Open Your Mouth Wide

by Jan Silvious

It is interesting to probe beneath the surface of a particular Scripture passage to discover the picture God is drawing for us. In doing so, I sometimes find that becoming familiar with customs of the day can help to clarify the meaning of the passage.

One such verse is Psalm 81:10, where God says through the psalmist Asaph: “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”

One can best understand these words if he is acquainted with a strange custom that existed in the days when Asaph wrote this psalm. At that time, when a benevolent king wished to extend a favor to a visitor, or give an ambassador a special honor, he would request him to open his mouth wide. The king would then cram it full of sweetmeats. On occasion he would even put in a handful of jewels.*

What a shock, I should think, to bite down on a fig newton and discover a mouthful of jewels!

First, I think it’s significant to note that if my mouth is open wide, I can’t be talking. Coming into the presence of the King of kings is a complete experience only when we listen as well as talk. He can never delight us with surprise delicacies if we never stop talking. So I intend to spend some time in silence today, with my mouth open wide, in the expectancy of good things.

Have you watched a nest of hungry fledglings lately? Do they sit serenely, chirping at one another occasionally while they wait patiently for their meal? No indeed. When you look in the nest, all you see is wide-open mouths, eager for every morsel their mama bird will bring. They are expecting her to fill their mouths, and that expectation keeps them ready!

How many times do you go to the Lord out of obligation and with non-existent expectations? Do you reluctantly read a chapter in your Bible every day? Do you do what’s right because you should, or do you come to God with expectation and excitement because you never know what jewel He is going to drop into your mouth next?

What fun it is to come into God’s presence and say, “Lord, I wait before You with an open mouth. I’m not here to make any requests or to try to figure out any answers, or to be spiritual. I am here for You to fill my mouth with sweetmeats and treasures that I can relish because them come from You.”

There was a time when all I could do was open my mouth. I had no answers and I had exhausted myself telling God all about my problem. So, I just opened my mouth and waited in expectancy. This is the jewel I found in the midst of the sweetmeats He dropped in my mouth: “The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion” (Is. 30:18).

What a many-faceted diamond that verse turned out to be! In His goodness, God gave me a jewel that I would treasure the rest of my days. It was unexpected, given freely, and is cherished beyond measure.

Today, He is waiting to drop a jewel into your open mouth. Why not take Him at His Word, dare to open your mouth, and wait in silent expectation?

*Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, Paul Lee Tan, Assurance Publishers, Rockville, MD., 1979.

From The 5-Minute Devotional

©Zondervan 1991

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