by, Isam Itson III
1 God stands in the divine assembly;
he pronounces judgment among the gods:,
2 “How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?
3 Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless;
uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.
4 Rescue the poor and needy;
save them from the power of the wicked.”
5 They do not know or understand;
they wander in darkness.
All the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I said, “You are gods;
you are all sons of the Most High.
7 However, you will die like humans
and fall like any other ruler.”
8 Rise up, God, judge the earth,
for all the nations belong to you.
When we take the time to pull back from our daily routines and examine the world around us we are often overwhelmed by the the cruelty and injustice that goes unchecked in our societies. We are outraged by the immorality that undermines the order that is necessary for security and stability within our homes and communities.
God where are you? Why are you letting people get away with fraud and murder? Why are the abusers among us so often allowed to indulge their most selfish desires at the expense of the poor and vulnerable?
In Psalm 82, the song writer portrays God asking these same questions of the rulers of his day. The use of the word gods in verse 1 also may refer to human rulers. And in this context it is human rulers who have been entrusted with executing justice and judgment within human societies. God created us to take responsibility for one another’s well being. God created us to represent his love in relationship to each other. And God is calling us out for using the life he has given us to enrich ourselves at the expense of others.
Rulers who do not protect the interests of the most vulnerable members of our societies do not promote order. In the words of the psalmist in verse 5, unjust rulers promote confusion, instability, and chaos within society. The immorality of selfish indulgence and injustice invite the judgment of God against a nation.
As individual members of society who express devotion to God and live as followers of Jesus Christ we have to be those who use the life that God has given us to help the oppressed and the destitute flourish. We have to use the gifts and wisdom that God has so graciously given us to help others discover and nurture the gifts and wisdom that God has given them. We need their God given contribution to our lives.
Then we can all join together promoting the well being of the people around us because we recognize that God has given all of us enough to honor the depths of God’s love for all people. No matter what it costs us in time, energy, attention, or treasure. Only then will we be able to live without fear of the judgement of God against our nations.