Psalm 83 (NIV)
A song. A psalm of Asaph.
Study the psalm in two parts:
· Verses 1 – 8: what the enemies of God and Israel are doing
· Verses 9 – 18: what the psalmist wants and prays that God will do
1 O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof, O God.
“It is so difficult sometimes to go on living day by day without one authoritative word; and we are prone to rebuke Him for silence, that He is still, that He holds His peace….But God has not kept silence. The Word was manifested. In Him the silence of eternity was broken.”
–F. B. Meyer (1847-1929) British Baptist pastor and evangelist
2 See how your enemies growl,
how your foes rear their heads.
3 With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish.
4 “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”
“In all the annals of recorded history there has never been a people so encircled by foes or as persecuted as the Jews have been. Yet surprisingly, the Jews have prospered. In 1836 a world census indicated that there were then three million Jews living in many countries. A century later, in 1936, in spite of severe persecutions in which many Jews were killed, particularly in Russia, a second census indicated that the Jewish world population had risen to sixteen million, an increase of thirteen million in a century. The Nazis killed more than six million Jews, but today there are more Jews in the world than before the Nazi era. The only explanation for this growth is that the hand of God has been on this people and that he has blessed them.”
–James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000) pastor of Tenth Pres in Philadelphia for more than 30 years and a teacher on The Bible Study Hour radio program
5 With one mind they plot together;
they form an alliance against you—
6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
of Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Byblos, Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
8 Even Assyria has joined them
to reinforce Lot’s descendants.
9 Do to them as you did to Midian,
as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10 who perished at Endor
and became like dung on the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take possession
of the pasturelands of God.”
Asaph encourages himself by remembering the times in the past when the Lord has upheld his people.
–Gideon destroyed Midian; the story is in Judges 6-8.
–Oreb and Zeeb were princes of Midian. People from the tribe of Ephraim killed them; the story is in Judges 7:24-25.
–Gideon killed Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian, in Judges 8:21.
–Sisera and Jabin come from another story, in Judges 4:1-24. Jabin was king of Hazor, and Sisera was the leader of his army. A woman, Jael, killed Sisera as he hid in her tent.
–Two judges of Israel destroyed Jabin’s army at the River Kishon.
13 Make them like tumbleweed, my God,
like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest
or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your storm.
16 Cover their faces with shame, LORD,
so that they will seek your name.
17 May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
may they perish in disgrace.
18 Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD—
that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.
Asaph ended this Psalm with an unexpected turn. After praying for the destruction of Israel’s enemies, he prayed that they would be thoroughly humbled (fill their faces with shame) so they would be led to seek Yahweh.
This Psalm began with a plea that God would not remain silent, and ends with the idea of His fame and glory going out to all the earth.
HERE is “Your Grace Is Enough” — written by Matt Maher and sung by Chris Tomlin.