God's Enemies In Psalms 83

This psalm is the cry of God's persecuted people as they pray that He would not remain inactive against the attacks of the wicked. There is not any implication here that God was indifferent toward their plight. This expresses their desire for relief. Armed with the strength of arrogance and cunning, certain ones had risen up to destroy Israel and their purpose was, to make the name "Israel" extinct.

In every dispensation there have been those who not only rebel against God, but actively seek to destroy those who walk faithfully with God. Their purpose isn't just to ridicule or annoy, but to destroy (they get this from their leader! 1 Pet. 5:8).

In the study of this Psalm, we can learn some of the characteristics of God's enemies. Notice:

1. God's enemies "make a tumult," v.2. Literally, this means they make a roaring. Luke illustrates this in the history he wrote in Acts. Repeatedly, militant unbelievers made a roaring or tumult over the proclamation of the gospel (see Acts 19). Today, on occasion, there is some protest, sound-bite or editorial lashing out the venom of Satan against those who are not threatened by political correctness, and who dare to repeat what God has said about the sins of our day. Some in the media want to create a tumult and paint people committed to biblical values as a bothersome, dangerous minority group, threatening the peace of universal New Age tolerance.

2. God's enemies lift up their head, v.2b. They raised themselves up in arrogance, displaying their menacing attitude without restrain. This kind of persecutor is well described in Proverbs 21:24, as "A proud and haughty man, 'Scoffer' is his name; he acts with arrogant pride." Jude describes those who were turning the grace of God into lasciviousness. He said, "... these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries," and they "... speak evil of whatever they do not know," (vss. 8,10).

3. God's enemies take "crafty counsel against" His people, v.3a. They are so determined to overthrow righteousness, they consult together and make plans to fulfill their wicked purposes. "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed ...," (Psa. 2:2). In the events that led to Calvary, "...all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death," (Matt. 27:1).

4. God's enemies consult together, form a "confederacy," and work "with one another," vss.3,5. The writer refers to a confederacy or conspiracy including Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagarenes, Gebel, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, and Tyre (vss. 6,7). In Jesus' day, there was the deadly confederacy of chief priests, scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and even a traitorous disciple.

This is the way Satan works, even today. We are threatened by a combination of many dangers: classic infidelity, worldliness, secular humanism, the New Age movement, denominational confusion, cults, gay rights, materialism, and our own indifference. Satan has forged all these weapons, but they work in "confederacy" with one another to assault us and gain greater influence over those who are already lost.

It may not be an organized conspiracy that can be seen, or a networking of error that's overt. But these enemies enjoy power in their combined assault against God and His people.

5. God's enemies need to be humbled (vss.13-18). And we are certain they will be humbled, later if not sooner. In days of darkness and difficulty we can read the Scriptures and remember how God delivered the ungodly into punishment; and, we can read the Revelation given through John and know that the wicked will be overthrown eventually. "...The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish," (Psa. 1:5b,6; see also, 2 Pet. 2:4-9).

Our God will "bless the righteous; with favor" and He "will surround" us "as with a shield," (Psa. 5:12). Remember what our Lord said: "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. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." (John 15:18-20, KJV).

by Warren E. Berkley

Return to Psalms Index

Return to General Articles page

Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /