Tuesday, March 07, 2023

2023.03.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 82

Read Psalm 82

Questions from the Scripture text: Who penned this Psalm (superscript)? Who is the main subject of Psalm 82:1? Where does He stand (verse 1a)? What else is He doing (verse 1b)? Where? What does He ask in Psalm 82:2a? In what way, specifically, were they unjust (verse 2b)? Whom were they to defend (Psalm 82:3a)? To whom were they to do justice (verse 3b)? What else were they to for them (Psalm 82:4a)? And what else (verse 4b)? But what is the state of these judges (Psalm 82:5a)? In what do they walk about (verse 5b)? What effect does this have (verse 5c)? What did God say that they were (Psalm 82:6a)? How else did He describe them (verse 6b)? What shall happen to them (Psalm 82:7)? Who instead will arise (Psalm 82:8a)? To do what? What will God, Who does this, inherit (verse 8b)?

What comfort is there for those who are oppressed by those in authority? Psalm 82 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that although earthly authorities may oppress us, they must answer to God. 

In several passages (such as Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8, Exodus 22:9; etc.), those who render judgment are called “elohim" (gods). All authority comes from God, depends upon God, and is under God (John 19:11; Romans 13:1). This is why it is such a dreadful thing to dishonor authority, and an even more dreadful thing to mishandle authority that does not ultimately belong to us.

But, as we see in this Psalm the fact that all authorities are under authority is a great comfort to those who are under wicked authorities on earth. Just as they sit like gods among those who are under them, so also one day He will sit among them and judge them (Psalm 82:1). And, He will judge them for what they did with their authority. Did they use it to right wrongs, so that poverty and affliction were not made worse by oppression and others taking advantage (Psalm 82:3-4)? 

God’s Word is not ignorant of what most authorities on earth are actually like. They judge unjustly and favor the wicked (Psalm 82:2). Although justice is at the foundation of a society, earthly speaking, those who are supposed to function as this foundation are unstable, and the foundation gets destroyed (Psalm 82:5c, cf. Psalm 11:3). But here, as in Psalm 11, the solution is the same: the Lord sits on high, and He judges the sons of men (Psalm 82:7, cf. Psalm 11:4–6). 

It must be a significant part of the believer’s life in this world to face injustice and oppression. For the Lord has given us many, many songs to sing about how He will correct this in His justice. The already-mentioned Psalm 11, comes on the heels of many such Psalms: 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10. But Psalm 82:8 ties especially to Psalm 2. For there, we learn that the only-begotten Son of God (cf. Psalm 2:7) will have all the nations for His inheritance (cf. Psalm 2:8), and the kings and judges of the earth must repent of how they reign (cf. Psalm 2:1–2), submitting to God’s and Christ’s rule over them (cf. Psalm 2:3), or else be suddenly and devastatingly shattered (cf. Psalm 2:9, Psalm 2:12b–c). 

Taken by itself, Psalm 82:8 could be understood only of God Himself. But with verse 8 so clearly in view, we know that this is also the begotten Son of God. That is to say: verse 8 of this Psalm is clearly about Jesus. This is why, when He is accused of blasphemy (cf. John 10:33) for declaring Himself to be One with the Father (cf. John 10:28–30), He identifies Himself not as one of the “gods” mentioned in Psalm 82:1Psalm 82:6, but as the Son of God, the only-begotten Who inherits the nations (Psalm 82:8). It is a powerful argument: the language is used of men in the office of judge, to whom the Word of God came (cf. John 10:34–35); but, Jesus is the Word Himself Whom the Father sent into the world (cf. John 10:36). 

He is not merely an earthly judge into whose hands were committed particular judgments in a particular nation at a particular time. Jesus is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Judge of judges. He rules over all the nations, from all times, and He judges their judges!

Praise be to God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and especially to the God-Man, our Lord Jesus Christ. Arise, O Lord Jesus, and judge the earth, for You shall inherit the nations!

What are some examples of abuse of authority that you know of? Before Whom will they stand? What is this Judge currently doing for you? What will He do on the last day? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are God, Who defends the poor and fatherless and does justice to the afflicted and the needy. You have delivered us, and You will call all men to account. We praise You, Lord Jesus, the only-begotten and anointed Son to Whom all the nations belong as Your inheritance. Come now, and declare Your Word among us by Your Spirit, which we ask in Your Name, Lord Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP82B “God Is in His Congregation” or TPH82 “God Stands in the Great Assembly”

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