3266.) Psalm 82

artwork by Bob Smerecki, via Flickr

Psalm 82 (NIV)

A psalm of Asaph.

Earthly Judges Before the Great Judge

God questions them and exposes their weaknesses and then pronounces judgment on them:

1 God presides in the great assembly;
he renders judgment among the “gods”:

The gods — Earthly judges and magistrates are called gods, because they have their commission from God, and act as his deputies.

–John Wesley

2 “How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?

How long — The psalmist speaks to them in God’s name.

–John Wesley

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.

“These verses, indeed the whole psalm, every prince should have painted on the wall of his chamber, on his bed, over his table, and on his garments. For here they 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.”

–Martin Luther

5 “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

The foundations — This corruption of the supreme rulers, flows from them to their inferior officers and members.

–John Wesley

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.”

A prayer to God to exercise his perfect judgment:

8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth,
for all the nations are your inheritance.

Arise — Take the sword of justice into thine own hand.

–John Wesley



We generally shy away from singing songs about God’s judgments, but that judgment is a theme found in many Psalms and Scriptural songs. And there are certain things to remember. First, God is the Judge, not us. We’re concerned about His fame and vindication, not ours. That means we don’t sing about God’s judgments with self-righteousness or callousness. Second, God judging evil is part of the Bible’s story line to redeem a people for His glory. As one commenter said, “God’s judgment is simply the ‘negative’ side of our great heartcry, ‘Let your kingdom come!’” Finally, the predominant theme of our gatherings is not simply that God judges wickedness, but that He rejoices in righteousness. And that His righteousness has been most clearly demonstrated in the Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dying for our sins and rising from the dead. Because Christ was made to be sin for us, we are now clothed in the righteousness of God and are no longer under His wrath. Definitely cause for great rejoicing!

–Bob Kauflin, worshpmatters.com

HERE  is a hymn that speaks to the coming judgment — “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending,” a Charles Wesley hymn.

1 Lo! He comes, with clouds descending,
once for our salvation slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of His train.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
God appears on earth to reign.

2 Ev’ry eye shall now behold Him,
robed in dreadful majesty;
those who set at naught and sold Him,
pierced, and nailed Him to the tree,
deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
shall the true Messiah see.

3 Every island, sea, and mountain,
heav’n and earth, shall flee away;
all who hate Him must, confounded,
hear the trump proclaim the day:
Come to judgment! Come to judgment!
Come to judgment, come away!

4 All the tokens of His passion
Still His dazzling body bears;
Cause of endless exultation
To His ransomed worshippers;
With what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars.

5 Yea, amen! Let all adore Thee,
high on Thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the pow’r and glory,
claim the kingdom for Thine own:
O come quickly, O come quickly,
Alleluia! Come, Lord, come!


New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Smerecki.   https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapnpiks0304/28286990439
Defend the poor and fatherless.   https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/704-psalms-82-and-83/
verse 8, Arise.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/211739619963884523/

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