APPRECIATION

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BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION

Again Asaph is writing this psalm.  He reports on enemy movement and calls on God as an observer directs artillery.  He calls on the Lord’s forces to assure the future of Israel.

(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.  For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:  Psalm 83:1-5

Let God speak up against enemies who speak against him and his people.  The enemies of God have formed real conspiracies against Israel.  They seek to exterminate the Jews as so many have before and since.  Many nations have perished in this way.

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. 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.  Psalm 83:6-10

Asaph recognizes the enemies of this day, and compares them to the enemies of the past.  He asks God to leave their new enemies in the same destruction previously allotted to their enemies of old.

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.  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.  Psalm 83:11-15

These new enemies also want to steal the homes of Israel, and also the house of God.  Asaph will accept any of a variety of destructions for their enemies.

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.  Psalm 83:16-18

Asaph would shame the enemies of Israel, but only so they will seek the name of God.  Without that name they will be shamed and slain.  The name of the Lord is the source of the salvation that these nations will need.

(To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.)

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!  My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.  Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.  Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.  Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.  Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. Psalm 84:1-6

The writer dedicates this song to the sons of Korah, which rebelled against God and Moses and were swallowed by the earth.  Had they listened to this psalm they might have embraced the goodness of the house of the Lord.  They had been assigned to care for the house of the Lord and its furnishings, and rejected that lowly role for greed.

This psalmist sings of the joy and wonder of the temple and the honor of living in it.  He sings of the man who has his strength in the ways of God and lives in them.  These men who serve God are blessed.

They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.  O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.  Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.  For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.  For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.  O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee. Psalm 84:7-12

So the man of God who serves in his house lives in strength.  The psalmist asks God to look on his anointed workers.  He treasures a day in the courts of God to be better than a thousand days of freedom.  Even being a lowly doorman is better than to live in sin.  If the sons of Korah could have absorbed these messages they might have praised God for the honor of the station they enjoyed in life.  We who know the Lord should rejoice in every new day we wake to see, and in the eternal days we will embrace in the next life.

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CALL TO ARMS

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 Joshua ARMY

BLOW THE TRUMPET

Asaph is writing another psalm.  He may have observed David’s psalms as a pattern for victory in the face of challenges.  He previously described the destruction of Israel and asked God to turn them back to him.

Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.  Psalm 80:19 

Now Asaph seems to recognize a pattern in David’s many exhortations to praise God.  He calls the musicians into battle, as praise music is a primary weapon in spiritual warfare.

(To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of Asaph.) Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.  Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.  Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.  For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.  This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I heard a language that I understood not.  Psalm 81:1-5

Asaph remembers how God ordained the feasts in Egypt, where the people heard the unfamiliar Egyptian language.  Or could this point to an early experience in worship that is later demonstrated in the book of Acts?  Joseph became a prime minister of Egypt; he certainly understood their language.  Did Joseph or Israel witness a special form of worship?

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Acts2: 1-4

The results of those solemn feasts did manifest deliverance for Israel when their season was accomplished.  They were delivered from the oppression of Egypt.

I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.  Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.  Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me;  There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.  I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.  Psalm 81:6-10

While Asaph has recognized a path to deliverance, he may not be able to convince his people to come to the living water and drink.  They may not choose to open wide and be filled.

But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.   So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.  Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!  I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.  The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.  He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.  Psalm 81:11-16

We understand that Egypt would not come to God, but Asaph mourns the failure of God’s people to come to salvation.  Even today religious people trust their own wisdom and dogma over scripture.  Instead of attracting the lost, they attack them, verbally and even violently.  God wants Israel to walk in his way, not their own.  Churches picket and protest, but fail to welcome the lost.  I have news for them:  if there were no sinners there would be no church.  We are called to invite the lost world, not the perfect world.

Asaph now confronts the religious phonies who embrace popularity and men of the world.  He reminds them of the righteous judge who is our God.

(A Psalm of Asaph.) God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.  How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.  Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.  Psalm 82:1-4

Now Asaph is looking at the conservatives who are not willing to embrace the only name under heaven by which men are saved.  These accept leadership from men who assert influence by their wealth and power.  They are men who abandon all morality in a sacrifice to the gods of the Bohemian Grove. These conspire for power in secrecy among amoral debauchery in the darkest forests of America’s Babylon.

They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.  I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.  But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.  Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.  Psalm 82:5-8

Those dark fools have temporal power and are ignorant of the eternal power over us.  They tip the world into acceptance of all ungodly sin by peer pressure and popularity.  The universe is afflicted, not just the climate of the world.  God has called his church children of God and yet most are deceived back into mortal death by rejecting God’s Word.  These weak believers will die like the amoral men that they follow.  Asaph calls on God to rise to the judgment now, to reclaim his few faithful remnants from among the nations.