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Devotional

Psalm 82

A Council of Gods

In Psalm 82, we see that Jesus’ death was a judgment of the powers of this world and proof that no evil or injustice is so powerful that it will escape God’s verdict.

What’s Happening?

The songwriter Asaph describes God as a judge condemning a council of “gods” (Psalm 82:1). Some argue the “gods'' God is judging are the human leaders of either Israel or other nations. That means this psalm is pointing out the ways the world’s leaders have fallen short of God’s standards of justice, which demands that he hold them accountable. But others argue the “gods” being judged are spiritual beings to whom God has delegated responsibilities, but have failed to execute them. According to this understanding of Psalm 82, spiritual beings are held responsible for the moral climate of nations, and Asaph is begging God to enact justice against the spiritual powers responsible for the moral decay and wickedness he sees around him.

It’s likely that Asaph has both spiritual beings and world leaders in his mind. He wants God to judge both of them. These “gods” are supposed to impartially deliver justice, defend the orphaned, care for the oppressed, and rescue the weak from those who would take advantage of them (Psalm 82:2-4). But the gods of this world have done none of these things. Instead, like blind giants, they trample others and quake the earth, leaving devastation in their wake (Psalm 82:5). 

God then answers Asaph’s prayer and condemns the gods. These so-called “sons of the Most High'' will die like mortals and be buried in the earth (Psalm 82:6-7). God promises that Asaph will see his judgment of evil when God makes the “gods” human, and when he buries “sons of the Most High” in a grave. Hearing this judgment, Asaph ends his psalm by asking God to finally take his seat as the world’s true sovereign and judge all the gods of all nations, whether political or spiritual (Psalm 82:8). 

Where is the Gospel?

God promised Asaph that the “sons of the Most High” would be judged for their evil when the “gods” became human and were sentenced to die. And this is exactly what happened in Jesus. Jesus was God’s true Son, the Son of the Most High made human (John 1:14). Jesus spent his ministry doing justice, defending the orphaned, caring for the oppressed, and rescuing the weak (John 10:31-32). But the gods of this world hated and judged him for doing what they were supposed to do. They even tried to kill him for his claim that he was God’s true Son (John 10:33, 39). 

And Jesus let them. Jesus, the true Son of the Most High, died because he knew his death was a judgment of all evil both human and spiritual. Jesus’ death proved that even “gods” can die. Jesus’ death was a judgment of the powers of this world and proof that no evil or injustice is so powerful that it will escape God’s verdict (Colossians 2:15). The death of God’s Son proved that death is coming for all evil and unjust sons of God. But just as Asaph prayed, Jesus also rose from his grave and ascended to his throne as the world’s true sovereign to judge all nations and gods.

We still live in a world ruled by gods—powerful forces of human evil and spiritual darkness. We need assurance that there is a day of judgment for powers and systems that we do not have the power to affect or change. And that hope is provided in Jesus, the true Son of God, whose death proves that all evil will most certainly be judged. 

See For Yourself

I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see the God who judges the gods. And may you see Jesus as the Son of God who became human and died to judge all evil rulers and powers. 

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