God presides in the great assembly; he gives judgment among the “gods”: “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
“They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
“I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler.” Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.
There’s a lot of talk these days about activist judges re-interpreting the law of the land according to their own particular biases. By their rulings judges can actually “legislate from the bench” changing the intent of laws to conform with their own views, which are often anti-Christian, and creating precedents for future legal findings.
But they aren’t the only source of problems believers face in the public sector. School boards, city councils and other governing bodies are also getting into the act, often assuming that if something even hints at upholding traditional Christian principles it must be wrong and therefore prohibited. Take the case of a Seattle area 6th grader whose application for re-enrollment in a Charter School was denied simply because he questioned the wisdom of having a homosexual teacher assigned to teach 6th grade sex education classes.
This isn’t the religious freedom promised in our constitution; it’s the repression of a particular religion. Many of you from outside the US have dealt with this all your lives, but in America we’re still not used to it.
In Psalm 82 we’re reminded that this problem is nothing new, it’s been around almost since the beginning. The Hebrew word translated gods here means rulers or judges, that’s why it’s spelled in the lower case. It shows God chastising these rulers and judges for defending the unjust and the wicked while ignoring the rights of the poor and oppressed. He reminds them that they neither know nor understand anything, walking about in darkness while the foundations of the Earth shake at the scandal of their unjust rulings.
“You think you’re so powerful, but you’ll die like mere men,” He says. Implicit in this statement is that when they do, they’ll have to face the Judge (God with a capital G) Who judges them, and give account for their actions. “To whom much is given, much will be required,” Jesus said (Luke 12:48). This warning applies specifically to those who’ve been given authority over others.
Like many Christians in the public eye I’ve been subjected to unjust treatment, some of it down right mean spirited. (If you’ve ever stood up to defend your faith, you’ve no doubt endured your share, too.) And when it happens, it so offends my sense of fairness that I don’t think I could stand it if it wasn’t for promises like this one.
But I know that the Lord has documented every incident of mistreatment suffered by His own and will avenge all of them. Because of this I’m free to seek His mercy for those who’ve wronged me, instead of poisoning my mind with thoughts of personal revenge. This puts me on His side instead of the Devil’s, releases me from the bondage of my anger and restores the joy of my salvation. In this world you’ll have trouble, He said, “But take heart, for I’ve overcome the world. (John 16:33) Thank You, Lord.