When I was little, I used to watch WWF wrestling every Saturday from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM. One of my favorite wrestlers was the Big Boss Man. He was billed as a corrections officer from Cobb County, GA. It was one of the few wrestling personas that was actually true. At one time, he was a corrections officer in that area. He started his career as a “heel” (a bad guy), but eventually turned “face” (a good guy). He dressed in a security outfit and carried a big night stick around. As you can imagine by his wrestling name, he was a bully. Quite an act. He died of a heart attack in 2004 at the age of 42.
Psalm 83 is a cry to God to rough up His enemies, who are scheming to destroy Israel, who have “made a covenant” against Him (as verse 5 puts it). To read this psalm, you would think that the author is calling on God to just bully these enemies and wipe them out. But there is a reason that the author calls upon God to throw down UFC style. Look what the author writes in Psalm 83:16-18,
Fill their faces with dishonor, that they may seek Your name, O Lord. Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever; and let them be humiliated and perish, that they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.
People turn to God in times of change and pain.
It’s hard to tell if the author wants the foreign oppressors to turn to God, or to just come to the realization that God is “the Big Boss Man” and they aren’t. What should our response be to those who don’t know God and actively seek to wipe out His memory?
That God would make Himself known to them, through whatever means necessary.
That sounds a little harsh. That sounds cruel. Because that means the possibility of pain and suffering. Would I personally wish pain and suffering on people? No, but this is different–it isn’t motivated by revenge or payback of any sort. It isn’t motivated by a psycho desire to see people suffer. It’s a desire to see people come to know God. He uses many things to get people’s attention. Many reject His revelation through nature; His revelation through Jesus; His revelation through the Bible. Sometimes, pain and change are the only thing that get people’s attention. In some, it causes further rejection of God. But in others, it is a kind of “wake up call.” It draws their attention to God, and from there He makes Himself known further through His revelation.
Do I prefer this avenue to getting to know God? Absolutely not. It would be awesome if everyone simply responded to Jesus because of a kind word, a conversation, or an act of compassion. But for some, it doesn’t happen. It takes an episode of change or pain to draw their focus on God.
For those of us who think this cruel, consider this…
The pain of this life is cake compared to an eternity separated from God in hell.