A devotion on Psalm 82
1 God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”:
The great assembly is one of appointed leaders of great authority. Is God revisiting their lifelong work and judging their judgements? Commentator Guzik suggests various entities as these gods (Elohim):
- Yahweh of Israel. Elohim can mean many or grand
- Pagan deities, the false gods of the nations
- Angelic beings
- Human judges who stand in God’s place to determine the fate of fellow humans
All authority is God-appointed. He appoints these executive agents to govern as he would govern. As we saw in Proverbs, that would entail doing what is right and just and fair – all the time. What or who do you have authority over? Talk to Holy Spirit about that appointment. Ask him to shine a light (Zahar) all around it and illumine your understanding of its scope. Where do you have any influence? Is it at home? Is it at work? Is it in the community? Ask him to give you great wisdom and understanding of it and to help you execute it supernaturally. Take that authority. With humility and a sense of accountability, own it. Do your very best with it. All too soon, you will be standing before him settling accounts.
2 “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?
3 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
In commenting on this section, Luther said, “For here they [princes] find what lofty, princely, noble virtues their estate can practice, so that temporal government, next to the preaching office, is the highest service to God and the most useful office on earth.
And [King Jehoshaphat] said to the judges, “Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. Now therefore, let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.”2 Chronicles 19:6-7
5 “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
Their short-sighted understanding is based on amassing favors and comforts for themselves here below. They taste a little power and think their authority starts and ends with them. They do not realize they are on assignment and will give account. They do not realize they are being trained to practice their skill in the heavenlies someday. As Paul challenged us greatly in this matter: “If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!” 1 Cor. 6:1-3.
All they see is here and now. Truly, they know nothing. May these truths cause us to shudder. Help us, Lord. Help our ‘gods’ walk and judge in your ways.
6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’
7 But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.”
Positions of authority and power don’t make one human better or more important than another. We are all on a level playing field. We are all sons – the privileged and the destitute. We are all brothers. We are all our brother’s keepers. We are all feeble and fickle. We will all undergo life’s problems. We will someday lie immobile in a coffin or sit in an urn. All of us except those that get to be raptured.
8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.
Grand Judge Jesus, you rule the world with truth and grace and make the nations prove the glories of your righteousness and the wonders of your love. Soon and very soon, you will ultimately rule all the earth, all nations, all peoples. How honored we are to have you rule over our lives now. How thrilled we are to bow the knee to you and confess you as Lord now. All too soon all men will have to do the same.