Reading: Psalm 83
Do to them as you did to Midian,
as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
who perished at Endor and became like dung on the ground.
Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
who said, “Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God.”
Make them like tumbleweed, my God,
like chaff before the wind.
As fire consumes the forest
or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
so pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your storm.
Cover their faces with shame, LORD,
so that they will seek your name.
May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
may they perish in disgrace.
Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD—
that you alone are the Most High over all the earth (NIV).
Bible scholars believe the psalms that comprise the Book of Psalms were written over a period of about seven hundred years between 1000 BC and 300 BC. One of the challenges of writing something daily about the Psalms is discovering something personally relevant about each scripture portion. What could these ancient writings mean for me today? Is there something in there for me—something relevant for my walk with the LORD?
Today’s reading illustrates this point. The psalmist is calling for the destruction of Israel’s enemies who have invaded the land and brought death and devastation. In his appeal for God’s help, the psalmist recalls the great victories the LORD wrought in the past. He prays against Israel’s enemies, “Make them like tumbleweed, my God, like chaff before the wind.”
In our daily walk through life do we face enemies? Of course we do. Their names are not Sisera and Jabin or Oreb and Zeeb, but nevertheless we face enemies. They come with names like Discouragement and Depression or Complacency and Apathy. Occasionally, I run into Disappointment and Bitterness. Now those are two tough characters. If you let them take hold, they can pin you down and leave you defeated in no time.
The negative thoughts that we permit can devastate our lives as effectively as any marauding army. That’s why Asaph, the psalmist, calls on the wind of God’s Spirit to blow such enemies away. There is no value in chaff or tumbleweed. Similarly, some thoughts simply should have no place in our lives.
Response: LORD God, today I choose to think thoughts that lift me up and bring me closer to you. With your help I reject those thoughts that bring me down. Holy Spirit blow through my life. Amen.
Your Turn: What thoughts bring you down? What thoughts bring you joy and victory?
Happy Independence Day to my American readers.