O God, do not remain quiet;
Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still.
2 For behold, Your enemies make an uproar,
And those who hate You have exalted themselves.
3 They make shrewd plans against Your people,
And conspire together against Your treasured ones.
4 They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation,
That the name of Israel be remembered no more.”
5 For they have conspired together with one mind;
Against You they make a covenant:
6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
Moab and the Hagrites;
7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Assyria also has joined with them;
They have become a help to the children of Lot. [g]Selah.
9 Deal with them as with Midian,
As with Sisera and Jabin at the torrent of Kishon,
10 Who were destroyed at En-dor,
Who became as dung for the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb
And all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 Who said, “Let us possess for ourselves
The pastures of God.”
13 O my God, make them like the whirling dust,
Like chaff before the wind.
14 Like fire that burns the forest
And like a flame that sets the mountains on fire,
15 So pursue them with Your tempest
And terrify them with Your storm.
16 Fill their faces with dishonor,
That they may seek Your name, O Lord.
17 Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever,
And let them be humiliated and perish,
18 That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord,
Are the Most High over all the earth. Psalm 83, NASB
Psalm 83, is another example of what Brueggemann would call a psalm of disorientation. But what is different about this psalm of disorientation is that it is a lament over Israel. The ancient Israelites not only complained to God over their own individual lives but over their nation. Specifically in psalm 83, ancient Israel complains about how badly other surrounding nations were treating the country. Israel like most other countries believes that God has a special relationship with it. The whole Old Testament or Hebrew Bible is a narrative of Israel’s special relationship with God. This relationship begins with the covenant God made with Abraham not while he is in his home country of Ur, but while he is an alien or stranger in Canaan. This covenantal relationship continues with the descendants of Abraham until Israel becomes a nation that believed that God loved Israel over every other nation. This is the backdrop and thinking of the writer of this psalm, “Israel is God’s chosen nation and we are God’s chosen people.” Had not God made this promise during the Exodus? Had not God said, “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’” Exodus 19:5-6a, NASB.
The psalmist draws on this promise when the writer says to God that the enemies of Israel are really God’s enemy. The writer pleads with God not to remain silent or still. According to the psalmist while God remains quiet and still, God’s enemies are bringing about pandemonium. God’s enemies not only bring about chaos, but the enemies of God hate God and have exalted themselves above God. The enemies of God and Israel, “. . . make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones.” The writer then says to God, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more. ”For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant.” The enemies of God and the enemies of Israel (the Edomites, Ishmaelites, Moabites, Hagrites, Gebalites, Ammonites, Amalekites, Philistines, inhabitants of Tyre, Assyrians, and Midianites) want “to make the name of Israel be remembered no more.” The psalmist pleads with God to wipe out God’s enemies, which are also Israel’s enemies. If Israel is destroyed then who will invoke the name of God in this world.
The psalmist writes that the enemies of God and Israel said, “Let us possess for ourselves The pastures of God.” The reason why this was so disturbing to the psalmist was that the pastures of God or the land was ultimately considered to be God’s property. (See Leviticus 25:23.) There were strict rules on how land could be transferred to another person. Verses 13-18, gives us a vivid picture of how the psalmist wants God to treat the enemy. The writer wants the enemy to be like whirling dust, chaff before the wind, a fire that burns the forest, pursue them with Your tempest, terrify them with Your storm, fill their faces with dishonor, ashamed and dismayed forever and humiliated and perish, but still the psalmist wants all of this to happen so that the enemy of God and Israel will seek God.
Ancient Israel was not afraid to bring everything aspect of their lives to God. There was no shame in bringing raw feelings to God. They knew that their God was big enough to handle all of it and wanted to hear it all. We do this today in our songs, writings, pictures and other art forms, but we think it is sacrilegious to take these thoughts and feelings to God.
In their psalms of disorientation, the Israelites did not only complained of being wronged by others or the enemy of the community, but they also lamented about what the nation of Israel was during wrong. (See Psalm 81. This psalm is interesting because it is written from God’s viewpoint on what Israel is doing wrong.) I want us to be like the Israelites and take everything to God. But, like the Israelites I want us to ask ourselves, “How can use us to change our communities, our country, or our world?”
 Walter Brueggemann, Spirituality of the Psalms (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2002).