A couple of weeks ago I was working around my yard and house. I decided that it was time to check and clear my gutters. Most of it was clear but one section was completely full—even the downspout was clogged. Anyone who has ever cleaned out gutters knows how gross things can get. Decomposing leaves, trash, sticks, and other unidentifiable mess build up and form a thick, wet, black soup. Even though some people have tried to make tools to clean out the gutters, nothing really works well except just digging your hands in a pulling it all out.
What’s the problem with clogged gutters? Why does it matter anyway? Well the simple and rudimentary answer is that gutters are designed to direct water off of the roof and away from the house. When they are clogged, the water doesn’t move and travel away from the house. It’s stuck.
Just like trash and debris interfere with water traveling along gutters and drains, Psalm 81 relates how God’s people can let trash interfere with the flow of His blessings. God uses the history of rescuing Israel out of slavery to demonstrate His bountiful intentions for His people.
“I removed his shoulder from the burden;
His hands were freed from the baskets.
7 You called in trouble, and I delivered you;
I answered […]
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.[…]
16 He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat;
And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”
These excerpts show us the God’s graciousness towards Israel. He wanted to give them His best. God wanted to grant them satisfaction and richness in life. He wanted to give them everything good thing that they could possibly need or handle, but there was a problem.
Even though God miraculously rescued Israel by openly demonstrating His power, Israel allowed the channel of blessing to get clogged.
“Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you!
O Israel, if you will listen to Me!
9 There shall be no foreign god among you;
Nor shall you worship any foreign god.
First, God said that there were to be no foreign god allowed among them. This speaks to what they tolerated. There are certain things that we don’t tolerate. When certain rodents or insects get into our house, we exhaust all of our means to expel them. We just can’t allow them to be around. God says we should have that attitude to false gods.
Second, God said that they shall not worship any foreign god. Not only can God’s people tolerate the wrong things, they can even go so far as to worship, adore, and serve false gods. We must not give the love and adoration that belongs to God alone to anything else.
The last part of the Psalm indicates how much God longs for Israel to be obedient so He can respond with blessing for them. The problem of false gods got in the way of God’s goodness. The gutters on your house are set up to move the water away, but the leaves and debris block the path. Let us make sure that we are not allowing the paths of God’s blessings to be blocked by the idols of our hearts.