Psalm 83—Shame them that they know You are the Most High

(18 verses, 1:15 to read)


What I am about to READ

  • An appeal for God to shame the enemies of the faith, as He has done in the past, that they would know Him.


  • Verse 1, an appeal to God for help against the enemies who plot evil.
  • Verses 2-8, the plans of the enemies.
  • Verses 9-12, an appeal for God to deal with the present enemies as He has dealt with past enemies.
  • Verses 13-18, a prayer for God to shame them that they would seek refuge in Him.


  • Regarding the list of peoples who plot against God’s people, The Lutheran Study Bible offers this as a footnote: “Ten of Israel’s closest neighbors and constant adversaries are listed as making a covenant against God’s covenant people. Edom. Esau’s descendants. Cf Gen 25:30. Ishmaelites. Descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son through Hagar. Cf Gn 25:12-18. Moab…Ammon. Lot’s descendants through incest. Cf Gn 19:36-38. Hagrites. Possibly descendants of Hagar, Abraham’s concubine. Gebal. City of Phoenicia. Amalek. Descendants of Esau through his son Eliphaz. Cf Gn 36:12. Philistia. Descendants of Ham through his son Egypt. Cf Gn 10:6, 13.”
  • Verses 9-12 remember how God dealt with past enemies. Again from The Lutheran Study Bible: “Psalmist recalls some of God’s stunning victories for Israel during the days of the exodus and the conquest of Canaan. Median. Defeated by Moses and Gideon. Cf Nu 31:1-12; Jgs 7. Sisera. Canaanite military commander under Jabin. Jabin. Canaanite king. Sizer and Jabin were killed in the days of Deborah. Cf Jgs 4. Oreb and Zeeb. Canaanite kings defeated by Gideon. Cf Jgs 8:11-12.”
  • The many references above serve as a remembrance of the mighty works of God which are a source of comfort for any who are afflicted today.
  • Make sure not to overlook the closing verses. What is the psalmist desire for his enemies? Not their destruction, but their salvation! Verses 16-18, read between the lines. Shame them! That they seek You. Shame and dismay them forever, let them perish in disgrace! That they know that You are the Most High God over all the earth. Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. We pray that God destroy evil and bring to nothing all the plans of the evil one. We also pray for the repentance and faith of even those who hate us.


  • As an example of a present day prayer that remembers God’s mighty works and calls God to act, consider Luther’s Flood Prayer as it appears in the Lutheran Service Book: “Almighty and eternal God, according to Your strict judgment You condemned the unbelieving world through the flood, yet according to Your great mercy You preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all. You drowned heart-hearted Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea, yet led Your people Israel through the water on dry ground, prefiguring this washing of Your Holy Baptism. Through the Baptism in the Jordan of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood, and a lavish washing away of sin. We pray that You would behold [Name] according to Your boundless mercy and bless him with true faith by the Holy Spirit that through this saving flood all sin in him which has been inherited from Adam and which he himself has committed since would be drowned and die. Grant that he be kept safe and secure in the holy ark of the Christian Church, being separated from the multitude of unbelievers and serving Your name at all times with a fervent spirit and a joyful hope, so that, with all believers in Your promise, he would be declared worthy of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Amen!

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group.

-Pastor Tyler Holt


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