Who Offended Thee?

The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
Moab and the Hagrites;
Psalms 83:6

Persecute me and I will bring your name before my Father. That’s a warning. I will tell Him who you are and what you are so He may find you.

The following is taken directly from The Treasury of David by Spurgeon.

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EXPOSITION

The tabernacles of Edom. Nearest of kin, yet first in enmity. Their sire despised the birthright, and they despise the possessors of it. Leaving their rock built mansions for the tents of war, the Edomites invaded the land of Israel.

And the Ishmaelites. A persecuting spirit ran in their blood, they perpetuated the old grudge between the child of the bondwoman and the son of the freewoman.

Of Moab. Born of incest, but yet a near kinsman, the feud of Moab against Israel was very bitter. Little could righteous Lot have dreamed that his unhallowed seed would be such unrelenting enemies of his uncle Abraham’s posterity.

And the Hagarenes — perhaps descendants of Hagar by a second husband. Whoever they may have been, they cast their power into the wrong scale, and with all their might sought the ruin of Israel. Children of Hagar, and all others who dwell around Mount Sinai, which is in Arabia, are of the seed which gendereth to bondage, and hence they hate the seed according to promise.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

The tabernacle of Edom, etc. The prophet having entered his suit and complaint in general, he comes to particulars, and tells God who they are that had done this. God might say, Who are these that conspire against me, and against my people, and hidden ones? Lord, saith the prophet, I will tell thee who they are… He names some ten nations that joined together against one poor Israel.

It is a thing you should observe, that when the people of God are conspired against, God rests not in general complaints, but he will know who they are. As I told you, He is the Lord of Hosts, the great general. When there is mutiny the general asks, what officer, or what corporal, or what sergeant, or who did begin the mutiny? and it is a fearful thing when the poor persecuted saint shall bring thy name as a persecutor before the God of heaven. When a poor saint shall go home and say, There is a confederacy in London, a conspiracy against the saints of God; and when a poor saint shall say, such a magistrate, such a minister, such a man in such a street, such a woman set her husband against the saints, and against thine ordinances; it is a fearful thing. Therefore I remember a blessed woman, if it be true that is reported of her in the Book of Martyrs, that when the wicked abused her, and reproached her, and oppressed her, she would say no more but this, “I will go home and tell my Father” give over, or else I will bring your names before God, and tell him: there was all, and that was enough; for he would presently take it up. A man may better bear a pound of dirt on his feet, than a grain of dirt in his eye; the saints are “the apple of God’s eye.” — Walter Cradock.

Hagarenes. These people dwelt on the east of Gilead; and were nearly destroyed in the days of Saul, being totally expelled from their country, 1 Chron 5:10, but afterwards recovered some strength and consequence. — Adam Clarke.

Ver. 6-8. It may be observed that these were on all sides of the land of Israel; the Edomites, Ishmaelites, and Amalekites, were on the south; the Moabites, Ammonites, and Hagarenes, were on the east; the Assyrians on the north; and the Philistines, Gebalites, and Tyrians, on the west; so that Israel was surrounded on all sides with enemies, as the Lord’s people are troubled on every side, 2 Chron 4:8; and so the Gog and Magog army, of which some understand this, will encompass the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city, Rev 20:9. — John Gill.

Ver. 6-8. The enemies of Israel, as enumerated by the psalmist, fall into four main divisions:

1st, those most nearly connected with the Israelites themselves by the ties of blood relationship, the descendants of Esau and Ishmael;

2ndly, the two branches of the descendants of Lot along with their respective Arabian auxiliaries, viz., the Moabites, who had engaged the assistance of the Hagarenes, and the Ammonites, who had gathered round their standard the Giblites and Amalekites;

3rdly, the inhabitants of the coast, the Philistines and Tyrians;

4thly, the more distant Assyrians.

Of all these the bitterest in their hostility to Israel were those who were the most nearly allied to them in blood, — the Edomites. Their hostility was founded upon hatred. From their conduct to the Israelites through a long course of years it would seem as though in them were lastingly perpetuated that older hatred wherewith their forefather Esau had hated Jacob because of Isaac’s blessing. And though they had once and again succeeded, according to the prophecy, in breaking Israel’s yoke from off their neck, yet they never could wrest away from Israel the possession of the birthright, and with it of the promises, which their ancestors had profanely despised; from Israel, not from Edom, was the Redeemer of the world to spring, and in Israel were all the families of the earth to be blessed. The Edomites may accordingly be appropriately viewed as the types of those whom the Church of Christ has ever found her bitterest foes, the sceptics who have refused to acknowledge that redemption through a personal Redeemer, on which, as on a basis, the church is founded, whose intellectual pride is offended by the humbling doctrines of Christianity, and who hate those that hold them for their possession of blessings which they have wilfully neglected; whose human learning has nevertheless all along been subservient on the whole to the edification of the church, in spite of the violence with which they have striven, and for a while, as it should sometimes appear, successfully, to gain the mastery over her by opposing her, and to exercise a temporary dominion. Dwelling themselves in tabernacles, they cannot bear that others, more blessed that they, should have the houses of God in possession: “owning themselves to be astray, and unable to find the way to the truth, they are yet most importunate and imperious that others should come away from the ancient paths, and try to join them, or at least, wander as they are wandering.” In conjunction with the Edomites, the psalmist makes mention of the Ishmaelites. And these, as the descendants of the bondwoman, may fitly represent those Jewish opponents of Christianity, still, perhaps, locally, if not generally, formidable, who in their rejection of Christian doctrine have been swayed by the same feelings of intellectual pride as the sceptics of Christian descent; who professing to hold fast to that covenant of Mount Sinai which gendereth to bondage, persecuted, so long as they were able, those born after the Spirit.

