Friday, September 28, 2012

God Gets Ready to Act

Psalm 83:9-12

9Do 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.”


Day One, Verses 1-4: An intimate group will come together to bring about the destruction of God’s people. The psalmist pleads for God to not be silent… Read more here.
Day Two, Verses 5-8: The psalmist identifies the group – they are the countries immediately surrounding Israel. They are the descendants of those who separated from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and covenanted against, rather than with, the God of Abraham… Read more here.

What’s God going to do about it?

Once again, this is more than a list of hard to read names. These people and places with the funny names were part of two Israelite battles from the book of Judges. Not coincidentally, one battle took place with the Canaanites over the territory to the north, in the region of modern day north Israel and south Lebanon. The second battle was against the Midianites over the territory to the southeast, in the region of modern day Jordan and the Palestinian territories. These locations remind us of the locations of the enemies aligned together in stanza two.
Despite their opposite geographic locations, the two battles have some unique similarities. Both were the result of Israel’s disobedience to Jehovah God. The Canaanite battle in the north occurred first. After the Israelite’s repentance, they enjoyed forty years of peace and obedience before returning to a lifestyle contrary to God’s Word. At that time, events started to fall into place for the Midianite battle in the south.

Despite the many similarities, two things most caught my attention…


When the psalmist needed comfort for the present, he looked back to the victories of the past. Remember from the first stanza, God’s promises – His Word – won’t change. The words He spoke then are comfort to us now
“‘Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?’ Selah
Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.’
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples” (Psalm 77:7-14).


The victory in both battles was from the Lord. Neither battle was won by the size of the army, the skill of the sword, or the battlefield logistics. God brought confusion upon Israelites’ enemies and they scattered. Barak and Gideon’s roles were obedience in extreme circumstances and perseverance until the end. As the enemy armies scattered, both Israelite leaders sent their armies to pursue and chase down each enemy until the victory was complete.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them--to the LORD, but he did not answer…
You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; you have made me the head of nations; people I did not know are subject to me…
The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O LORD; I will sing praises to your name. He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever (Psalm 18:37-41, 43, 46-50).

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