“THEY ARE CONFEDERATE AGAINST THEE”
1. Turn in your Bible to the 83rd Psalm. Once you find the 83rd Psalm, please stand for the reading of God’s Word. Psalm 83.
2. There is a great conflict in the universe, and it’s a conflict between God and Satan, between God’s allies and the minions of the devil. Among men, it is a conflict that is played out between the redeemed and the reprobate, between the righteous and the wicked, between the Christians and the Christless.
3. Of course, the setting of this Psalm is the old dispensation, under God’s old economy, when He worked through the nation of Israel and the Jewish people to accomplish His purpose. But if you understand the great parallel between Israel in the old dispensation and the individual Christian in our dispensation, then you can mine great and profound spiritual truths from this Psalm for your personal benefit.
4. In verse 1 we see Asaph’s plea to God: “Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.” In essence, Asaph is asking God, “Please speak and demonstrate which side of the conflict You are on. Do something, O God. Do something.”
5. Verse 2: “For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.” The psalmist correctly appraises the situation as a spiritual conflict, though the trouble in that era was between nations. In like manner a child of God today understands that conflicts he is engaged in are also spiritual conflicts. And who are the antagonists but those who are God’s enemies, those who hate God. Has anything really changed in our day? No.
6. Verses 3-5: “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee.” Because they are God’s enemies they attack God’s people. And hating Jesus, they hate Christians, John 15.18. But though the destruction of God’s people is their goal, notice that “they have taken crafty counsel.”
7. God’s enemies do not always attack openly, obviously, or even immediately. Sometimes, if they see their strength to presently be too small, they will bide their time and wait. But when they see opportunity swing to their advantage they will take action, they will openly oppose the people of God, their opposition to God will become obvious.
8. Particularly notice the last phrase of verse 5: “they are confederate against thee.” That word “confederate” means covenant. In other words, there exists an agreement between individuals who are opposed to God. Countries will band together to oppose Israel. Individuals will band together to oppose God’s man or the godly woman. And all will band together against God’s Son.
9. But who are these enemies of God who have consulted together with one consent, or with one heart? Who are these enemies who are confederate against God and who mean God’s people harm? Verses 6-8: “The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah”
10. Interesting, isn’t it, that Asaph names names here? He actually points out who God’s enemies are, who the nations are who mean Israel harm and who have taken crafty counsel against God’s people, and who would, if they could, cut them off from being a nation. What a parallel to the New Testament example of the Lord Jesus Christ identifying and labeling His enemies, and the apostle Paul providing in his epistles the names of those opposed to the plan and purpose of God, who sought to harm Christ’s churches and Christ’s people.
11. Look at verses 9-17 with me:
9 Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:
10 Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:
12 Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.
13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.
14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;
15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.
16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.
17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish.
12. Here we see the psalmist calling on God to deal with His enemies in the future as He has in the past, and he remembers what God has done in the past. If you look carefully at verse 17, “Let them be confounded and troubled forever, let them be put to shame, and perish,” you will see that the destiny that awaited the enemies of God during Asaph’s span of life, when they troubled Israel, is the same destiny that awaits God’s enemies today, who trouble the child of God.
13. But the question of why God should seek vengeance is left for last. In verse 18, the psalmist writes, “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.” There is a God in heaven, Who rules in the affairs of men. And He will exact punishment against His enemies and those who conspire against His people, and who are confederate against Him.
14. Now, here is the teaching I want to impress upon you this evening, in verse 5: “they are confederate against thee.” Lost people join together with lost people against God. You seek refuge in numbers to oppose the plan and purpose of God. Sinners have a pack mentality when it comes to sinning against God and rebelling against Him.
15. Do you question whether this be true? Then turn to Proverbs 11.21: “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” You see? The wicked join hands, with interlocking arms, hoping to form something like a spiritual cable against God, with each person, each strand, strengthening the opposition to God. But will it do you any good to join hand to hand, to interlock your arms, to band together, to confederate yourselves and covenant against God? No, not at all. You will not go unpunished.
