Psalm 83 has a plea going to God to intercede. It seems that the enemies of Israel are all around. “Those who hate you have raised their heads”. The people of God are at risk, and the psalmist does the one thing that we all need to do when we are overwhelmed – stop and seek God’s face. He alone can handle the things that overwhelm us. He alone is able to come to our aid. He alone can see the entire situation and can deal with it with a spoken word. He alone is God.
So what was the situation at hand? Here is what scripture describes:
- “your enemies make an uproar
- those who hate you have raised their heads
- They lay crafty plans against your people
- they consult together against your treasured ones
- They say, Come, let us wipe them out as a nation
- let the name of Israel be remembered no more
- they conspire with one accord
- against you they make a covenant”
Their goal is pretty clear – they intend to destroy the people of God.
The writer recalls how God had come to their aid so many times before. God has destroyed overwhelming enemies many times in the past. The list is long of peoples that are lining up to destroy the children of Israel. But the history is deep of God’s faithfulness and protection of his people. He has made them “like a whirling dust….like chaff before the wind” many times before. God has consumed enemies with fire and put them to shame and dismay forever.
My favorite comment by the writer is his remembrance of enemies of the past who “became dung for the ground”. That describes a pretty powerful response by God. He is able. And the writer asks that they “perish in disgrace”. Is this just a plea to save their hide? No – the psalmist is clear that while being protected is definitely on the list of requests, the driving focus is “that they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth”. That is what our lives need to express as well. We need to shout God’s name and domination over the earth. He is King. And our lives need to point to that truth!