Tuesday, March 14, 2023

2023.03.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 83

Read Psalm 83

Questions from the Scripture text: How is this Psalm identified (superscript)? Who penned it? What three things does Psalm 83:1 ask God not to do? What two things are his enemies doing (Psalm 83:2,Psalm 83:5)? And against whom are they planning to do what (Psalm 83:3-4)? Who, specifically, are these enemies (Psalm 83:6-8)? What previous enemies do God’s people pray that these new ones would join (Psalm 83:9-11)? What had those enemies done (Psalm 83:12)? With what two images does the Psalm use to ask God to show His comparative power and their comparative weakness (Psalm 83:13-15)? What does he ask the Lord to do to them (Psalm 83:16a)? So that they may find out what (verse 16b)? What does he pray will happen to them (Psalm 83:17)? So that they may know what (Psalm 83:18)?

What should God’s people do, when the whole world seems powerfully allied against them? Psalm 83 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eighteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that when God’s enemies are in powerful conspiracy against them, it is for the glory of God’s Name, which will be displayed in His enemies’ humiliation. 

Psalm 82 warned kings and judges about their coming judgment by God the great Judge. This brought it into harmony with Psalm 2. Now, Psalm 83 resonates with that same Psalm, as Asaph pleads with God to address the raging nations. 

Attacking God. This is the great offense of those who oppose Israel (Psalm 83:4). Israel is “Your people” (Psalm 83:3a) and “Your sheltered ones” (verse 3b). This makes them “Your enemies” (Psalm 83:2a) and “those who hate You” (verse 2b)—those who have “consulted together” to “form a confederacy against You” (cf. Psalm 2:1–2). To attack God’s people is to attack Him Himself.

Praying for God to hurry. Undoubtedly, God will defend His honor that has been attacked in the attacks on His people. What the Psalm prays is that the time of answer would not delay—that God would now respond (Psalm 83:1). This is a help to us, as we wait patiently upon God’s timing in any area of life. It is not incompatible with submissive waiting for us to ask Him to hurry. But the same Psalm that puts such requests into our mouths teaches us to do so with a desire for His glory. 

What all God’s enemies have in common. There are ten hostile nations in Psalm 83:5-8 that speak nearly as many different languages and worship even more different gods. The one thing that they can all agree on is hatred of God and His people: “They have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You.” 

But this will not be the last thing that they have in common: “deal with them as with” in Psalm 83:9-12 brings to mind a period in Judges 4–8, where one enemy after another attacked God’s people, and God destroyed them. Significantly, this was not during an age of God’s people’s faithfulness, but a time of serious backsliding. Centuries later, in Psalm 83, other enemies will join these in their destruction—as will all of God’s people’s enemies, ultimately. 

The divine conspiracy behind men’s conspiracies. Let the people of God never despair, when His enemies’ fury reaches its fever pitch. This is a sign that they are about to be destroyed. They are like dust before a mighty wind (Psalm 83:13) or kindling before a mighty fire (Psalm 83:14). Bible history and subsequent history has shown that when the enemies have seemed their most dangerous, it has been to set them up for humiliation (consider the account of Assyria, cf. Psalm 83:8, that we are currently reading in 2 Kings 19). 

It is still the same today. What we need is to know Yahweh, specifically to know the reality of that Name of His (Psalm 83:16b, Psalm 83:18a). He is the Most High over all the earth (verse 18b), and those who oppose Him will be filled with shame (Psalm 83:16a), confounded and dismayed forever (Psalm 83:17a), put to shame and perish (verse 17b). Psalm 83 drives the believer to the Lord to be refreshed in his confidence in Yahweh, Who is from everlasting to everlasting, and upon Whom all things utterly depend—including even His enemies. 

Some will be brought to seek His Name in a saving way. Other knees will do their bowing, and other tongues will do their confessing, as they are destroyed. On the last day, enemies will only do the latter. So now, in time, when God’s people are in their greatest distress, let them pray and sing this Psalm, seeking the glory of their God. It may be that He may bring some enemies to kiss the Son and be blessed with us in trusting Him (cf. Psalm 2:12a, d). And it may be that He will shatter them to smithereens with a rod of iron (cf. Psalm 2:9, Psalm 2:12b–c). But their conspiracy and attack must end, and He must be glorified. So, let us sing this prayer that, by His Spirit, we would be well-affected with this truth and plead it with sincere hearts.

Where do you see the enemies of God most “successfully” and most vigorously opposing Him and attacking His people? What will the outcome of this be? How does this Psalm teach your heart to respond?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You, Who are Most High over all the earth. Truly, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. All of the nations are Yours, and Your people whom they attack, are called by Your Name and identified with Your salvation. As we draw near to You now, grant Your Spirit’s light-giving, life-giving help, so that we may know Your glory. Thus, make us to call upon You to subdue all Your enemies under You. Grant, even, that any who do not know You would be brought to seek Your Name with us, would be brought to kiss the Son, would be brought to trust in Him. For this, and for all other blessings, we pray through Him, even Jesus Christ, Our Lord, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP83 “Do Not Be Silent, God” or TPH83 “O My God, Do Not Keep Silent”

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