Apr 10 17

A Glimpse of Israel Today

vmsmith

Psalm 83

Each week as I prepare to write articles on the Psalms, I read a variety of sources to get their thoughts on the practical applications taught in these scriptures. I do not always read from modern sources; in fact, I prefer old commentators much more than the new modern ones. Since a great number of these psalms deal with God’s relationship with Israel, the old writers have no insight into what is going on with Israel today.

I was reading commentary on the 83rd Psalm from the Expositor’s Bible Commentary compiled at the end of the 19th century, which said, “This psalm is a cry for help against a world in arms. The failure of all attempts to point to a period when all the allies here represented as confederate against Israel were or could have been united in assailing it, inclines one to suppose that the enumeration of enemies is not history, but poetic idealization. The psalm would then be, not the memorial of a fact, but the expression of the standing relation between Israel and the outlying heathendom.”I disagree with some of these comments since I believe there is often too much allegorizing of texts, but if this commentary is correct, we could pick any point in Israel’s history and say there is a general animosity between her and all other people, which leaves the world consistently opposed to any progress Israel might make. The author would then expect that at any point Israel should reassert herself, she would be pushed back down. When this happens the opposition is so strong, it takes divine intervention for Israel to overcome. This author would probably be amazed at how accurate his application of the text is if he could compare it to the current world’s treatment of Israel. The author wrote without the perspective of Israel’s restoration as a nation in 1948. In his lifetime, he had never seen how God and Israel interact.

I disagree with some of these comments since I believe there is often too much allegorizing of texts, but if this commentary is correct, we could pick any point in Israel’s history and say there is a general animosity between her and all other people, which leaves the world consistently opposed to any progress Israel might make. The author would then expect that at any point Israel should reassert herself, she would be pushed back down. When this happens the opposition is so strong, it takes divine intervention for Israel to overcome. This author would probably be amazed at how accurate his application of the text is if he could compare it to the current world’s treatment of Israel. The author wrote without the perspective of Israel’s restoration as a nation in 1948. In his lifetime, he had never seen how God and Israel interact.After considering this commentary, I consulted a newer commentary written by William MacDonald (1989) which begins with a brief synopsis of the 1967 Israeli-Arab conflict. This is referred to as the Six-Day War simply because in only six days Israel defeated the armies of four countries with combined forces nearly twice their own. This was also known as the Miracle War because no one would think Israel could possibly win.

After considering this commentary, I consulted a newer commentary written by William MacDonald (1989) which begins with a brief synopsis of the 1967 Israeli-Arab conflict. This is referred to as the Six-Day War simply because in only six days Israel defeated the armies of four countries with combined forces nearly twice their own. This was also known as the Miracle War because no one would think Israel could possibly win.

It is not often we have an opportunity to stare fulfilled prophecy in the face, but this was truly a glimpse into Psalm 83 which describes superior forces that attacked Israel in the past. In these conflicts, Israel was outnumbered, and yet victory was assured because God’s hand was upon His chosen nation. Because of Israel’s restoration as a state and the modern example of God’s miraculous intervention, many believe the end times are upon us. I do not know if this is true. Israel could rise and fall many times before the Lord comes, so I do not consider any current event as an infallible marker. The only current event that will convince me is the shout of the archangel and the blowing of the trumpet of God.

The contrast of two commentaries, one old and one new, is what piqued my interest in this subject. It shows that God works in all times. The old commentators had only ancient records to deal with. Not until our time have we been blessed to see God actually working with Israel. Since we have seen it, our responsibility to believe is greater than at any time before.

Pastor V. Mark Smith