Prayer Based on Experience and on History
Psalm 83:8-11
Assur also is joined with them: they have helped the children of Lot. Selah.…

Do unto them as unto the Midianites. Prayers which apparently express a desire for revenge are often misunderstood. Deliverance from national enemies of necessity involves the discomfiture and destruction of those enemies; and therefore a poet may ask for that discomfiture, not because he is thinking of the harm done to the enemy, but because he wants a figurative way of asking for the deliverance and safety of his people. Revengeful utterances are often no more than poetical forms, which are quite misused when unduly pressed. And again, when we recall historical events, we are free from revengeful feeling, though the calamities of beaten foes may be specially prominent in oar review. The prayer of the psalmist here is for a gracious Divine deliverance from these confederated foes that threaten Israel. He fortifies his prayer with persuasions drawn from the remembrance of God's previous deliverances, and he magnifies his confidence in God's ability to help now, by thinking how overwhelming was the destruction of God's enemies on other occasions. Compare our anxiety to know how many were slain on the field of battle. The two victories specially recalled are those of Deborah and Barak over the host of Sisera, and of Gideon over the mingled hosts of Midianites. The subject suggested is the use we may make of Scripture knowledge; of the experiences of Christ's Church; and of ourselves and our own lives. We stand in the very midst of Divine dealings, Divine interventions, Divine deliverances. They have been abundant in the past, and they have meant the effective mastery of all kinds of foes.

I. WE MAY LEARN THAT NO STRANGE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUND US. God's people have, over and over again, been in precisely such conditions as we are in now. Our trouble is no surprise to our God.

II. WE MAY FREELY CRY FOR DIVINE HELP, AS THOSE HAVE DONE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US. They cried; they were encouraged to cry. No limit was ever put on the praying of earnest souls.

III. WE MAY USE THE EXPERIENCE OF OTHERS AS THE PLEA IN OUR PRAYERS. We can always say, "Thou hast helped;" and so we can make a personal plea, and say, "O Lord, the Helper, help me!" Constantly, in Bible prayers, what God has been to his people, and what he has done for them, is brought to his mind.

IV. WE MAY HAVE THE FULLEST CONFIDENCE THAT WHAT GOD HAS BEEN HE STILL WILL BE. Resister of the wicked. Overwhelmer of the proud. Defender of his people. Deliverer of the imperilled saints. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.

WEB: Assyria also is joined with them. They have helped the children of Lot. Selah.

The Obscurity and Security of Good Men
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