In the descendants of Lot and their Arabian auxiliaries, we have the types of a different class of foes. The historical origin of the former marks them as the appropriate representatives of the slaves of sinful lusts; who hate the church not for the humbling tone of her doctrines, but for the standard of holiness which she exacts and for which she is continually witnessing. And experience shews how such persons are wont, in their attacks upon the church, to enlist into their service those who are more wildly, but at the same time more ignorantly, unholy than themselves; how in order, if possible, to uproot those fences and safeguards of the law of holiness on which, having transgressed them, they hate to look, they appeal to the unbridled passions of the lawless multitude by whom the very existence of the fences had been utterly disregarded. From the enemies of the Church who are animated by feelings of positive hatred we pass to those who act from calculation rather than passion, and whose proceeding are all directed with a view to their own earthly aggrandisement. The Philistines and Tyrians had engaged in the hostile confederacy with the hope of obtaining Israelitish captives, from whom they might reap a profit by selling them abroad as slaves. It does not appear that they regarded the Israelites in themselves with other feelings than those of mere selfish indifference. Both nations had tendered their service to Israel in the days of Israel’s prosperity; for the Philistines had probably furnished the Cherethites and Pelethites of David’s body guard, and the Tyrians had furnished Solomon with materials and workmen for the building of the temple: both nations were now seeking to enrich themselves at Israel’s expense in the days of Israel’s adversity. And these then are the fitting types of all who in their varying professions of friendliness or hostility to the Church of God are actuated by the mere mercenary desire of lucre; favouring, and even zealously favouring her interests, when they can procure a good recompense for their services; unhesitatingly combining with her bitterest enemies to vilify and despoil her, whenever the opportunity offers of increasing their worldly substance thereby. The last class of enemies are those of whom Assyria is the type; the worldly potentates, whether ecclesiastical or temporal, papal or imperial, who are unscrupulously ready to employ all means for the ultimate accomplishment of their one object, that of extending and consolidating their dominion.

Such potentates seem to represent most truly that determined and resolute selfishness, which, to eyes that are not dazzled by the grandeur of its proportions or the gorgeousness in which it is arrayed, must ever appear as one of the most terrible embodiments of the enmity of the world to God. Pride of intellect and unbelief, — unholiness and lawlessness of life, — covetousness, — worldly ambition, — such are the characteristics of four important classes of those by whom God’s church is threatened. — Joseph Francis Thrupp.

Life Out Of Prison

Here is a letter I received on tips for writing to prisoners from a former inmate. He gives a glimpse of the struggles and difficulties of adapting once released.
Hello Robert,

As I adapted to the prison environment and culture during my incarceration, I didn’t recognize what a profound effect it was having on me. Constant vigilance, oppressive routines and a lack of freedom to make my own decisions deeply affected me over time. Some would say that I was becoming “institutionalized.”

When the time came for my release, my wife, Hendrina, was waiting at the prison gate. On our way home, we stopped at a restaurant. As we sat at the table with our menus, I stared blankly at the vast number of choices. I was completely overwhelmed. Hendrina noticed this and stepped in to order a meal for me.

If I couldn’t even order from a menu, how was I going to navigate parole? How was I going to deal with the daunting difficulties that lay ahead?

As time moved forward, I felt as though unrelenting adversity was always present. Fear and anxiety kept creeping into my mind, no matter how hard I tried to fight them off. There is little doubt in my mind why so many people who are released from prison are incarcerated again within three years.

As you think about what to write in your letters this month, consider this:

Although life’s circumstances sometimes seem insurmountable, we still need to strive to make healthy decisions and find paths to move forward. A good first step that I’ve discovered is to take a deep, cleansing breath and notice my breathing. A powerful way to do this is through what is called a “breath prayer.” This form of prayer can help us quiet our minds, release any negative thoughts and focus on the source of our strength. I encourage you to try this prayer practice and share it with your students.

How does breath prayer work? Just take a simple phrase rooted in Scripture and speak it out loud or silently with the rhythm of your breathing. Here are a few examples of breath prayers:

Inhale deeply, saying: “I can’t do this.”

Exhale slowly, saying: “But through You, Lord, I can.” (Philippians 4:13)

Inhale deeply, saying: “You are my refuge . . .”

Exhale slowly, saying: “. . . and my strength.” (Psalm 46:1)

As you take that first cleansing breath, think about any challenges you are facing and commit them to the God who goes before you. Release your fear and anxiety as you exhale, remembering that God is always with you.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Thank you,

Doug Cupery

Church Mobilization Director