Friday, June 19, 2015

Psalm 83--The Gideon Connection

Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.
Psalm 83:11-15

Who in the world are Oreb and Zeeb?  Have you ever heard of Zebah and Zalmunna?  The worship leader/prophet, Asaph, mentions these kings being defeated by God’s chosen in his work, Psalm 83—a very prophetic passage.  In this worship song prophecy Israel’s immediate neighbors attack with the sole purpose of annihilating them, “that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance (Psalm 83:4b).”  There are those who see this battle, which is also found in many other scriptural passages such as Obadiah, Zephaniah, and Ezekiel to name a few, as possibly one of the next events on the prophetic horizon.  It is certain that Israel’s neighbors have the same intentions that these historic Midianite kings had, “Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession (Psalm 83:12).”

These four kings are all associated with the victories brought about by Gideon the Judge.  Ironically, there are many parallels to modern Israel, the story of Gideon, and the defeated kings.  First, these kings, immediate neighbors to the east of Israel, rode under a crescent symbol.  Notice this passage from Judges 8:21, “Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks.”  The word translated “ornaments” is very interesting.  In Isaiah 3:18 it is translated as, “…their round tires like the moon.”  The word, saharon, means an ornament with a crescent shape.  One might wonder what the armies of Israel’s current neighbors may use on their battle flags?

Second, the use of Gideon’s enemies is noteworthy because of the name by which God revealed Himself to Gideon as He called him to battle.  What is the central issue today with Israel and its neighbors?  Peace.  Of course, Israel’s neighbors in the days of Judges wanted plunder and not peace.  They wanted, “the houses of God in possession (Psalm 83:12).” If their demands were not met then war was inevitable.  Gideon wanted peace too when God called him.  We find him in a winepress trying to thresh a meager portion of wheat while maintaining the status quo.  After a pack of excuses by Gideon who is called a mighty man of valor while hiding from his enemy, he built an altar and worship God by the name YHVH Shalom, the LORD our Peace!  Did you catch it?  God is calling Gideon to battle against his neighbors who are stealing covenant land and harassing the population while calling Himself, the LORD our Peace.  It is certain the land for peace will utterly fail.  Israel’s current enemies don’t want peace—they want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.  Man wants land for peace, but the LORD alone is Israel’s peace!  HE will direct the upcoming battle and its certain outcome which will cause Israel to triple in size!

Next, Gideon is a turning point in the book of Judges (see Gideon--Israel's Turning Point linked below).  All judges before him are good judges while those after him are compromised in their walk with God and conflicted with their values and beliefs.  For more on this see the old series about the structure of the Book of Judges (links below).   Maybe God is going to reverse this pattern.  Maybe the Psalm 83 War will be a turning point in Israel’s history.  It may be the impetus of a great future revival of Judaism.  In essence, the pattern of apostasy is being turned in the end of days rather than apostasy turning Israel around in their beginning of days.  Also, a greater judge than Gideon may be on the way.  Maybe God will send another Othniel—Israel’s first Judge from the tribe of Judah?  Othiniel’s name is peculiar.  It means the Lion of GOD.  It is certain that the Psalm 83 War will be a sign that Israel’s greatest Judge is on the way.  Is He not called THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH—Jesus Christ the Righteous?  There is no salvation outside of Him!!!

Finally, of all of the victories the Holy Spirit inspired prophet could have used, he chose one during a time when Israel had no temple.  Personally, I think that the Psalm 83 War will bring about the opportunity for Israel to build the next temple.  Sadly, this will be the antichrist temple, but hold on my child because joy comes in the morning.  Jesus Christ is Soon2come!

A Starting Point

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