Saturday 8 November, 2014

Psalm 83

1 God, don’t keep silent. God, don’t keep quiet. Don’t be still. 2 See how your enemies are getting ready for action. See how they are rising up against you. 3 They make clever plans against your people. They make evil plans against those you love. 4 “Come,” they say. “Let’s destroy that whole nation. Then the name of Israel won’t be remembered anymore.” 5 All of them agree on the evil plans they have made. They join forces against you. 6 Their forces include the people of Edom, Ishmael, Moab and Hagar. 7 They also include the people of Byblos, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia and Tyre. 8 Even Assyria has joined them to give strength to the people of Moab and Ammon. Selah 9 Do to them what you did to the people of Midian. Do to them what you did to Sisera and Jabin at the Kishon River. 10 Sisera and Jabin died near the town of Endor. Their bodies were left to rot on the ground. 11 Do to the nobles of your enemies what you did to Oreb and Zeeb. Do to all of their princes what you did to Zebah and Zalmunna. 12 They said, “Let’s take over the grasslands that belong to God.” 13 My God, make them like straw that the wind blows away. Make them like tumbleweed. 14 Destroy them as fire burns up a forest. Destroy them as a flame sets mountains on fire. 15 Chase them with your mighty winds. Terrify them with your storm. 16 Lord, put them to shame so that people will worship you. 17 May they always be filled with terror and shame. May they die in dishonor. 18 Your name is the Lord. Let them know that you alone are the Most High God over the whole earth.

The psalmist is clearly frustrated by the ever encroaching enemies of God. He wants God to act. To sort it. The enemies are listed as Edomites and Ishmaelites; Moabites and Hagrites; Gebalites, Ammonites, and Amalekites; and people from Philistia and Tyre, Assyria too,  and the descendants of Lot. Asaph then goes on to suggest ways for God to deal with these enemies. Asaph gets more and more worked up and does not mince his words! Ultimately the Psalmist wants God’s enemies to acknowledge that the Lord alone is God and that he is supreme in all the earth.

Most of us at some point would have said to the Lord something to the effect, “Lord can’t you hear what they are saying can’t you see what they are doing and how it is affecting a certain person, family, organisation, church etc. it can’t go on… do something!” This is the same sentiment Asaph is expressing and most of us “get it!” A very passionate call for God’s intervention so that those that oppose the Lord will come to acknowledge him as the one true God, supreme over all. Being a New Testament believer I’m not sure about wanting God’s enemies being utterly disgraced, blown away, terrified forever etc. It may be a therapeutic read at times but we are called to love our enemies. Not sure that God needs my suggestions on how to deal with his enemies either. What this psalm does encourage me to do is to pray, to cry out on behalf of those that vehemently oppose the Christian faith. To pray for revelation and that people would experience the goodness of God.

Dear Lord, we pray that those who do not yet know you will learn that you alone are called the Lord, that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth. Amen

Written by Ainslie Woods

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