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.