O God, do not remain silent. (Ps.83:1)
Expanded Passage: Psalm 83
Country music and hymns formed the soundtrack of my upbringing. Emmylou Harris and Kenny Rogers sang about things going wrong: you lost your love, your self-respect, and sometimes even your house and pet! Charles Wesley and Fanny Crosby wrote about things going right: God was glorious and gracious, Easter followed Good Friday, and faith brought salvation now and heaven hereafter. Country music taught me lament. Hymns taught me praise. The Psalms teach both.
Psalm 83:1–8 is a lament. Like Daniel surrounded by deadly political foes and lions (Dan. 6), in this psalm all Israel is surrounded by deadly military foes. A coalition of neighboring nations is growling (Ps. 83:2) and ganging up on God’s people to destroy them. Then in verses 9–15, the psalmist begs God for help based on God’s track record: as God saved Israel from invaders in the days of Deborah and Gideon (Judg. 4–8), so let him do it again! Then God will receive the honor he deserves (Ps. 83:16–18).
Like the psalmist, we can trust God’s track record. Charles Wesley wrote his hymns amid a history-changing revival. Fanny Crosby didn’t let lifelong blindness keep her from a life of worship and good works. The God of Deborah and Gideon, Charles and Fanny, Good Friday and Easter Sunday—he can deliver from whatever threats surround us. Don’t make lament your last word.
Lament for present difficulties, but praise God for past and future victories.
Jerome Van Kuiken is a missionary kid, a Wesleyan minister, and professor of Christian thought at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.