# 255 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 82. Poverty and Justice.

On the front page of “The Poverty and Justice Bible” (which just basically highlights all the verses related to these subjects) it says, “Over 2,000 verses in the Bible wake us up to issues of poverty and justice.” I checked out the underlined verses in the Psalms and there were almost 250 of them – so that’s 1/8 of them are found in the Psalter. Psalm 82 is no exception. Read it below in the Passion Translation:

All rise! For God now comes to judge
as he convenes heaven’s courtroom.
He judges every judge and rules over every ruler, saying,
“How long will you judges refuse to listen
to the voice of true justice and continue to corrupt what is right
by judging in favour of the wrong?”
(Pause in his presence)
“Defend the defenceless, the fatherless and the forgotten,
the disenfranchised and the destitute.
Your duty is to deliver the poor and the powerless;
liberate them from the grasp of the wicked.
But you continue in your darkness and ignorance
while the foundations of society are shaken to the core!
Didn’t I commission you as judges, saying,
‘You are all like gods, since you judge on my behalf.
You are all like sons of the Most High, my representatives.’
Nevertheless, in death you are nothing but mere men!
You will be laid in the ground like any prince and you will die.”
All rise! For God now takes his place as judge of all the earth.
Don’t you know that everything and everyone belongs to him?
The nations will be sifted in his hands!  
            (The Passion Translation)

Having considered last time the tricky question of the identity of the “gods’, we now move onto the very important message that God wants them (and us) to hear, and it concerns true justice which involves the following:

 Defend the defenceless, the fatherless and the forgotten,
the disenfranchised and the destitute.
Your duty is to deliver the poor and the powerless;
liberate them from the grasp of the wicked.                
(verses 3-4)

In 1817, the British Member of Parliament, William Lamb is recorded saying, “the possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility.” This is not the first time someone famous has quoted these words and probably not the last. (It seems someone even said it to Spiderman!).

Sadly though, historically, leaders, particularly people in positions of political leadership, are often so caught up in the creation of wealth and prosperity by continually seeking to grow the economy that true justice as outlined by God here is forgotten or becomes a low priority. Obviously, not too many of them are noting what the over 2000 Bible verses on the subject are saying, and then applying them to their lives as leaders.

When was the last time you heard a leader who was really passionate about seeking justice for the defenceless, the fatherless and the forgotten, the disenfranchised and the destitute? Who recognized that his duty is to deliver the poor and the powerless;
liberate them from the grasp of the wicked?
(verses 3-4)

Unfortunately, too often they are more like the judges [who] refuse to listen
to the voice of true justice and continue to corrupt what is right by judging in favour of the wrong. (verse 2)

As we see so often in nations where these issues are neglected and the leaders continue in [their] darkness and ignorance that the foundations of society are shaken to the core! i.e., nations bit by bit fall into ruin and the fabric of civil society disintegrates as evil has its way.

It would be depressing if this was the end of the story, but it is not!  Because God has the final word:

All rise! For God now takes his place as judge of all the earth.
Don’t you know that everything and everyone belongs to him?
The nations will be sifted in his hands!

As Wilcock says:

God “will, in the end, reveal himself as the ultimate Judge, and not of [one] nation only, but of all nations [and all leaders]; then all the evils of verses 2-5 will finally be swept away.”    (# 5)

 Let me conclude with the words of Paul when he was preaching to the people of Athens as recorded in Acts 17.            

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth…  

30 In the past God overlooked [our] ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man [Jesus, whom] he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (verses 24, 30-31)

Are you ready for that day?

 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly
with your God.  
(Micah 6:8)

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