Soul Spoilers
Psalm 83:1-18
Keep not you silence, O God: hold not your peace, and be not still, O God.…

Dismissing from our consideration the probable historical occasion of this psalm (for which see 2 Chronicles 20.), we take it as a vivid representation of the enemies and destroyers of the soul. Now -

I. THERE ARE SUCH. Whoever yet sought to live the Divine life, and to walk with God in faithful obedience, that did not speedily find out that there were enemies of his soul such as are set forth here? For see -


1. Numerous. What a vast horde are named as Israel's foes (vers. 6-8)! And is not this true of our foes? They are not single, or few, or scattered; but they seem arrayed in troops, and meet us at every turn of our lives.

2. And very strong. Read the history and see the dismay which filled the minds of the devout Jehoshaphat and his people at the awful confederacy which had come against them. And the half-despairing soul, often and often, is tempted to throw down his weapons and to abandon a war in which he seems to have no possible hope of victory. The world, the flesh, the devil are, any one of them, too strong for him; how much more when confederate together, as they often are!

3. United. (Ver. 5.) Everything at times seems to be in league against the soul, as were Israel's enemies against them, our Lord's enemies against him. They come from all quarters (see vers: 6-78.); foes from the south and east are first named, then those from the west, and lastly those from the north. Thus was Israel begirt and shut in with foes who, usually hostile to one another, were now one in hatred to Israel.

4. Deadly. It was not a mere raid against Israel, but a fixed purpose to utterly destroy (ver. 4). And none other is the purpose of our soul's adversaries - not merely to annoy or injure, but to destroy (1 Peter 5:8).

5. Subtle. (Ver. 3.) Like "a bolt out of the blue," so often is the assault upon our soul. At an hour when we think not, in ways we never dreamt of, when off our guard, when it seemed not only unlikely but impossible, - so does our crafty foe assail.

III. THEY SEEM SOMETIMES TO BE VICTORIOUS. (Ver. 2.) We seem to hear the "tumult" of their loud exultation, and to see the haughty lifting up of the head. So it seemed to Elijah (1 Kings 19.), so it has seemed to thousands of sore-beset ones since.

IV. GOD APPEARS TO KEEP SILENT AND INACTIVE. (Ver. 1.) He seems to let things go their own way; our cry does not. avail; the bitter agony of our soul does not seem to move him. This is terrible; but the experience of Israel of old is, not unfrequently, that of God's Israel still - but only for a while.


1. That these enemies are confederate not so much against us as against God. They are "thine enemies" (vers. 2, 5, 18). Therefore we may look away from our weakness to the infinite power of God.

2. That God has vindicated his Name in days gone by. (Vers. 9-11.) Oh, it is blessed when in darkness and difficulty to remember God's deliverances of old, how completely our enemies were overthrown, how he made them "like Oreb and like Zeeb"! Memories such as these stay and strengthen the soul.


1. There must be no idea of compromise. Israel desired the complete extermination of their foes. There is a burning ferocity of hate in these verses (9-17), which is utterly alien from the spirit of Christ towards our human foes; it is the spirit of the Old Testament, not that of the New. But in regard to our spiritual foes, the would be spoilers of our soul, we may, we should, we must, cherish a spirit of uncompromising hate.

2. The honour of the Lord's Name must be our motive. For his sake (vers. 16, 18) we are thus to pray. - S.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: {A Song or Psalm of Asaph.} Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

WEB: God, don't keep silent. Don't keep silent, and don't be still, God.

Mental Tendencies in Relation to God
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