiving through Christ and his body. What we know to be true is that we are every character in this story of the prodigal son, and the most important Being in the picture, who is invisible, is God the Father who is working all the details of all of His creation according to the counsel of His own will.

1Co 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

Mat 18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

Mat 18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
Mat 18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

Heb 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

This second part of our two-part study looks at the miracle of our being called and chosen by God and how God delivers us from the worshiping of strange gods in Egypt, which symbolizes the world we are in both within and without.

In order for us to have the singleness of mind which we need to be one healthy body, we must be blessed to be loved of God in this age as He calls his sons and daughters out of Egypt.

1Jn 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Rom 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Rom 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Hos 11:1 When Israel was a childH5288, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

Hos 1:11 Then shall the childrenH1121 of Judah and the childrenH1121 of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head [1Co 11:3], and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of JezreelH3157.

H5288The word child of Hos 11:1

From H5287; (concretely) a boy (as active), from the age of infancy to adolescence; by implication a servant; also (by interchange of sex), a girl (of similar latitude in age): – babe, boy, child, damsel [from the margin], lad, servant, young (man).

H1121 The word children of Hos 1:11

From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H1, H251, etc.): – + afflicted, age, [Ahoh-] [Ammon-] [Hachmon-] [Lev-]ite, [anoint-]ed one, appointed to, (+) arrow, [Assyr-] [Babylon-] [Egypt-] [Grec-]ian, one born, bough, branch, breed, + (young) bullock, + (young) calf, X came up in, child, colt, X common, X corn, daughter, X of first, + firstborn, foal, + very fruitful, + postage, X in, + kid, + lamb, (+) man, meet, + mighty, + nephew, old, (+) people, + rebel, + robber, X servant born, X soldier, son, + spark, + steward, + stranger, X surely, them of, + tumultuous one, + valiant[-est], whelp, worthy, young (one), youth.

H3157 The word Jezreel in Hos 1:11 spoken of as “the day of Jezreel”

From H2232 and H410; God will sow; Jizreel, the name of two places in Palestine and of two Israelites: – Jezreel.

God shows us the progression of Israel from a childH5288 called out of Egypt in the life of Moses which typifies the life of Christ and His body (1Co 10:11, 1Jn 4:17). Those who are called and chosen in this age are the spiritual Israel of God (Gal 6:16), and so we see that it is what “God will sow” Jezreel (Gal 6:7, Isa 55:11) that makes it possible for us to come out of the world that we first have to go into.

Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Rev 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

What God sows, He will reap (Joh 3:16, Gal 3:16), and “the childrenH1121 of Judah and the childrenH1121 of Israel” of Hoseah 1:11 represent Christ the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev 5:5) and the Israel of God which is His body (Gal 6:16). This is the only way that twain can become one with Christ as our head, typified in our earthly marriages and will manifest to the world one day as the bride of Christ who has been given to make herself ready.

Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

In tonight’s study we will look at the tremendous blessing of knowing God and Jesus Christ in this age (Joh 17:3, Joh 6:68), and how, like the prodigal son, we must come to our wits’ end and be brought there by God if we are to be His children who are being received through the chastening and scourging which is what the prodigal sons experience of evil represents.

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Ecc 1:13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

That prodigal son who represents the elect must now live out the rest of his life as we do, learning obedience by the things which we suffer (Heb 5:8) in order to fill up what is behind of the afflictions of Christ for his body’s sake today (Col 1:24), and for those who will be part of his body one day (1Co 15:52, 1Co 15:58).

This Psalm 81 truly shows how God separates His people from the world today through judgment and reminds us deeply of how it is on the backs of their unbelief that we believe today (Rom 11:7-8). Of all people on this earth and throughout all generations, we are most blessed to receive “the finest of wheat” and “honey out of the rock” that satisfies us.

Luk 10:24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Psa 81:8 Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me;
Psa 81:9 There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.

If we are granted to hear the testimony of Jesus Christ and then continue in the truth, then “there shall no strange god be in thee”, and if there is no strange god on the throne of our heart, it will be because God has given us dominion over the flesh so that “neither shalt thou worship any strange god” because Christ has dethroned those strange gods and displaced Satan and made him to fall from our heavens like lightning.

Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Luk 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Mat 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Psa 81:10 I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

I think of a baby bird when I read this, eating a worm that is about the same size as its head. Our mouth, which is Christ’s mouth, has to be wide open. We need to understand that it is the sum of God’s word that will help us understand the narrow way (Psa 119:160), and that the safety we need comes in a multitude of counsellors (Pro 15:22) who can help us compare spirit with spirit (1Co 2:13) and help keep us from using our own reasoning minds which need another sword to sharpen them.

Pro 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

The mind is deceitful and desperately wicked and will often cheat itself out of the blessing that can come from opening our mouths wide by learning from others in our midst.

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wickedH605 [Hebrew: ‘ânash – incurable]: who can know it?

God will fill our mouths when he brings us to realize through repentance that we continue to need every part of the body to keep us healthy (Luk 15:23). His word reveals that with the body of Christ and our Father as our helper nothing can prevent us from overcoming (Rom 8:31, Heb 13:6). We can endure all things through Christ, and bear all things, and believe all things, and the “all” in each of these verses tells us that it is by opening wide our mouth (Christ’s mouth in each of us) that we will receive the love and faith that each joint can supply and that we will need to endure unto the end.

Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

It is when we are being brought “out of the land of Egypt”, out of the world or the worldly reasoning of our hearts, that we truly begin to be fed by “the LORD”.

Psa 81:11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.
Psa 81:12 So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

Here is the end result of not hearkening to the voice of God and not having any “of me” as the Israel of God, which is what we all must do at first. We are then given “up unto [our] own hearts’ lust” because we “walked in [our] own counsels” and not within the safety that comes from the multitude of counsellors, and by not forsaking ourselves in assembly where we can speak often together.

Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

Psa 81:13 Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!
Psa 81:14 I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.

Conversely, the day comes when we will, through the trial of our faith which is precious unto God, come to have a contrite and broken heart and be a people who “hearkened unto” him and “walked” in his ways. When we are blessed by God’s goodness to repent (Rom 2:4), the effect is immediate, and we feel relief knowing that the Lord is building the new temple at the expense of the old, and come what may, we will be able to withstand all the storms that are promised to come our way with this new temple. These verses in Matthew are just another way of saying “I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.” because of the stronghold that Christ has become in our life.

Joh 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

Mat 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Mat 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
Mat 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Psa 81:15 The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.
Psa 81:16 He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

We are all haters until we no longer are by the grace and faith of Christ (Eph 2:8), and yes, we “should have submitted [ourselves] unto him”, but we could not unless the Lord builds the house as we just read (Psa 127:1), and then we “should have endured for everH5769.

עלם   עולם
‛ôlâm ‛ôlâm
o-lawm’, o-lawm’

From H5956; properly concealed, that is, the vanishing point; generally time out of mind (past or future), that is, (practically) eternity; frequentative adverbially (especially with prepositional prefix) always: – always(-s), ancient (time), any more, continuance, eternal, (for, [n-]) ever(-lasting, -more, of old), lasting, long (time), (of) old (time), perpetual, at any time, (beginning of the) world (+ without end). Compare H5331, H5703.

The promise of God is that He will feed His lambs and sheep “with the finest of the wheat” and “with honey out of the rock” because it is only when we serve the word of God through Christ the rock that we will truly be “satisified”. If we receive another gospel or spirit, it will not benefit us (2Co 11:4), but if we are being blessed to hear the voice of the true Shepherd in this age at the waters of MeribahH4809 which represents a dry place, a desert, where initially the whole stay of bread and water are taken away (Isa 3:1), then those waters of God’s word wrapped around the idols of our hearts will see those bands of deception and lies broken and the water made sweet.


The same as H4808; Meribah, the name of two places in the Desert: – Meribah.

Exo 15:22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water (Isa 3:1).
Exo 15:23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
Exo 15:24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
Exo 15:25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree [type of Christ and his Christ], which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
Exo 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

Gen 30:36 And he set three days’ journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
Gen 30:37 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.
Gen 30:38 And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink.
Gen 30:39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.
Gen 30:40 And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban’s cattle.
Gen 30:41 And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods.
Gen 30:42 But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s.
Gen 30:43 And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.

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