This Psalm is right up to date, for both modern Israel and Christians! The Psalms are an eloquent series from God for all eras; the primary audience is ancient Israel, but its message can be applied to both Jews and Christians today. Satan will stop at nothing to harm God’s people, just as he did not stop in the days of David. So, read this text with interest and a desire to learn and act. The Psalms are incredibly satisfying to read and meditate upon, having rich pools of wisdom and godly insight. This is a tough Psalm; do you have the courage to read and implement it?
(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.
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.
Another Psalm by Asaph. He pleads with God (again referred to as ‘elohiym, to emphasise His might) to speak out, to act, against His enemies (who are, of course, also enemies of His people). Here ‘silence’ is used because Asaph cannot hear God or see Him acting on their behalf, one meaning being to be ‘cut off’, dĕmiy, or to cease speaking. Of course, silence from the Lord may not always be cessation of His help or closeness – it just means we are unaware of anything happening.
Do not hold Your peace, pleads Asaph – charash – please speak and do not conceal Your intention; do not be deaf to our prayers. “be not still, O God”. This second use of ‘God’ is the root of ‘elohiym – ‘el (which has an indirect reference to Immanuel). “be not still” is another way of asking God not to be apart, or to ‘rest’ and be quiet, shaqat. To ask God the same thing in three different ways is an indication of how worried Asaph and the people were. Many modern believers are afraid to speak so frankly to God... but it is what he wants us to do!
Asaph points out to God – though He already knows it – that His, and the people’s, enemies are daring to rise up against Israel, making a tumult, hamah, a verb meaning to make great noise, to gather together with wicked intent, to express rage. It is what happens when the unsaved see no action on the part of either God or Christians! They make exploratory moves against us, testing our resolve and implying God is no longer with us – if He exists at all.
At all times when we have an enemy, he hates us and God. It is an automatic coupling. Which is why I warn believers against befriending people of Islam, no matter how pleasant some may be. Their animosity is personal as well as national - 'oyeb. This word is an active participle of 'ayab, meaning to be hostile.
In the case of Islam in particular I would again warn readers that Muslims are instructed to appear friendly to our faces but hateful towards us in their hearts. This is enabled by another teaching – to lie, taqiyya, if it furthers Islam and helps Allah. It is a major reason why I cannot ever trust a Muslim, whether or not he is pleasant. Asaph and the Israelites knew how to recognise enemies – but it seems modern Christians are too slow and naive to do so, hampered by personal friendships, so they befriend those who hate God which, of course, is a sin.
God’s enemies (and ours) spend their time devising ways to bring us down. They “take crafty counsel” – their plans being subtle, prolonged and stealthy (‘aram). Their sole purpose is to destroy God’s people and His word. Both homosexuals and Muslims have been busy in this wicked way for many years. What they do is done in secret (cowd) until they know their subterfuge and deception has met with willing cohorts in government and the media, who then help them in their foul designs.
We see the same cowardly deception happening in the work of the Pharisees in the Sanhedrin; they could not bring Jesus down with their arguments, so their real motive is made clear – forget the arguments, just kill Him! Our modern enemies want all Christians out of the way... not the wishy-washy ones who comply, but those who stand firm and witness to the glory of God and His truth. Enemies have no time for the weak Christians, because they will obey Satan, and them, anyway.
The enemies met together to plan their strategy to be rid of truth and those who tell it. They even searched high and low for the “hidden ones”, the tsaphan; God’s people here referred to as hidden treasure in secret places. In today’s homosexual assault on society, these wicked people have rooted out every possible refuge for believers, using law to punish and ruin. In doing so they have devised laws that are remarkably more comprehensive than any other laws of the land, leaving no ‘loophole’, such is their hatred for God and His people.
In David’s day enemies said “Let us cut them off from being a nation.” The aim was not just to destroy Israel, but to erase all mention of the Jews for all of time, as if they had never existed. But, they did not fully succeed. In modern times, destruction began with Hitler, but now continues in his children, the terroristic Islamists, the UN, and many who are anti-Semitic. Total annihilation is their objective.
But, the same attitude is taken towards Christians, who are the only bulwark against vile sexual, Islamic and other evils. This is now why socialists in the USA want to get rid of the new president, who promises not just a respite from wicked Obama plans, but a reversal of all his evil policies. The new president may not be all he should be – but he is being used of God to oppose the truly horrendous ways of Obama and Democrats. Do not think this is just a political argument – politics is in everything we do, Christian or not. Unfortunately, very few Christians understand this and remain silent, so long as they are left alone. But, they will only be left alone if they comply with wickedness.
