Let’s turn now in our Bibles to Psalm eighty-two as we continue our through the Bible study. This is another psalm ascribed to Asaph, to this family of musicians.
GOD standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods (82:1).
In Exodus chapter twenty-one and in chapter twenty-two, the judges were called the elohim or the gods because judges were to be gods representatives. They were to see that gods law was followed. They were the instruments of God to keep the order and the law of God among the people. In Israel, problems arose because the judges were perverting judgement. They were accepting bribes; they were influenced by people of wealth and prominence. Many times a poor person would have tremendous difficulty getting a right judgement, especially against the rich. So there was a perverting of justice. Whenever that kind of perversion of justice develops, you have a breakdown of the whole social order.
God is interested in justice for all, equal justice for all. God often took up the cause of the poor and the oppressed. God declared that one of the reasons why his judgement came upon the Nation of Israel was the failure of the judicial system. It had become corrupted and righteousness was not forthcoming. God is interested in righteousness and God has established laws, and even the court systems, in order that righteousness might prevail.
Now in the New Testament, Paul did rebuke those in Corinth who were taking a brother in Christ before the pagan courts of Corinth. He said, “If you brothers in Christ have a dispute among yourselves you should settle that within the church. You should not have to go to the pagan courts to settle your differences. But if a man claims to be brother in Christ and is engaged in unlawful or unrighteous activity against you” sometimes it’s unfortunately necessary to take them to court. I do not believe that the Bible actually prohibits our taking someone to court in order that righteousness might prevail.
God was upset because righteousness was not prevailing. Of course the courts have been established to determine the causes and to issue righteous judgement. Paul said that we should be able, within the church, to settle those disputes that pertain to the church and those within the church. It’s a shame that a person would not submit as a brother in Christ to the judgement within the church but if they will not, then the courts are there in order to make certain that justice prevails. God help those who go before the judges of our courts.
I read of some of the decisions that are made by those who are in the position of being a judge and I scratch my head and I wonder what in the world are they thinking, they’ve got to be out to lunch, I can’t believe that they have made that kind of a judgement. You see, a judge is not to let his personal feelings or prejudices become involved in his decision. How many of you can make a decision without your personal prejudices and feelings becoming involved?
There are a couple of things I would never want to be. I wouldn’t want to be an umpire, that involves judging and I’d hate to be a judge. I’d hate to be a judge because one day the judges are to be judged. I was one time collard into being an umpire of a ballgame. It so happened that my nephews were playing in that game. My nephew was up at bat and there was a pitch that was either way, you know it was that close. You could call it a ball or you could call it a strike. It was just one of those marginal things, it’s now a total judgement call. I called it a ball. I must confess, had someone else been at bat I might have called it a strike. Someone called out “It’s just because he’s your nephew” and I said, “I’m afraid you’re right” and I walked off the field.
It’s awfully hard not to let your feelings become involved when you are in a position like that. That’s why I’d hate to be in that position. You actually, as a judge, have a responsibility before God to see that righteousness prevails. That would be a very difficult thing, in fact, I think it’s almost an impossible thing for man. That’s why we have the problems with the judicial systems.
We are told that one day God is going to judge among the judges, the elohim, the gods. Because a judge is God’s representative and because a judge, in a sense, has the powers of control over a person’s destiny he has a position of a god in that person’s life. Your god is that controlling passion of your life. Every one of us are guided, directed or motivated by some ideal or ambition or master passion. There is something that gets us out of bed in the morning, to go and face another day at work, keeps us going, and we measure our decisions by these governing principles or ideals or ambitions of our lives. These are your gods, those things that govern and control your life.
It’s a wonderful thing when a person yields his life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and he measures all of his activities by the will of the Lord. Whether or not I would do a certain thing is dependent upon what the Lord would think or desire for me to do. I’ve turned that position of authority in my life. Everything is measured by the Lord and his will, his word; thus Jesus Christ is my God. As Thomas said, “My Lord and my God”. Everybody has a god.
The judges, if you are standing before the judge, has in his power to grant you a pardon, to show leniency and mercy or he has in his power to sentence you to whatever the law requires for the crime that has been committed. As such, with the control of your life, he in essence is as a god. Thus the Bible calls them the elohim, the gods. God one day will stand in the congregation and he will judge among the judges.
Now God is speaking to the judges in the next few verses.
How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? (82:3).
How long will you allow injustice to prevail because you are impressed by the wealth or by the power of the wicked?
Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked (82:3-4).
The Lord declares concerning the judges again.
They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: [as a result] all the foundations of the earth are out of course [are shaken] (82:5).
What happens when the judicial system fails is that comes a breakdown of the whole order within a society and anarchy begins to prevail. Such is the case in Lebanon today. There has been a breakdown of law, of order, and as a result you have all of these factions that have become a law unto themselves, the anarchy that exists. You see the consequences of the breakdown of the governmental system of the courts there in Lebanon you see the consequences and the result. The whole country is shaken. There is no safety anywhere. Justice is with a gun and the stronger forces rule. The foundations are destroyed.
I have said, Ye are gods; (82:6).
We have pointed out in Exodus twenty-one six and in twenty-two eight and nine that the judges are called the elohim, the gods. So it’s a reference to Exodus.
and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, (82:6-7).
I think that one of the problems with the judicial system is that often times these men get in ivory towers, everybody is seeking their favor and they often, I believe, get the feeling that they are god. They begin to exercise their position of authority as though they are the final authority rather than realizing that one-day they are going to be answering to God. As the become isolated and insulated from the world, they’re out of touch with reality and as a result their decisions are not made from a full true examination of the evidence. The whole legal system is breaking down. The fact that only certain evidence is admissible within a court. If the officer didn’t read the person his rights and if they didn’t have the proper procedures of seizing and searching then all of the evidence that is there is rejected. That’s folly, it doesn’t make sense.
