I am the Lord your God, Who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth, and I will fill it (Psalm 81: 10)
I had one understanding of this passage for most of my life, and there were times I was comforted by it. When I’d be facing a speaking engagement that made me nervous or a meeting in which I wasn’t sure how to handle a tricky situation, I’d call on this verse. I would assure myself that at just the right time, God would fill my mouth with just the right words. I leaned on Him and walked confidently onto the stage or into the meeting room. God came through, as He always does.
Then I heard a powerful Bible teacher, well-versed in the Hebrew, who explained that David was drawing on an image he often saw out there while tending sheep or later, on the run from Saul. Is there anything more helpless and trusting than a nest of baby birds? Those little babies know that their mama is going to search for and bring in the food. Their jobs are not to climb out of the nest, full of pride and determined to do it on their own. No, they are to wait expectantly, in total trust of their source!
Desperate dependence on the Lord – do you dare? Spiritually presenting your weakness to Him and knowing that He will give you what you need – is that even right in this pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps culture? Fully acknowledging that you can’t do this on your own – is that an admission of failure?
When I was younger, I’d give motivational speeches that admonished, “You can do anything!” As time has gone on, as I’ve grown spiritually, and as I’ve learned more about how life works, my rah-rah speech would be, “You can’t do this!” Alone, that is.
And by the way, this passage follows a statement about God bringing His children out of Egypt – the symbol of slavery. The way out of whatever has you bound is the acknowledgment of your personal powerlessness to break free on your own and the dependence on Almighty God, Who totally wants you free and will show you the way out. Then comes…open your mouth wide, and I will fill it!
If you’ve ever been to my office, you may have noticed a framed picture of a nest of baby birds – waiting on Mom, trusting in her faithfulness, and doing what they are supposed to do. I never want to forget.
Want to become a baby bird with me?
Lord, I fully acknowledge my weakness, and I draw on Your strength. I don’t know what to do, but I open myself to Your wisdom. I don’t have enough, but You are my Provider. I open my mouth wide, Lord. I completely trust You to fill it!