Then, as now, wicked enemies want to be rid of everything to do with God and His word. Yet, EVERYTHING is to do with God and His word! God rules, whether or not enemies like it. He favours His people, to the wrathful indignation of enemies! By ignoring all this, weak Christians set themselves up as targets and fools.
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.
Our enemies will join together with other enemies if it means our demise, and if it means the removal of God from society. It does not matter if the various groups agree with each other, because an enemy can be unscrupulous, having no genuine beliefs and affiliations. Their commonality is hatred.
The oddest people will collaborate in order to get their own way. They gather with one express purpose, disregarding the fact that they have no intellectual or spiritual basis on which to operate. Thus, they ‘confederate’, or become one league, pledging to attack those they hate. Is this not what is happening to Christians today?
“The tabernacles of...” here means homes or tribal tents, and so a reference to the tribes themselves, listed as contemporary enemies of Israel: Edom (also known as Idumea) and the Edomites, descendants of Esau. Then there were the Ishmaelites, descendants of Ishmael (son of Abraham) and of modern Arabs and so Muslims.
The Moabites were another enemy, descendants of a son of Lot, along with the Hagarenes or Hagarites (the Hagari); they lived east of Israel where Bahrain now stands (Reuben’s tribe warred against them in the time of Saul).
There were many more enemies than that – just like today! Others were the people of Gebal. These lived on Edomite territory in the mountain region running south from the Dead Sea to Petra (not to be confused with the town near Tyre). They were joined by the Ammonites, also descended from Lot through his son Ben-ammi (via an incestuous relationship), and living in Transjordan.
Then there were the Amalekites, more descendants of Esau, east of the Dead Sea. The Phoenician city of Tyre/Tyrus were also enemies at one time, as were the infamous Philistines/Pĕlesheth who lived further south on the coast, between the Mediterranean and Israel.
As if they were not enough, others were enemies, such as Assur/Assyria, who often were in league with the “children of Lot”. They descended from the second son of Shem. Asaph brings in a musical pause at this point, before reminding God of His anger at enemies previously.
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.
Here we have yet another example of imprecatory prayer coming from the House of David! Most Christians are afraid to even think of imprecatory prayer to get rid of their enemies. David and His rule were never afraid to utter this kind of prayer! In a war you do not subdue an enemy by sending love notes – you shoot them. Come across an individual enemy hiding in a bush and perhaps you can approach him with mercy, but that is not a general thing to do in war... and we are in a war situation today, just as Israel was when Asaph wrote this psalm. Recognise it and deal with it, not as a weak-spined deluded people, but as realists living godly lives!
Asaph reminds God of what He did to enemies previously, and asks God to likewise vanquish the current enemies: “Do unto them” as You did to the Midianites, descendants of Abraham who lived in the northern desert of Arabia. He then reminded God of the way He used brave individuals to aid Israel, such as Jael who killed general Sisera of Hazor. The brook Kison was a river running through central Israel, and was where Sisera’s army (and thus king Jabin) was defeated.
This enemy was obliterated at the fountain of Dor (En-dor) north of Tabor. As Asaph noted, the name of this enemy was to become a word associated with dung, such was their evil. Asaph then makes further imprecations, asking God to deal with the present enemies as He did with others before, such as Oreb, a leader of the Midianites when Gideon defeated him upon a rock, and Zeeb, a Midianite prince found hiding in a winepress and killed before the Midian army was chased and killed; both had their heads cut off. Modern Christians will not like it, but the psalmist asks God to similarly kill the enemies who bay for the blood of Israel.
Zebah and Zalmunna were both kings of Midian defeated by Gideon. They were defeated by God’s power, because they boasted they would take hold of God’s “houses”, na’ah – that is, Israelites and anywhere God was worshipped. Their fates show us that God watches over His children, even today, and comes to their aid, destroying those wicked enemies who think they are above God, Who they say does not exist.
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.
Asaph does not hold back his desires to see the enemies completely destroyed (how different from modern believers who think it is godly to ask God to be with enemies of Himself and us!). No, Asaph legitimately called on God to make Israel’s enemies “like a wheel”; that is, like a whirlwind of dust, hence “as stubble before the wind”, or chaff that floats in the air as something without worth.
Another simile is used – for God to act on enemies “as the fire burneth a wood”, and as a forest fire tears through trees leaving nothing alive. Asaph makes the imprecatory nature of his prayer even bolder: “persecute them with thy tempest”! As a modern Christian do you dare to be so open about your feelings towards enemies? I never believe people who claim to ‘love’ those who do them harm! Why should I when even psalmists (including David) called on God to remove enemies, even with killing power! (”Love your enemy” is not applicable in these circumstances).
