Psalm 83 O God, Do Not Keep Silence A Song. A Psalm of Asaph. (1)O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! (2)For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. (3)They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. (4)They say, "Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!" (5)For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant- (6)the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, (7)Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; (8)Asshur also has joined them; they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah (9)Do to them as you did to Midian, as to Sisera and Jabin at the river Koshon, (10)who were destroyed at Endor, who became dung for the ground. (11)Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, (12)who said, "Let us take possession for ourselves of the pastures of God." (13)O my God, make them like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind. (14)As fire consumes the forest, as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, (15)so may you pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your hurricane! (16)Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O LORD. (17)Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace, (18)that they may know that you alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth. ESV
The NKJV titles Psalm 83: Prayer to Frustrate Conspiracy Against Israel. A Song. A Psalm of Asaph. The NASB1995 titles it: God Implored to Confound His Enemies. A Song, a Psalm of Asaph.
Psalm 83 is the last song penned by Asaph in the Psalter. Asaph was a great poet and prophet during King David and Solomon’s time. He was the temple worship leader. Asaph’s duties in the temple are outlined in the Old Testament in 1 Chronicles 6 & 16. The “sons of Asaph” or later men with the same name were probably in his lineage. He was a renowned singer and writer and lover of the Lord. It is not a surprise that future Levite families would continue giving his name to their sons.
Psalm 83 is an Imprecatory Psalm, one of many. The Imprecatory Psalms call upon God’s judgment against Israel’s enemies. These songs call curses and bad things down upon the enemies of Israel, enemies of God.
im-pre-ca-tion: noun, a spoken cursehttp://www.dictionary.com
Some Bible scholars relate Psalm 83 to King Jehoshaphat and a great victory against the Moabites and Ammonites as told in 2 Chronicles 20. But others believe that the Asaph of King David and King Solomon’s time wrote this psalm as a list of those who had aggressed upon God’s people and also as a prophecy of things to come.
Others see the collection of 10 enemies set against Israel as not referring to one specific occasion, but to the constant danger of extermination Israel lived under–relevant in both the ancient and modern world.David Guzik, pastor, http://www.enduringword.com
O God, do not be silent! Do not be deaf. Do not be quiet, O God. Don't you hear the uproar of your enemies? Don't you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up? They devise crafty schemes against your people; they conspire against your precious ones. "Come," they say, "let us wipe out Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence." Psalm 83:1-4 NLT
Sometimes we cry these words, right? “Don’t turn away from me, God. Don’t be silent. Do something!” But the truth is that God is never silent; His Word is alive, living, breathing, and active. Always.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV
When we wonder where God is and why He doesn’t seem to move, we merely must open His Word.
His Word will tell us that past, present, and future attacks upon those who love Him are imminent. To be a follower of Christ means trials and suffering. It means we take up His cross every day to walk in the way He walked, to live in the way He lived. We must take courage in the Words written.
From day one, the enemy has sought to destroy God’s creation. He cares about nothing else but destroying Jehovah’s children. But he can’t. He has tried throughout time, and he can’t. Many have attempted and still attempt to destroy the Jewish people, but they continue to fight and live throughout the world. Others, throughout time and even now, attempt to end the name of Christ. Impossible.
Hidden away from all harm at the Lord’s chosen; their enemies think not so, but hope to smite them; they might as well attempt to destroy the angels before the throne of God.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Yes, this was their unanimous decision. They signed a treaty as allies against you- these Edomites and Ishmaelites; Moabites and Hagrites; Gebalites, Ammonites, and Amalekites; and people from Philistia and Tyre. Assyria has joined them, too, and is allied with the descendants of Lot. Interlude Psalm 83:5-8 NLT
Asaph lists ten nations that banded together against Israel and ultimately against God Himself. Ten nations many of which came from men written about in the Bible who were angry at the place they found themselves in life. Could Edom or Ishmael or Moab have turned their lives around to serve the one true God? Rather, they chose to follow the father of lies, the one who would promise the world and bring only more pain and suffering.
There were ten to one against Israel, and yet she overcame all her enemies. Her name is not blotted out; but many, nay, most of her adversaries are now a name only, their power and their excellence are alike gone.Charles Spurgeon
Selah/Interlude: pause a reflect upon all that God has done.
Do to them as you did to the Midianites and as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the Kishon River. They were destroyed at Endor, and their decaying corpses fertilized the soil. Let their mighty nobles die as Oreb and Zeeb did. Let all their princes die like Zebah and Zalmunna, for they said, "Let us seize for our own use these pasture lands of God!" Psalm 83:9-12 NLT
Asaph reminds us of God’s great victory over the Midianites through Gideon as recorded in Judges 6-8. The Israelites had screwed up and for many years they suffered under the oppressive Midianites. But the Lord heard His people’s cry and rose up the mighty warrior and prophet, Gideon.
O my God, scatter them like tumbleweed, like chaff before the wind! As a fire burns a forest and as a flame sets mountains ablaze, chase them with your fierce storm; terrify them with your tempest. Utterly disgrace them until they submit to your name, O LORD. Let them be ashamed and terrified forever. Let them die in disgrace. They they will learn that you alone are called the LORD, that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth. Psalm 83:13-18 NLT
It’s interesting that Asaph ends his song with a call for God to strike His enemies so that they will seek the face of Lord. Sometimes we must be brought to the very end of our strength before we can then look up to see our Savior. Asaph asks God to knock down Israel’s enemies with a storm and blow them away with the wind, burn them in a great fire . . . “until they turn to You.”
Whatever you are facing right now, it’s okay to call upon God in this way. People have done it throughout time. He hears us; He desires to know all that is in our hearts. But sometimes we have to be broken so that we will look up into His face again. A good and loving Father.
Father in heaven, we love you and we thank you for faithfulness throughout time and even today. Give us strength to face our enemies, give us strength to continue to fight, give us strength to love all who come in our paths today. Thank you for your promises. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for the Book of Psalms that remind us of your strength and power and faithfulness. Amen.