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Psalm 83

Jorine Johnson

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 Kishon,

10 who were destroyed at En-dor,

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.

This is a really powerful psalm on the honor of God among His people, Israel. It was one of the darker times for Israel when their enemies were seeking to wipe them off the face of the earth, making plans against them. Verses 1-5, the psalmist pleas to God of the injustice that they are facing at the hands of the enemies. Verses 6-8 actually identifies them. These were powerful and long-standing enemies of Israel that were seeking to destroy and defeat the Israelites. Verses 9-17 pleas to God about His intervention like God had done in the past. Most notably was the one during the time of Deborah, a prophetess and judge in Israel. She helped deliver Israel when Jabin and Sisera, Canaanite king and general respectively were oppressing and subjugating the Israelites. They were finally defeated and killed. And this same deliverance is what the psalmist asks for. 

The end of the psalm really shows the purpose of God’s deliverance and rescue: this would all occur against Israel’s enemies so “that [the nations] may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.” God is showing His power and sovereignty over the enemies of God. Their tauntings demonstrate their willingness to speak ill of Yahweh and the psalmist intervenes so He may rescue His people, but more importantly everyone would know that Yahweh is the Lord God of all the nations on the earth and He alone is the true God. No idol can do what God is able to. 

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