Psalm 82. Here Comes The Judge.


Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 82. (MsgB)

God calls the judges into His courtroom, He puts all the judges in the dock.

“Enough! You’ve corrupted justice long enough, you’ve let the wicked get away with murder.
You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break;
Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them.”

Ignorant judges! Head-in-the-sand judges! They haven’t a clue to what’s going on.
And now everything’s falling apart, the world’s coming unglued.

I commissioned you judges, each one of you, deputies of the High God,
But you’ve betrayed your commission and now you’re stripped of your rank, busted.”


Pretty much as long as civilized man has lived on this planet, we have appointed judges to sit before us, giving them both the authority and the power to judge rightly on our behalf. In the absence of judges, we’re left to solve our differences with others in much less civil ways. War, bloodshed, and civil unrest can be the ugly outcome of human differences if we fail to have a justice system in place to rule over those squabbles we humans just can’t resolve on our own.

In most societies around the world, a judge is an official who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. A judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open court. He or she hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the parties of the case, assesses the credibility and arguments of the parties, and then issues a ruling on the matter at hand based on his or her interpretation of the law and his or her own personal wisdom and integrity.

In most cases, this type of judicial system works fairly well in helping society resolve our seemingly unresolvable differences.

But here’s the rub.

What happens when the judges we put into office begin to judge unjustly? What occurs when a judge is no longer impartial or decides cases not on the merits of each case, but on personal bias? What are the consequences when a society becomes so violently divided that no one can agree on who will be given authority to judge over our differences?

Apparently, these were some of the problems that surfaced during Asaph’s days in ancient Israel. In Psalm 82, we find that things have gotten so out of hand, God, Himself, is stepping into the courtroom and declaring both Israel and their appointed judges to be ‘out of order’.

Watch out folks…HERE COMES THE JUDGE!

In truth, from a biblical perspective, you and I have only one High Judge in this lifetime and the next. God, the Creator-King of the Universe, is the One and Only Judge and it is Him, and Him alone, who appoints human judges to sit in authority over God’s people. When those God-appointed judges make their earthly decisions consistent with God’s interests, the system works well. But God-forbid if these judges begin moving away from the desires for true justice that emanates from the character of our Creator!

Psalm 82 is pretty clear what God’s commission is to His appointed judges…

You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break;
Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them.

As I see it, here’s the deal. When judges begin to stray from this clear commission from God, putting their heads in the sand and pulling decisions out of their ‘proverbial’ butts, all hell begins to break out in that society. Asaph says it well…

Ignorant judges! Head-in-the-sand judges! They haven’t a clue to what’s going on.
And now everything’s falling apart, the world’s coming unglued.

Sound a bit familiar?

Hmm.

Maybe a return to these simple truths found in Psalm 82 might be a step in the right direction for a wayward nation like the USA. What do you think?

My prayer: God, it’s very clear here in Psalm 82 what you’re looking for in those who are appointed to ‘judge’. Give me a constant awareness to 1) defend the defenseless, 2) make sure the underdog gets a fair break, 3) stand up for the powerless, and maybe most importantly, 4) not get in bed with those who exploit others. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: How am I putting my head in the sand when it comes to these four very clear God-directed commands found in Psalm 82? Is everything falling apart around me, or my world coming unglued, because of my refusal to recognize and stand for these God-truths on social justice?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?


Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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