16. Consider Psalm 2.1-12:
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
17. The pattern repeats itself. The kings of the earth and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD, and against His anointed (the Lord Jesus Christ). But will their combined opposition do them any good? Not at all. He shall break them with a rod of iron, and shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
18. Brother Isenberger comes now to lead us in singing a hymn before this evening’s sermon.
1. My text for this evening is taken from Psalm 83.5: “they are confederate against thee.” Lord, there are those who today are confederate against thee. They have joined hand in hand and have deluded themselves into thinking they are immune from your wrath. I pray that today they will be instructed from your Word.
2. You may be sitting next to your spouse. You may be sitting next to your friend. You may be sitting next to your mom or dad or brother or sister. You sit there unsaved. You are not a Christian. Yet you do not think the verses I’ve read and applied refer to you at all.
3. It will be my task this evening to explain to you how they do apply to you, that you are numbered among those who are confederate against God.
4. I would like to dwell for a few minutes on three concepts that arise from our text.
1A. First, THE CONCEPT OF THE CONFEDERATES
1B. It is common for folks, when the word “confederate” is used, to think of the war between the states, with the northern army identified as the union army and the southern army identified as the confederate army. However, the word “confederate” in this verse does not refer to a war between the states, but to a spiritual war against God, a war that you are a part of.
2B. You see, the confederates mentioned in Psalm 83.5 refer to unsaved people being banded together in common cause against God. And you are just such a person. You have united with others in opposition to God, to His plan, and to His purpose. Do you deny that you have banded together with others against God? Then consider these:
3B. In Jesus’ day there were three Jewish factions, each bitterly opposed to the other two. There were the Herodians, who were political collaborators with the Romans, the Sadducees, who controlled the priesthood and denied the resurrection, and the Pharisees, who were ultra-persnickity observers of the Law. Yet despite their ongoing hatred and animosity for each other they clearly united in their opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ.
4B. And you are the same way. There are people who you cannot stand, but the two of you agree completely when it comes to committing sin and in refusing Christ’s offer of Himself as your Savior. And that is not even considering your friends and relatives who reject Christ with you. “I don’t agree with druggies and weirdos.” You don’t? In your rebellion against God you are in perfect harmony with them.
5B. That’s one subtle and unconscious reason why you like to sit with your friends during church, so you can have an accomplice in your rebellion sitting next to you, so you with your posture and gestures and sighs and mumbled comments can carry out your conspiracy of resistance to the Gospel against the LORD and against His anointed.
6B. Why do you think I ended the insanity of having all the teens sitting together in church here at Calvary Road years ago? It was to reduce some of the impact of this confederation against God. But what about when wives will not remain after church to discuss the condition of their souls because they might incur their husband’s disapproval? Or why would some parents not-so-subtly communicate to their kids that they want to go home . . . now, and not wait around to talk to the pastor? It is this confederacy against God, working to reign in those who might break ranks and get converted by the subtle application of peer pressure, or parental pressure, or spousal pressure. And you are guilty of participating in it.
7B. You see, under normal circumstances the Spirit of God deals with one person and not others. In a revival it is somewhat different, but I’m speaking of usual circumstances. So, when you are with your friends, or with your family, or in some comfortable group, and the Spirit of God seeks to separate you from the others by convicting you of your sins, seeks to break up this confederacy that sinners have against God, there is resistance.
8B. You are enticed to remain in the group, while the group seeks to wield influence to persuade you to not leave. So, you get convicted, but your spouse wants to go eat. You’re going to Hell, but your spouse wants to go eat. Or you feel the need to talk to the pastor, but your friends want to leave and do something. So, you see how the confederation works against the plan and purpose of God, and against the efforts of the people of God.
9B. And when the confederacy exerts it’s influence on you, what do you do? Why, nothing. Because you are scared of being isolated, of being alone, of being lonely, of losing your friends, even if you really have no real friends. But that is precisely what God wants to happen, so you will get saved. Lose a friend or two so you will find that friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
2A. Next, THE CONCEPT OF THE CONFLICT
1B. Notice, in our text, that “they are confederate against thee.” You are against God. And all the others in your confederacy, all the others in your covenant, are against God. Just why are you against God? Look at the beginning of verse 5: “for they have consulted together with one consent.” That word “consent” translates the Hebrew word for heart.
2B. You see, your problem is a heart problem. Like everyone else who is lost, your heart is alienated from God, your heart is opposed to God, your heart is defiant toward God. That is what you have in common with everyone else in your confederacy, a heart problem. Jeremiah 17.9 is the description of your heart that you’ve heard countless times: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” But it doesn’t bother you to have a heart like that, because you have so many comrades just like you, from whom you receive comfort and consolation.
