Psalm 83:1-18 A Lament By Asaph
Psalm 83:1-18 Asaph, Circa 2016
This is an interesting psalm. It is the last one written by Asaph (cf. 50, 73—83) but has no historical correspondence except, perhaps, for the attack of Judah by a confederation of Arab nations circa 896 (cf. 2 Chron. 20:1-19) during the reign of Jehoshaphat. It’s as if this psalm was written in 2016 (cf. v. 4). Nations have been trying to wipe out Israel for ages.
I don’t understand why these psalmists don’t believe that God hears them (v. 1). Wait, yes, I do. They are being intense and earnest. Asaph asks God once again to hear him and to act. This is another imprecatory psalm. The psalmist is asking God to hurt his enemies which are also His enemies (v. 2). They are disrespecting God and that irritates Asaph. It irritates me, too, doesn’t it you? I have to remind myself that they are ignorant. Hey, Asaph does the same thing.
God’s enemies think they are smart and shrewd, they think they can outmaneuver God if they band together in conspiracies (vv. 5). That’s been going on since the Tower of Babel (cf. Gen. 11:9).
The nations listed in verses 6-8 represent a circle drawn around Israel. This is the current scenario. Israel is surrounded and even their most ardent supporters in the West seem to have deserted them. This is an end-times scenario. It’s as if Asaph just wrote this and the ink is still drying on his parchment.
Asaph cites some incidents out of Israel’s history illustrating God’s harsh judgment of His enemies (vv. 9-12). Ouch. Sisera, Jabin’s commander, ended up with such a headache (cf. Judg. 4, see I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!). Oreo and Zeeb were commanders of the Midianite army (v.11a). Zebah and Zalmunna were Midianite kings (v. 11b, cf. Judg. 7:25-8:21). They all believed in su pastura, mi pastura. But God proved otherwise.
Asaph asks God to make His enemies like a dust storm and a forest fire (vv. 13-14). He asks that God hit them with a tornado (v. 15). He asks that they be humiliated and dishonored (vv. 16-17).
You would think God’s provision and love would be enough to draw men to Himself (cf. Matt. 5:45; 6:25-33). Unfortunately, it is His wrath and pain that usually awakens men to their need of Him (v. 18). But sometimes even that doesn’t move them. It is simply amazing that at the end and in the midst of the destruction of the world, men will actually shake their fists at God (cf. Rev. 9:20-21).
Proverbs 13:4 Starving Spiritually
If anyone thinks that any political party is going to bring Utopia to earth, they are sadly mistaken. Political parties are filled with sinful human beings. Probably more so now that the church is so run down. We won’t have Utopia until Jesus comes back (unless you are referring to Todd Rundgren’s rock group).
There are those who need help from somewhere and sometimes the state provides that. In a system like that, you are going to have people who cheat and take advantage. That won’t happen when Jesus rules but it will happen until then.
So for the time being, there will be those who are lazy and want things and actually get things because they are dishonest. I know that runs contrary to verse 4, but verse 4 was written before Franklin Delano Roosevelt and welfare.
The rule in the early church was, ” . . . if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either” 2 Thess. 3:10).
The government should be providing an environment where people can work hard and prosper (v. 4b). But we don’t have that exactly now, either.
The church should be providing help in the name of the Lord to those who need it and some are. Some aren’t. What a shame. Lost opportunities to promote the Lord.