Psalm 82

How long?

This is a question we have seen over and over again in the Psalms as God’s people cry out, wondering how long it will be until God responds.

Psalm 82 is different. Here, God is doing the questioning.

“How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?” (v. 2 CSB)

God questions the ruler of the day:
How long will you allow injustice?
How long will you favor one group over another when you judge?

God then gives instructions for how justice should be administered.

“Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless;
uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.
Rescue the poor and needy;
save them from the power of the wicked.” (v. 3-4 CSB)

Stop favoring the powerful.
Provide justice to the needy, the fatherless, the oppressed, and the destitute.
Uphold their rights.
Rescue the poor and needy from wicked people.

God cares about social justice.

To ignore justice or to administer it unfairly is to wander in darkness and shake the foundations that God has established.

They do not know or understand;
they wander in darkness.
All the foundations of the earth are shaken. (v. 5 CSB)

God also gave a message about justice to Isaiah.
In Isaiah’s day, God’s people had accused God of not taking notice when they fasted and prayed. God responds by exposing the hypocrisy of His people. They were fasting and praying, expecting justice from God, while at the same time being unjust and unfair toward others. This fasting is not acceptable to God. Instead, God declares the fast that He has chosen as acceptable includes justice toward others.

Isn’t this the fast I choose:
To break the chains of wickedness,
to untie the ropes of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free,
and to tear off every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
to bring the poor and homeless into your house,
to clothe the naked when you see him,
and not to ignore your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will appear like the dawn,
and your recovery will come quickly.
Your righteousness will go before you,
and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:6-8 CSB

God cares about social justice.

How long will it be until we do too?

For more on a biblical view of justice and how we can be people who do it, I highly recommend Timothy Keller’s sermon, “Justice”. You can access this sermon in a variety of ways. I’ve included links below.

Timothy Keller’s sermon “Justice”, based on Isaiah 58:1-14.
Free Audio Download here.

Article based on the sermon here.

Podcast on iTunes here. Look for sermon #78 “Justice”.

Father, I want to care about what You care about. You care about justice. Help me to do justice as You require. Show me how I can care for and stand up for the rights of the poor, the fatherless, and the oppressed in my community. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 82