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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

August 11 2023

Today, Friday August 11

Singing Our Way to Victory

Psalm 83:9-18

“Deal with them as with Midian, As with Sisera, As with Jabin at the Brook Kishon, Who perished at En Dor, Who became as refuse on the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb, Yes, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, Who said, "Let us take for ourselves The pastures of God for a possession."

O my God, make them like the whirling dust, Like the chaff before the wind! As the fire burns the woods, And as the flame sets the mountains on fire, So pursue them with Your tempest, And frighten them with Your storm. Fill their faces with shame, That they may seek Your name, O LORD. Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; Yes, let them be put to shame and perish, That they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD, Are the Most High over all the earth.”

Psalm 83 was written by a man named Asaph who most likely lived during the reign of King Jehoshaphat over Judah. One of the most exciting and encouraging passages in the Bible is connected to this Psalm. 2 Chronicles 20 gives us the details of the story behind this Psalm and prayer of Asaph. It describes a coalition of at least ten Gentile nations that had formed a confederacy to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

When King Jehoshaphat heard that they were coming he immediately turned to the LORD and called the people to do the same. (2 Chronicles 20:3-4). They prayed and sought the Lord to deliver them and give them wisdom about what to do. I love Jehoshaphat’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 20:12, “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You." God answered his prayer by telling him through a prophet to send the choir out in front of his army to sing and lead them to victory. God then destroyed the enemy miraculously (2 Chronicles 20:21-24).

Asaph is also praying and records his prayer here in Psalm 83. In verse 1, he asked God to “not be a silent observer of their dilemma but to rise up to help them.” Then in verses 2-8, he specifically identifies the enemy armies who have come to destroy Jerusalem. I’m sure God already knew everything about the situation and who the army was that had come to destroy His people. Sometimes, I think when we pray about difficult situations and we are telling God what is going on, it helps us to face the reality of our situation and acknowledge that only God can help us.

In verses 9-11, Asaph remembered some of Jehovah's great victories in Israel's past history, especially Gideon's victory over the Midianites (Judges 6-8), and the victory of Deborah and Barak against Sisera and Jabin (Judges 4-5). En Dor is not mentioned in Judges 4-5, but it was a city near Taanach (Judg. 5:19), which was near En Dor (Josh. 17:11). The phrase in verse 10, "as dung for the ground" (ESV) describes the unburied bodies of enemy soldiers rotting on the ground. The enemy was defeated and disgraced.

Oreb and Zeeb were commanders (princes) of the Midianite army, and Zeba and Zalmunna were Midianite kings (Judg. 7:25-8:21). The victory of Gideon ("the day of Midian") stood out in Jewish history as an example of God's power (Isa. 9:4; 10:26; Hab. 3:7). Asaph closed his prayer by asking God to send such a victory to Israel that the enemy soldiers would flee in panic and look like tumbleweeds and chaff blowing before the wind. Like a forest burning on the mountainside, their armies would be consumed. The image of God's judgment as a storm is also found in Psalm 18:7-15, 50:3 and 68:4. If Asaph's prayer seems vindictive, remember that he was asking God to protect His special people who had a special work to see on earth.

In verses 16-18, Asaph concludes his prayer asking for God’s name to honored and lifted up. Before asking for the destruction of the invading armies, Asaph prayed that the enemy would be "ashamed and dismayed" and would turn to the true and living God. This is what happened in Jehoshaphat's day: "And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel" (2 Chron. 20:29). King Hezekiah later prayed a similar prayer for the invading Assyrians (Isa. 37:14-20). The armies of the ten nations depended on many gods to give them success, but the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob defeated the armies and their gods! "Hallowed be Thy name" is the first request in the Lord's Prayer (Matt. 6:9) and must be the motive that governs all of our praying. The Most High God is sovereign over all the earth!

A great lesson to learn from Psalm 83 and 2 Chronicles 20 is that we should start out our journey of life each day praising, singing, and seeking to glorify the Lord. We can do this by reading a “Praise Psalm” and listening to worship and praise music as we get ready and are driving to work!

God bless!

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