At first reading of this Psalm, I was confused. I read it again and asked for understanding. And of course God revealed some things to me. I am not a Bible scholar. But I am a child of the Living God, saved by Jesus Christ and filled with His Spirit.
According to my research, this psalm was to instruct kings and courts of justice in many nations. Asaph reminds them that The Lord is among them. Verses 1-4 read,
“God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
2 “How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
The kings, princes, and judges of the world sometimes consider themselves gods. It was certainly true during the times when this Psalm was written. King’s demanded worship from their citizens. I know many people today who consider every person or at least themselves gods. And whether they admit it or not, they judge, they dole out their brand of justice as if they are gods. They decide people’s fates by perpetuating inequality and withholding the justice the weak, poor, orphaned, and troubled need.
Asaph told the kings and princes they had power given to them by God and they ought to use it properly. Believers today are royalty. We have an onus to be the righteous royal judges the Father appointed us to be, Jesus made us to be, and the Spirit enables us to be. We do not judge in the sense most people consider judging. We are not saying “I’m better than you. You are evil. I am good.” We judge with the discernment of God through His law to say what is just, what is unjust, what is of God and what is not of God. We are to judge what is right for us to do in order to love people as Jesus loves us, in order to bring justice to those who suffer injustice. John 7:21-24 reads,
“Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
We do not judge the lost for being lost. We do not judge the poor for being needy. To judge them doesn’t make sense. Verse 5 reads,
“They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.”
It is an upside down skewed world which blames the victim and not the perpetrator for injustice. But that is so often what we do. The courts throw down mandates based on the law and the constitution without concern for the effects. Fatherless children wander the streets looking for their needs to be met and instead of freeing them from the bonds of Satan, we blame them for their ignorance and tell them they deserve to be in chains. Don’t we all deserve to be in chains? Isn’t Jesus the only reason we could be reconciled to The Father? Already the world judges and promotes injustice. Already, the powers of the world get more powerful, the rich get richer, and all on the backs of the oppressed.
God cares deeply about the poor, the prisoner, the oppressed, the widow, and the hungry. He cares about social justice as much as He cares about spiritual justice. So should we. James 1:22-27 says it this way,
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Jesus told us when we clothe to the poor, feed the hungry, and visit the prisoner that we are not just serving them, we are serving Him. (Matthew 25:31-46).
No matter who the king, prince, or judge in this world is, he will die. Every person will die and every person’s sin must be paid for. It will be paid for by our own death or by Christ’s. Verse 6 reads,
“I said, “You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”
We are sons of God. We were all created by Him. None of us was begotten by God, only Jesus has that distinction. (John 3:16). He was not created, He is God. (John 1:1-5). And so we are merely human. We will suffer a physical death, but we have eternal life with God. Because believers are imbued with the Spirit of God and have eternal life through Jesus, the Son of God we are judges and kings. We are royalty. We are distinctive or as Peter said it, peculiar. Our appointing is higher than the judge of the highest courts. Our call is higher than the king of a nation. Our anointing is for The Lord. In that role we are called to be merciful, forgiving, and compassionate. 1 Peter 2:9-10 reminds us who we are.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Do not be afraid to embrace your identity as a royal child of The King of kings. Do not forgo nobility because you are trying to be humble. Nobility and humility go hand in hand, they are not opposites but two traits which describe Jesus and should describe us. We are to love one another. We are to love as Jesus loves. We are to love others the way we love ourselves. That kind of love implies we would not allow harm or injury to come on someone else if we can help it.
Now on this earth we are agents of justice and it is serious business but one day we will judge in a way we never imagined. If we can’t be just and loving now, how will we fulfill the calling of Jesus? People are watching and they judge us harshly against their imagined image of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 says this,
“When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!”
True love would rather take the injury on himself that let be inflicted on someone else. John 15:12-17 says it this way,
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
As agents of justice, lovers of the Lord, and doers of His Word, we have to remember Judgement Day is real and it is coming. The lost will perish. Verse 8 says,
“Arise, O God, judge the earth;
for you shall inherit all the nations!”
I implore you to deliberately go out and glorify the Lord. Intentionally go out and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ be the light to those who have neither knowledge nor understanding and walk about in darkness.