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You will find in Psalm 82 many core principles and guidelines for Western law, specifically English law and the rules and laws of the Republic of the United States.

Unfortunately, corruption and wickedness have permeated our law system and courts in recent decades. The description of crooked judges in Israel’s day is sadly a portrait of our failings as a society and nation.

Psalm 82

The focus of Psalm 82 centered upon the failure of judges to rule judiciously in the affairs and disputes that arose among the people. The psalmist began his poem reminding judges, “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; He judgeth among the gods(82:1).

Thus, the God of heaven was portrayed in a posture of supreme authority and presiding over the gathering of “the mighty.” You’re reminded that wherever judges have sway in the affairs of humanity, all should be forewarned: God is the final judge!

The LORD’s Inquisition of Judges and Those in Authority (82:1-4)

The LORD’s Inquisition of Judges and Those in Authority (82:1-4)

After the psalmist reminded lawgivers that God is sovereign (82:1), he reproved the judges. He demanded: How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?” (82:2) The judges of that day, like many politicians, lawyers, and judges in our day, were derelict in their duty. They were dishonest in their judgment and guilty of accepting bribes and granting favors to the wicked (82:2).

The psalmist reproved the judges and reminded them they were entrusted with the responsibility to “defend the poor and fatherless: Do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4Deliver the poor and needy: Rid them out of the hand of the wicked” (82:3-4). Judges were not to favor the poor and orphans to the neglect of justice. They were to ensure justice for the weak and oppressed and any in “need” of justice, regardless of their financial or social status.

Judges Presided in Ignorance and Darkness (82:5)

We are reminded that when the balance of justice is weighed in favor of the wicked, darkness prevails over a nation (82:5a), and the principles of truth and righteousness are “out of course” [unstable; the foundations eroded] (82:5b).

An Appeal to Judges (82:6-7)

Psalm 82:6 admonished judges and lawgivers to remember that they were “gods,” meaning they were representatives of “the most High” God who rules in the affairs of heaven and earth (82:6). Yet, they were mere mortal men who would die and face the righteous judgment of the LORD (82:7).

The psalmist concluded by appealing to God to execute judgment. To render justice to all nations and people on the earth.

An Appeal to Judges (82:6-7)

Closing thoughts –

God will judge those who wield the authority of the law. Unfortunately, the nations of the world are plagued by dishonest politicians, crooked lawyers, and unjust judges who often rule in favor of the wicked and oppress the poor and powerless.

Nevertheless, remind all in authority that God is the final judge. Every man, woman, boy, and girl will stand one day in the shadow of His throne and face His judgment (82:7-8; Revelation 20:11-15). Then, “every knee shall bow …and every tongue shall confess to God. 12  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:11-12)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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