Psalm 83

Psalm 83


This is the last of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph
1 O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still.
2 See how your enemies are astir, 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, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.”
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 Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
8 Even Assyria has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot. Selah
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 refuse 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.”
13 Make them like tumbleweed, O 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 so that men will seek your name, O LORD.
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.

Charles Spurgeon in his work The Treasury of David writes about the historical background on this psalm. One of the interesting points in his commentary about this historical background was his comment on why the Lord keeps silent. He gives three examples from scripture on this subject. The first example was from Matthew chapter eight, Mark chapter four and Luke eight. This was the incident when the Lord was asleep during the storm. This silent was one that test our faith. The next example was from Isaiah fifty-nine were God is silent in the times when his people are experiencing trouble times. This type of silent test the uprightness of men’s heart. The third example he gives is a type of silent that we usually do not consider and is found in this Psalm. We seem to focus most of our attention on God and his relationship with the righteous. In this psalm God seems be silent in dealing with the wicked. This is a time of silent in which God gives the wicked a chance to turn from their wicked way. However, in Matthew 25:31-46 our Lord gives an example when this silent will end. In verse forty-one his judgment is this: depart from me accursed ones into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels. This is when verses seventeen and eighteen of this psalm will come to pass.

As I examine this Psalm considering the third example of God’s silent and consider the direction in which the societies of the whole are drifting, I cannot help but consider the words from II Peter chapter three. In this chapter Peter states his purpose of writing to them was to give them a reminder to stimulate them to wholesome thinking. He reminds them that this wholesome thinking starts with an understanding of God’s Word. The failure of wholesome thinking starts with a denial of the Lord’s return and the denial of the Flood. With this denial comes a denial of God’s Word. But God is patient. Why? Here in II Peter chapter three we are told that it is because the Lord does not want anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance. So how do we as believers pursue a lifestyle during these times when the wickedness of the world seems to surround us on every side? The answer is simple but is hard to understand. Peter writes that we should look forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. As we wait, we should make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and have the peace of God within us. However, in verse sixteen Peter describes the state in which Christians are in today. They find the scriptures hard to understand and distort them to fit their lifestyles. This description of the church is also found in Revelation chapter three of the church of Laodicea where Christ is pictured outside of the church. So, as we watch the direction in which the world is drifting read II Peter chapter three, grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and look for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ to usher in the home of the righteousness.

As I read the last psalm ascribed to Asaph, I am remained again of the seven thousand that God let Elijah know that had not bowed knees to Baal (I Kings 19:18). These seven thousand lived during the reign of Ahab and his wife Jezebel at a time in which the world around them worshiped other Gods. Not only did the nations around them worship other gods, but Jezebel even cut off the prophets of Jehovah and tried to silent their voice. During this time, we see Elijah as the only one taking an active stand for God. Not even the incident of Elijah calling fire down on the burnt-offering on Mt Carmel and the power of God being magnified could turn the nation back to God. Soon after this show of God’s might and power Elijah was running with fear from Jezebel. I Kings 18 gives us the example of people like Obadiah who feared God and remained faithful to God, in the quietness of doing his assigned work assigned to him as head of Ahab’s household. In this position he was able to protect and take care of a hundred of the Lord’s prophets. Here we see two examples of how Godly men react to the events in a troubling time. As we too are living in times when the movement of our sociality is moving against the ways of God, we have the examples found in I Kings chapters eighteen and nineteen. Yes, God will raise up powerful evangelists such as Elijah to stand in the way, yet at the same time he will reserve a remnant that will not be a part of this world. Therefore, do not be discourage when it seems like the enemies of God have the upward hand. God did not seem present during the time of Elijah, but he was. God might not seem present now, but he is and is just silent for a while.