I have been aware that the 4th of July is just around the corner for almost a week now. Why am I so keenly aware of the upcoming celebration of our nation’s independence you ask? The answer is a simple one, the people in the surrounding neighborhoods began the firework shows early. I know this really bothers some people, but I find it amusing. It seems they start earlier and earlier each year. Last Thursday, I heard a rather large firework go off as I was taking my garbage to the street at 7:30 AM. Yes… I heard fireworks before a normal school day would have even started. I guess people just love a celebration, especially a noisy one!
In the first half of Psalm 81, we have the Psalmist encouraging the people to celebrate (the noisy kind)! It encourages the people to party like it is the day of the feast after the new moon, with all the music and pageantry. Why? Because of how good the Lord is. That is all! Not because it is a holiday or that something extravagant has happened but simply because of how God has already proven to be faithful because of the history of Israel. The Psalmist recounts the amazing stories of Jacob, Joseph, and the freedom from the bondgage in Egypt. It is a powerful reminder that it does not have to be Easter or Christmas for us to celebrate the God who rules over all things and cares for His people.
We celebrate the 4th of July as a reminder that we have freedoms that are not found in all places on this planet. It causes us to reflect on, or at least remind us, that we are blessed each and every day in ways we probably take for granted. The second half of this Psalm (verses 8-16) help us understand why we should be singing for joy to God regularly… because he is, and has been, doing things for us we take for granted! When we attribute to God his proper praise and place nothing before him there is no enemy that can’t be subdued (verse 14) and those who oppose the chosen of the Lord will be properly punished (verse 15). As for God’s people? Well, they will be provided in ways they cannot imagine (verse 16).
I hope everyone has a fun, relaxing, and safe 4th of July this year. I also hope we all take time each and every day to celebrate our God who has blessed us beyond measure.