Today’s passage: Psalm 83
Look at that stuff on my chocolate! That’s Justin’s Almond Butter. I got an entire jar of it for free, and you can too. Thrive Market’s got a deal going on where you can get a jar of Justin’s for just the shipping charge of $1.95. The almond flavor goes great with my mint chocolate, and a good deal makes tasty food taste even better. But they’ve only got so many jars available for the promotion, so get on that noise and getcha free Justin’s Almond Butter.
Anyway: yesterday we saw Asaph urging God to act against oppressors within Israel, and today he urges God to act against oppressors without. He prays:
O God, do not remain quiet;
Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still.
For behold, Your enemies make an uproar,
And those who hate You have exalted themselves. (1-2)
Israel’s enemies are getting on that noise. They have Gone Loud. They want to snuff out God’s people entirely, like a passing fad that’s had its day in the sun: “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more” (4). So Asaph’s calling God to take off the silencers and Go Loud right back at them.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite lines from Switchfoot’s “The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues):” “There is no sound louder than love.” And while David might seem vengeful, even downright bloodthirsty in some psalms, it would appear that Asaph here wants Israel’s enemies to experience the blessing of defeat at God’s hand. He doesn’t want them smashed to bits! Take a look at how he puts it:
Fill their faces with dishonor,
That they may seek Your name, O Lord.
Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever,
And let them be humiliated and perish,
That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord,
Are the Most High over all the earth. (16-18)
I’ll admit there’s some ambiguity in there; he wants them to “perish.” But he also wants them to know that God is the King of the World, and he wants them to seek God’s name. As far as I can tell, the psalmist is asking God to humble Israel’s enemies and bring them to acknowledge him. I think Asaph has provided some space for God’s love and mercy in his request. What do you think?