Surrounded But Trusting

Opening Prayer

Lord, You see all the things that come against me. Vindicate me, rescue me—show how great You are.

Read Psalm 83

1 O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof, O God.
2 See how your enemies growl,
how your foes rear their heads.
3 With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish.
4 “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”
5 With one mind they plot together;
they form an alliance against you—
6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
of Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Byblos, Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
8 Even Assyria has joined them
to reinforce Lot’s descendants.
9 Do to them as you did to Midian,
as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10 who perished at Endor
and became like dung on the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take possession
of the pasturelands of God.”
13 Make them like tumbleweed, my God,
like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest
or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your storm.
16 Cover their faces with shame, Lord,
so that they will seek your name.
17 May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
may they perish in disgrace.
18 Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord—
that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

Reflect

Has God ever rescued you from someone who was trying to cause you harm? Take a moment to thank him.

This is a psalm written in a moment of acute tension. All of the psalmist’s instincts and beliefs tell him to pray to God, to trust him in the face of real opposition. God has helped his people before. But will he do it now (1)? There follows a long account of what the psalmist and the people are up against. But they’re not simply his private problem—“your enemies” and “your foes” are the ones who “plot against those you cherish” (2,3). God has a big stake in this!

Thankfully, the psalmist knows his history, especially the time of the Judges. Against all human odds, Midian was defeated by just 300 men (Judg. 7:1–7) and Sisera was killed by the canny Jael (Judg. 4,5). Their other leaders and kings were inevitably brought down as well (Judg. 7:25; 8:18–21).

But the cries for Israel’s enemies to become “like tumble-weed” and be disgraced (13–17) are not driven by lust for revenge. Instead, the psalmist longs for them to recognize reality and acknowledge who God really is (18).

Apply

Write down the times that God has stepped in and saved the day for you. Keep these reminders for future reference.

Closing prayer

Today, pray especially for those around the world whose very lives are at risk from persecution.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider