Psalms of Honesty
Justice. We all want it. Some of us demand it–as long as the decision falls in our favor. We want life to be fair–for us. What is fair for us might not be fair for others. We want to be the judge. We judge without thinking about it.
It is easy to judge as our actions reflect daily. We judge the clerk at the store as we wait to be checked out. We judge people walking around the store buying things WE don’t think they need. We judge how people dress at Walmart. We judge who comes to church. We judge our friends decisions as well as those who are strangers. We decide who a person is and what is in their hearts at first glance. We are corrupt, can be “bought” or bribed, guided by society norms. We can be just as corrupt as the judges the Psalmist is talking about this morning.
Psalm 82, The Message
An Asaph Psalm
God calls the judges into his courtroom,
he puts all the judges in the dock.
2-4 “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.”
5 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.
6-7 “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.”
8 O God, give them their just deserts!
You’ve got the whole world in your hands!
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT…
Asaph prays that God will bring justice to the whole earth. Between these statements, the Lord Himself speaks to the judges.
Could God be speaking to us as we judge harshly, unfairly without knowing each person’s story, ignoring God’s Law?
Since God is the Lawgiver, He is also the Judge (Isa. 33:22), and the Judge of all the earth does what is right (Gen. 18:25). He presides over the congregation of Israel and over the judges of the nation. The Lord is not sitting at a bench, patiently listening to the presentation of the case, because God is Judge and jury and needs nobody to tell Him the facts. He knows what people are doing on the earth and will execute judgment righteously (11:4-7). In His court, there is no “defense” or “appeal.” He is omniscient and His verdict is final. It is an awesome occasion: He is standing and about to announce His decision (Isa. 3:13-15).
ONLY God knows all the facts, we do not.
It is a great responsibility to represent the Lord on earth and seek to execute justice by applying the law correctly. Civil servants are “ministers of the Lord” and will answer to Him for what they have done (Rom. 13).
“God calls the judges into the courtroom, he puts all the judges in the dock.”
“And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6:8). These judges did not do justly (v. 2) or love mercy (vv. 3-4), and they walked in defiance of God’s will (v. 5). The pronoun “you” in verse 2 is plural, for the Lord is addressing all the guilty judges. They championed the causes of the guilty because they were bribed, and they failed to care for the orphans and widows.
Are we guilty of judging without mercy and kindness?
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 in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
NO ONE will escape. God is the Judge. He knows the whole story.
Asaph prayed that God would bring justice to the earth. Do you believe Asaph’s prayer will be answered? If so, when and how?
If a nation’s leaders reject God, what are some likely consequences? What do you believe Christians can do to encourage their national leaders to honor God?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Help us to behave like we say we believe. Help us to obey your law for is it perfect, right and fair. When others do not, you will be the judge and jury. Help us do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with you, Father! When called upon to judge (make a decision that affects others) may we be led by you with wisdom, insight and understanding of YOUR law, not by human first impressions without knowing the whole story. May we always follow your law. We are so glad that you, indeed, have the whole world in your hands!
In Jesus Name, Amen