Daily Family Worship

Psalm 82: The Magistrate’s Psalm

by | May 28, 2024

psalm 82

This is a short little Psalm that is rarely quoted and seldom used. But Jesus did quote from this Psalm; and in doing so, He showed its authority to be equal with every other part of Scripture. On one occasion, the Jews pronounced Him to be a blasphemer because He called Himself the Son of God. But in condemnation of them, and in defense of Himself, He quoted this Scripture from their very own Book of inspired poetry – in which earthly rulers were called “gods,” and the people are all referred to as “children of the Most High.” The Savior’s argument was this: if the powers that be, as ordained of God, might be so named; then how much more right did He have to call Himself the Son of God? After all, He was the Father’s equal; and He came to this earth on a Divine mission to put an end to sin, and to bring in everlasting righteousness for us.

But the words of this Psalm do call us to think of earthly kings, princes, and politicians – the judges and rulers of this world, who are esteemed as great ones among mankind. Our natural tendency is to exaggerate earthly greatness. There are many people on this earth who bask in the sunshine of worldly prosperity. They tower far above others in the dignity, grandeur, and influence of their earthly station. And even to this hour, there are some who look at these persons and imagine that they must be the special favorites of heaven! They imagine that they must be blessed by God, and so they decide that they ought to be admired and envied by men. Let us beware of all such thoughts! Yes, there is a degree of privileges that attend a position of earthly greatness; but there are much better things than worldly glory, even in its most attractive types and its most fascinating forms. It is only by faith in Jesus’ name that either rulers or commoners can choose the good part which shall never be taken away from them!

The cure for the error of exaggerating earthly greatness lies in a perspective of the fact of universal mortality. Allow me to flash before your eyes those things which are the recognized emblems of earthly greatness and worldly glory: the crown, the coronet, the throne, money, mansions, estates, and titles. Shall I speak of them as baubles, toys, or trifles? Not necessarily; for when they are bestowed with the Lord’s blessing and used for the Lord’s service, they can be very profitable indeed as long as one lives on the earth. But still, the Scripture says, “Be wise, ye kings; be taught, ye judges of the earth!” The throne’s occupant must eventually leave it in order to go to the tomb. All these things which are seen shall pass away, for they are temporal and fleeting. But faith, hope, and love – faith in Jesus’ name; hope, which does not make ashamed; and love, which is the bond of perfectness – these three things abide forever! The good news is that, through grace, these may even be the heritage of kings and princes; if they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, these shall be a better and enduring substance for them in heaven, when their earthly crowns and coronets fade and fail. And this faith, hope, and love – through grace – may also become the heritage of those who are poor in this world! Although they may lack an abundance of this world’s goods, they are chosen to be rich in faith; and they shall one day inherit a kingdom that will never fade away, and that can never be shaken or removed!

Lord, we repent of times when we have exaggerated earthly greatness and placed more value upon it than that “one thing needful” which can never be taken away from us. We beseech You for grace to listen to the Apostle’s injunction in 1 Timothy 2 to pray for our government leaders, and for all who are in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all Godliness and honesty. Give these leaders grace to fulfill their God-given responsibilities of executing righteous judgment on behalf of the poor, the afflicted, and the oppressed. Amen.

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