Psalm 83

O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still. See how your enemies are astir, how your foes rear their heads. With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish.

“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.”

With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you- the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot.

Do to them as you did to Midian, as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon, who perished at Endor and became like refuse on the ground. Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, who said, “Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God.”

Make them like tumbleweed, O my God, like chaff before the wind. As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze, so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm. Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek your name, O LORD. May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace.

Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD-that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

This psalm speaks of the nations who border on Israel. At various times, they’ve tried to defeat the Jewish people and drive them from the Land God gave them.  Although all their attempts in the past have been unsuccessful, it looks like they’re getting ready to try again.  They still haven’t learned the painful lesson that comes from defying God’s promise to Abraham. “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.”  Once again Israel will defeat them, a testimony to the power of a promise from God.

Has God made promises to you? “Surely I am with you always,” He said, “Even to the end of the age (Matt 28:20). Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. But seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt. 6:25, 33). I tell you the truth it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away the Counselor will not come to you, but if I go I will send Him to you (John 16:7). And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:3). Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth (Rev. 3:10).”

Each one of these is straight from the Lord’s mouth to our ears. Each is as clear as His promise to Abraham. “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday today and forever,” we’re told (Hebrews 13:8). God’s promise to Abraham carried no expiration date. Over 4,000 years later, nations who curse the descendants of Abraham still risk the wrath of God.

And it’s the same with His promises to us.  As a shepherd’s first priority is protecting His sheep, so the Lord’s first priority is protecting us. It’s a sacred trust, placed with Him upon His descent to Earth.

“I have come down from Heaven not to do my own will,” He said, “But the will of Him Who sent me. And this is the will of Him Who sent me; that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I shall raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:37-40)

Oh Lord, let the disposition of these ancient nations who sought to defy your promise to your chosen people serve to strengthen our faith in your promises to us today.