Psalms in Troubled Times – Psalm 83

That they may know

This is the last of Asaph’s psalms, and it continues the theme of seeking God in the midst of trouble. In this psalm he cries to God to act in a moment of crisis.

V1 – The Cry

‘Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God …

V2-4 – The Crisis

‘… For lo, thine enemies make a tumult … they have said, “Come, let us cut them off from being a nation” …’

V5-8 – The Confederacy

‘… they are confederate against thee ...’

Followed by a list of eleven nations that completely surround Israel. Yet, Asaph has confidence in his God.

V9-12 – His Confidence

He looks back to other nobles and nations who rose up against the people of God, and considers how God acted in that day.

‘… they became as dung for the earth …’

V13-17 – His Cry Detailed

Then he elaborates on how God should act.

O my God … persecute them with Thy tempest, and make them afraid with Thy storm. Fill their faces with shame … Let them be confounded …’

But the part of the psalm that I want to dwell on are the following concluding statements that show us Asaph’s motive.

V16,18 – His Cause

‘… that they may seek thy name, O LORD … That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

The reason the psalmist prays in this way, is not simply for his own safety, nor out of a vengeful spirit, but rather, his desire is for the glory of the LORD, and the blessing of his enemies.

That’s a good lesson for us today. In the midst of all that’s going on, it’s natural to think of self-preservation. We rightly see the virus and subsequent economic fall-out as God’s hand upon a sinful world, but let us be like Asaph, and indeed, like the Lord Jesus Himself, who prayed … “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John17:3).

Let us therefore cry to the Lord that through this Coronavirus experience, many will seek the namethat is above every name; and will come to know and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil2:9-11). That ‘He might have the preeminence’ (Col1:18)!

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