Asaph is not content with the enemy remaining alive, but calls on God to persecute them, to actively chase after them until they are no more... vengeance is the Lord’s, but it is acceptable for His children to call upon Him to practice that vengeance! Do not pretend you ‘love’ your enemy when you clearly do not. Asaph prays that the Lord would chase after the enemy with His “tempest”, ca’ar – the storm of His wrath, of hurricane strength, taking everything in its path.
Many today think it is somehow ‘godly’ to ask God to ‘save’ enemies. This does not make sense... for our enemies are His enemies, and if He has elected some enemies to salvation He will let us know. It is not our duty to pray scatter-gun prayers that are useless; we should only pray for the salvation of those individuals we are led to approach personally. All else is worthless.
Meanwhile, the general approach to enemies, if they refuse to be at peace with us, is oppositional, and our prayers should be imprecatory, seeking their removal or destruction by God (sometimes through human means). Think hard about what is being said in this text! Note, too, that we should ask God to make our enemies afraid of attacking us and rejecting God. Are you afraid to utter such realistic prayers and taking appropriate action?
Furthermore, Asaph wants the enemies to be humiliated before the nations. Today, diplomacy (lying) takes the place of truth, and enemies are always placated, making them feel good. And this leads to our downfall. We should say “Fill their faces with shame”! In this text ‘shame’, qalown, means to be disgraced, dishonoured, and treated as nothing. This is how we should treat Islamic terrorists, their countries, and their religion. Because this is how God sees them. (The same can be said of homosexuals). We must never allow enemies like this to be awarded worth, when they are worthless before God.
The purpose of all this is not primarily to kill enemies, but to make them think of God and His word. It is also the aim of genuine discipline in the churches. What if the enemy refuses to listen and continues to attack God and us? Then we may call for their destruction. They can then be destroyed without hesitation, with imprecation.
(In this verse ‘God’ is Jehovah, thus emphasising not just His power but His unique position as the ONLY God. Never be afraid to tell others that our Lord is the ONLY God, especially in days of Islamic terror and ‘political correctness’. In recent days two preachers have been convicted for telling hearers that our God is the only God, and our Saviour is the only way to Heaven. God will protect them, and the judges are to be put to shame. Will YOU put them to shame with your open support for the preachers and the uniqueness of scripture??).
Do not feel afraid of the enemy. Instead “Let them be confounded” – confused, and ‘troubled’ (afraid/amazed/dismayed) “for ever”. This can mean ‘perpetually’, but it also means for eternity. Thus, imprecation does not allow enemies a soft option; it does not let us pray for their well-being. Rather, we should call on God to damage them for life, and to send them to a godless eternity, if they do not repent and stop. Is this not what godly Asaph is saying? “yea, let them be put to shame, and perish”!
Do you really understand the significance of what I am saying, and what Asaph is asking God to do? Then follow the example! Satan, whether himself or through our enemies, gives no quarter. Do not be soft-hearted and give the enemy the opportunity to strike again. Call down God’s power and wrath from Heaven. The enemy must be humiliated, shamed, and embarrassed (chafer). Continually I read of Christians who want to be ‘alongside’ homosexuals and Islamists, to make them feel loved! This is anathema, because it is not what God wishes for them. Call these people what they truly are, free of our meagre emotional ideas and sympathy. Call for them to “perish”, ‘abad - to be destroyed utterly, with no escape.
Why? “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.” In our own day, do you have more regard for helping and befriending our enemies, mainly homosexuals and Islamists, than you have for God and His word? Then I pity you and warn you that God does not sleep: He sees and hears your pathetic refusal to utter imprecatory prayers against His enemies. Asaph felt it necessary to call upon God to obliterate the enemies.
Today, our enemies are gathering as dark clouds around us, made bold by law and government, and unchallenged as violent and wicked men. We deserve our sorry state for not having a realistic notion of what to do, and by not pointing fingers of blame where it belongs.
These are strong words, but not any stronger than the words of Asaph to Almighty God, the great and only Jehovah, the self-existing One, the one true God, the Most High. There is no other God – and it is about time believers shouted this out before the true infidels: the Islamists, the homosexuals, and all enemies of us and God. Let God use this study to drive Christians onward with immense power. Remember – it is a direct interpretation of what God’s word actually says. Amen.
© March 2017
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
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