Thursday, August 4, 2016

Praying for God’s Enemies

Psalm 83:1-18

A Song or Psalm of Asaph.

“Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.  For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.  They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.” (Psalm 83:1-3)

We often personally hurt because it seems like the World hates us.  In John 7:7 Jesus said, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”  We need to understand their hatred is not of us personally, but of Jesus Christ.  John 15:18-19 advises, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.   If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”   

Like Christians, Israel is not hated for their actions, because others have done far worse.  They are hated for their God.    Like a bunch of gangsters attacking a man’s family to try to force him to do what they want or punish him for interfering with their plans, the world has attacked Israel repeatedly, and will do so again during the Tribulation period.    

“They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.  For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.” (Psalm 83:4-8)

During the times of the Judges, Israel had been repeatedly attacked by the people around them.  They had been attacked by those who lived along the Mediterranean Sea, the Philistines and the Peop;e of Tyre and Sidon.  They had been attacked by Esau’s descendants, the Edomites and Amalekites.  By Ishmael’s descendants, including  the Midianites and Hagarenes, and by Lot’s descendants, the Ammonites and Moabites.  These groups had done their best to completely annihilate the Jews, working singly or in groups. 

“Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:  Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.  Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:  Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.” (Psalm 83:9-11)

He prays that their enemies be as completely as Gideon defeated the Midianites with his three hundred men, or as Deborah defeated Sissera and the army of Jabin.  He prayed that their leaders would be destroyed like Gideon destroyed the Midianite leaders in Judges 7 and 8, who thought they could just take over God’s tabernacle when they pleased. 

“O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.  As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.  Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.  Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth. ” (Psalm 83:13-18)

He asks that God’s enemies be persecuted and suffer like they were being run over by a wheel or like scraps of dried plants in the wind, like wood in fire or a wild fire raging in the mountains.  He prays that they will be afraid and humiliated to the point they turn to God in repentance and that other people believe in God, recognizing that Jehovah is the ruler of the universe.  

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