August 09 2023
Today, Wednesday August 09
When the Foundations are Unstable
A Psalm of Asaph
“God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.
How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked. They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
I said, "You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes." Arise, O God, judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations.
From the title, we know a man named Asaph wrote Psalm 82, but we are not sure when he wrote it. It is concerned with a universal problem, one which afflicts all countries, but oriental countries particularly, the problem of unjust judges and corrupt officials. This psalm deals with the unjust judge in Israel and finds many an echo in the passionate outpourings of the prophets.
I’ll never forget in my early years of ministry as I traveled overseas on mission trips to third world countries, I would often ask my national friends the question, “What is the biggest problem that you face in your country?” Their immediate answer would almost always be the same no matter what country I was in. They say, “Corruption in the government”.
Jesus said that the “last days” would be like it was in the days of Noah before the flood came. Genesis 6:11-13 describes the condition of those days: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” Did you notice the two words, corruption and violence? They pretty much describes our country and the world today! Jesus is coming soon!
In verse 1, Asaph speaks and gives notice that God is standing, and He will judge the judges! Then in verses 2-7, God speaks and has several things to say to the judges. Though these people held high offices and were called "elohim—gods" (Ex. 21:6), they were only humans and would be judged for their sins. Privilege brings responsibility, and responsibility brings accountability. Jesus quoted verse 6 in John 10:34-36 to defend His own claim to be the Son of God. For, if the Lord called "gods" the imperfect human judges chosen by men, how much more should Jesus Christ be called "the Son of God," He who was set apart by the Father and sent to earth! In spite of their titles and offices, these judges would die like any other human and pay the price for their sins.
Verse 5 presents a good question. Does it describe the evil judges or the abused people? If the judges, then it is a terrible indictment against people who are supposed to know the Law and walk in its light (Isa. 8:20; 59:1-15; Rom. 1:21-22). But it's possible that the pronoun "they" in verse 5 refers back to the weak and needy people described in verse 4. The priests and Levites did not always do their jobs well, and the common people did not know the Law well enough to defend themselves. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hos. 4:6). When the Law of God is ignored or disobeyed, this shakes and threatens the very foundations of society (11:3; 89:14; 97:2), for God's moral Law is the standard by which man's laws must be judged. For sure, this is what has happened in America today.
Finally in verse 8, when God the Judge ceased to speak, then Asaph added his prayer that God would bring justice to all the earth and not just to Israel (v. 8; 9:7-8). When the Lord comes to judge the earth, no one will escape, and His sentence will be just. Asaph's prayer echoes the church's prayer, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10).
My friend, we are getting really close to the end times when our Lord will come to receive His bride, the church, and bring judgment to the whole earth. Are you ready?