3B. You are God’s enemy because you have a heart inclined against God. And you are so identified as God’s enemy in Romans 5.10. But your senses are dulled by the fact that you are in this with so many other people, with most other people, with almost all other people, that you are not scared, you are not worried. As a matter of fact, the only thing that really frightens you is not being a part of the group, of not being a part of those confederate against God.
4B. You pay little attention to the fact that in your present state you are against God and against His anointed, against Jesus Christ. It seems to be of little consequence to you that you are aligned against the Holy One. Never mind that Exodus 15.3 identifies God as “a man of war: JEHOVAH is his name.” It doesn’t seem to bother you at all.
5B. Or the fact that you are an eternal and undying soul who is arrayed against One Who is prepared to carry out this conflict throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Do you realize what that means? It means that long after those with whom you are now aligned have separated from you you will still face the One who counts you as an enemy. Throughout eternity you must deal with the consequences that rise from this conflict you have with God.
3A. WHICH BRINGS ME TO OUR FINAL CONCEPT, THE CONDEMNATION
1B. Think for just a moment. Did you ever think it possible to be arrayed against a moral and just God, such as the Holy One of Israel, without consequence, without condemnation? What kind of a God could my God be if He did not condemn those who are opposed to Him, if He did not punish in flames of fire you who conspire against Him, you who confederate against Him, you who covenant against Him?
2B. Why does the psalmist cry out to God for His enemies to be troubled forever, to be confounded, to be put to shame, to perish? Because it is right and proper and just. Because it is needful for God to show forth to all men that He is most high over all the earth. That is why God must break you with a rod of iron. He must shatter you like pottery thrown onto a concrete floor. He must pour out His kindled wrath on you for ages without end.
3B. “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD,” Second Chronicles 19.2. Yet that is precisely what you do, my friend. You love them that hate God. You like to play with them that hate God. You delight in the company of them that hate God. “therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.”
4B. And what will be God’s wrath? If you die before the Rapture begins God’s wrath with be Hell for you. You will die and go to Hell and suffer the horrible torment of fire and brimstone. But if the Rapture comes before you die, then wrath will begin for you with the tribulation, the great day of His wrath. And during that period of time you may be one of the billions of people killed by earthquakes and floods and famines and diseases. Or, you could be among those who will foolishly seek death, thinking it to be the end of your agony and suffering, but who will not be allowed to die, Revelation 9.3.
5B. But many will live through the tribulation. If you are one of those then, when Jesus Christ comes back to rule and reign over this whole earth He will kill you Himself. So, it will be death for you who have sat back in wicked complacency, who have procrastinated, who have continued in your confederacy with the others who are lost, instead of coming alone to Christ for forgiveness and cleansing. And after all that it will still be an eternity in the lake of fire.
1. You may be sitting here and thinking to yourself, “I’m not part of any confederacy. I have not covenanted with anyone, made an agreement with anyone, to oppose God.” Oh, but you have.
2. You see, Psalm 83.5 points out that the basis for this conspiracy against God is to consult “together with one consent.” That means you are of one heart with the others who are arrayed with you against God. You don’t have to actually sit down and sign a piece of paper saying you are fellow conspirators.
3. All you need to do is behave like you normally do, with each one of you subconsciously reading each other’s body language, facial expressions, little gestures, and all the other things that people use to communicate non-verbally. Nonverbal communication makes up more than 75% of our communications with other people.
4. So, do not try to convince yourself that you are not confederate against God. Your lifestyle shows that you are. Your speech shows that you are. Your trashy thought life shows that you are. Your clothes betray many of you. And finally, what you do when someone you know comes under conviction, or what you do when you come under conviction, shows that you are confederate against God.
5. What will happen to you? Most likely, you will perish. You will be put to shame by God. You will be confounded and troubled for ever.
6. But some few of you will be wise. A couple of you will be instructed. And you will flee to Christ for escape from your sins, for liberation from the confederation all sinners are a part of, and for the forgiveness that only Jesus gives only to those who come to Him.
7. Be wise this evening, my friend. “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
 John Joseph Owens, Analytical Key to the Old Testament, Volume 3, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1989), page 406.
 Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 524.