Friday, February 17, 2012

Psalm 83 - God's Power to Deliver

LINK: Psalm 83

BACKGROUND

Psalm 83 is our last psalm of Asaph (or one of his descendants).  He laments Judah being surrounded by many enemies set on crushing her. He alludes to past victories through Gideon at Midian (Judges 7-8) and against Sisera through Deborah and Barak (Judges 4-5). He prayed for God to destroy their enemies and let them know that God "alone [is] the most High over all the earth" (Psalm 83:18), and that other nations should not trifle with God's cherished people.

REFLECTION

A big (and theological) word describing God's power is omnipotence, and it comes from two Latin words, omni, "all," and potens, "powerful." He is all-powerful and able to do anything that is consistent with His nature:
Your right hand, O LORD, 
is majestic in power . . .
(Exodus 15:6)

The LORD, strong and mighty, 
the LORD, mighty in battle!
(Psalm 24:8)

Nothing is too hard for you.
(Jeremiah 32:17)

We have an all-powerful God behind us to accomplish His purposes through us even when we are overwhelmed and "hemmed in."

Maybe you feel "hemmed in" today and overwhelmed by your circumstances and unable to see a way out. I have felt that at times in my life.

A few years back, I was so overwhelmed with a bad situation that the only thing I could do was rely on God's power to get me out! David's words resonated with me:


For there is no one who regards me;
There is no escape for me;

No one cares for my soul. 
(Psalm 142:4)

(I should clarify that the "no one" regarding or caring were in reference to the people in the specific situation. People outside the situation cared a great deal and were all counseling me to GET OUT and GET OUT quick!)
I cried out to You, O LORD;
I said, "You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
Give heed to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are too strong for me.
 
(Psalm 142:5-6)
And they were too strong for me but not too strong for God. For years, I tried to fight a battle that only God could win. (As you know from reading my posts, self-sufficiency is a besetting sin.) The years of fighting on my own strength had brought me very low. I cried and cried over this situation until I finally rested and relied on God's power to deliver me. I felt much like David and cried out with very similar words:
Bring my soul out of prison,
So that I may give thanks to Your name;
The righteous will surround me,
For You will deal bountifully with me. (Psalm 142:7)
And He most absolutely did deal bountifully with me, above and beyond! He brought my soul out of prison, and I want to give thanks to His most holy name. It is so amazing to be meditating on this psalm today because I was just taking a prayer walk this week and thanking God for surrounding me (overwhelming me, really) with righteous, loving, and caring people. God has absolutely dealt bountifully with me since my years "in prison" around some pretty cruel and uncaring people. Glory to God!

APPLICATION

Are you feeling "hemmed in" like Asaph and David? Can you rely on God's power for deliverance?

Do a mini-study on the power of God and use this list as a jumping off point:

Power of God, The.
1. Is one of his attributes. Ps 62:11.
2. Expressed by the
.........a. Voice of God. Ps 29:3,5; 68:33.
.........b. Finger of God. Ex 8:19; Ps 8:3.
.........c. Hand of God. Ex 9:3, 15; Isa 48:13.
.........d. Arm of God. Job 40:9; Isa 52:10.
.........e. Thunder of his power. Job 26:14.
3. Described as
.........a. Great. Ps 79:11; Na 1:3.
.........b. Strong. Ps 89:13; 136:12.
.........c. Glorious. Ex 15:6; Isa 63:12.
........d. Mighty. Job 9:4; Ps 89:13.
........e. Everlasting. Isa 26:4; Ro 1:20.
........f. Sovereign. Ro 9:21.
........g. Effectual. Isa 43:13; Eph 3:7.
........h. Irresistible. De 32:39; Da 4:35.
.........i. Incomparable. Ex 15:11,12; De 3:24; Job 40:9; Ps 89:8.
.........j. Unsearchable. Job 5:9; 9:10.
.........k. Incomprehensible. Job 26:14; Ec 3:11.
4. All things possible to. Mt 19:26.
5. Nothing too hard for. Ge 18:14; Jer 32:27.
6. Can save by many or by few. 1 Sa 14:6.
7. Is the source of all strength. 1 Ch 29:12; Ps 68:35.
8. Exhibited in
.........a. Creation. Ps 102:25; Jer 10:12.
.........b. Establishing and governing all things. Ps 65:6; 66:7.
.........c. The miracles of Christ. Lu 11:20.
.........d. The resurrection of Christ. 2Co 13:4; Col 2:12.
.........e. The resurrection of saints. 1 Co 6:14.
..........f. Making the gospel effectual. Ro 1:16; 1 Co 1:18, 24.
..........g. Delivering his people. Ps 106:8.
.........h. The destruction of the wicked. Ex 9:16; Ro 9:22.

(Torrey, R. (1995, c1897). The new topical text book : A scriptural text book for the use of ministers, teachers, and all Christian workers. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos research Systems, Inc.)

PRAYER (from 2009)

Almighty God, we give You praise for Your power. The snow blanketing the ground this morning reminded me of Your power in creation. The sun shining into my "happy place" right now reminds me of Your blinding power to shed light on every situation. Thank You God for Your power to deliver us by Your almighty hand. We give You praise for Yours is the kingdom and the POWER and the glory forever and ever, Amen.
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