Bible Reading: Psalm 83

Psalm 83

O God, do not remain quiet; Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, And those who hate You have exalted themselves. They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more.” For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; They have become a help to the children of Lot. Deal with them as with Midian, As with Sisera and Jabin at the torrent of Kishon, 10 Who were destroyed at En-dor, Who became as dung for the ground. 11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb And all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, 12 Who said, “Let us possess for ourselves The pastures of God.”  13 O my God, make them like the whirling dust, Like chaff before the wind. 14 Like fire that burns the forest And like a flame that sets the mountains on fire, 15 So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with Your storm. 16 Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O Lord. 17 Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, And let them be humiliated and perish, 18 That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth.

A common theme in the Psalms is the desperate cry of God’s people for deliverance from their enemies.  In the context of Psalm 83, God appears to be silent, and slow to defend Israel from a group of nations who want to wipe out Israel as a nation, so that even the name of Israel is remembered no more.  The palmist reflects on how God acted in the past to defeat Midian (83. 9-12) and calls on the Lord to once again strongly support His people, so that others will know He is the Lord Most High over all the earth (83.18).

If we look back in history to Judges 6:1, Israel was doing evil in the sight of the Lord.  God gave them into the hands of Midian for seven years as judgment for their sin.   The Midianites would come and destroy their crops, forcing the Israelites to live in caves where they could hide and protect their food supply.   But God did not remain silent forever.  After they were brought very low, and cried out to God, He called Gideon to lead a small army of 300 men.   They miraculously defeated the Midian army and captured and killed their key leaders, Oreb and Zeeb (Judges 7:25).    What began with God’s judgment, ended with a great victory that resulted in forty years of peace in the days of Gideon.

When we are impatient and it appears that God is not listening, it’s good to reflect on the great things God has done in the past.  God never changes, He alone is the Lord (Yahweh), the ever existent one.   He will strongly support His children as we humble ourselves and seek His help, just as Israel did in the days of Gideon. 

Weekly Memory Verse: Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.  Psalm 82.3-4