I have a friend who is a minister sitting outside of a church in Englewood where he was going to speak two fellows came up to rob him. They shot and killed him as he was sitting in his car in front of the church. They took his wallet and his watch. They were caught but they both accused the other of doing the shooting. They found the wallet, they found the watch, they found all these things but they didn’t have the proper papers when they searched the apartment and they were both turned free. Now that isn’t justice, that isn’t reality and it’s not right.
The judges often think themselves above as little gods. The Lord said, “You’re going to die like men”. You are not a god. You are just a man.
and fall like one of the princes (82:7).
The Bible says, “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgement”.
This psalm is often quoted as a proof text that man is god or can become god. When Jesus was dealing with the judges of his day in John chapter ten, it describes the Pharisees the priests. They said, “How long you keep us in doubt. If you are the Messiah just tell us plainly” and Jesus said, “I told you already, you didn’t believe me. I’ve done the works that were prophesied of the Messiah”.
When John the Baptist was in prison he felt that Jesus perhaps wasn’t moving fast enough in overthrowing the Roman yoke. He sent his disciples to Jesus with a question, “Are you the Messiah or shall we look for someone else?” and in the same hour they brought to Jesus many that were sick, those that were blind, those that were lame and he performed many miracles. Then he said to John disciples, “Go back to John and tell him the things that you have seen and tell him that to the meek the gospel is being preached”. He didn’t answer directly of I am the Messiah you don’t have to look any further but he did those works that were prophesied of the Messiah.
In doing the works he allowed the works to be the witness themselves. He said, “I’ve done the works but you still didn’t believe”. Then he began to talk about his Father he said, “I and the Father am one” and they took up stones and were ready to stone him to death. He said, “I’ve done a lot of wonderful works for which of the works are stoning me?” and they said, “Not because of the works but because you being a man are declaring yourself to be God”. Then Jesus threw them a curve he said, “Is it not written in your law I have said Ye are gods? Then why are you going to stone me because I said I’m the Son of God?”
In the law, Exodus, the judges were indeed called gods. He was talking to the judges then. Most of the times people will refer you from the gospel of John to this psalm. Jesus said it’s in the law, not in the psalm and so he went back to Exodus where the judges were called gods. This psalm goes back to Exodus. That is where God called the judges gods. Yet people use that as a proof text that they are gods or are going to be gods.
Those in the new age movement who are claiming that they have ascended into the god-conscience state, the universal consciousness, and have ascended above the rest of us. The Mormons who use this scripture as a proof that they will be able to take their wives who have been sealed to them in marriage to some planet in the universe and they will be gods populating that planet and watching over it’s development. The Charismatics, the Copeland-Hagen crew, who are affirming to people today that ye are gods in perversion of the scripture. Here it says that “ye are gods but you will die like men” (82:6-7).
There is only one true and living God. There are many false gods; there are many pretenders to be gods. The Gurus in god have experienced the Avatar claiming to be gods, worshiped by the people, receiving the worship and the funds from the people.
The psalmist ends this psalm by praying.
Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations (82:8).
It is a plea for that day to come when the Lord, the righteous judge will judge over all the earth.
Psalm eighty-three is another psalm ascribed to Asaph. It is during a period of time when a group of nations had conspired together to invade the land. So the prayer from the psalmist is for God not to just sit back and do nothing.
KEEP not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance (83:1-4).
The nation is facing a peril. There are several nations that have confederated together. They’ve conspired to destroy Israel, to wipe out the nation. “They have said, Come, and let us cut them off” (83:4) let’s cut off the nation of Israel forever.
For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: (83:5).
The Lord said, “Whosoever comes against Israel is coming against the apple of God’s eye”. To oppose Israel is paramount to opposing God, the people of God. God identifies with his people. So the psalmist said, they have “confederated against thee” (83:5). So he speaks of the nations that have joined the confederacy.
The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; (83:6).
It is thought the Hagarenes were descendants of Hagar other than through Ishmael.
Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; (83:7).
The perennial enemies of the children of Israel.
the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; (83:7).
The inhabitants of Tyre were usually friendly. It was the area of Lebanon and they were usually friendly with Israel. In fact, Hiram the king of Tyre was a great admirer of David. Hiram the king of Tyre provided the cedars for the building of the temple of Solomon. He was a great admirer of David; there was a real league between them. At this point of history Tyre has joined with this confederacy of Israel.
Assur [Assyria] also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot (83:8).
So the prayer.
Do unto them as unto the Midianites; (83:9).
The time of Gideon when the Midianites had invaded the land and God used Gideon and the three hundred to wipe out the Midianite army.
as to Sisera, as to Jabin, (83:9).
No Sisera was hired by hired by the king of Hazor to fight against Israel in the time of the judges. This is where the story of Deborah, the fifth chapter of the book of judges. Sisera came with his nine hundred chariots, Barak was encouraged by Deborah to go out and meet him with ten thousand of those from Ephraim. Barak, that brave man said to Deborah, “I won’t go unless you go with me” so Deborah said, “Alright but the victory will go to a woman, not to a man”. The chariots of Sisera got bogged in the marshes of the Valley of Megiddo and Barak and his men wiped out the armies of Sisera. He fled and of course was done in by Jael.
at the brook of Kison: Which perished at Endor: (83:9-10).
Endor is right there near the base of Mount Tabor.
They became as dung [fertilizer] for the earth (83:10).
Make their nobles (83:11).
That is of these lands Edom, Moab and so forth that are planning the division of Israel.
Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes of Zebah, and as Zalmunna: (83:11).
Now Oreb, Zeeb, Zebah and Zalmunna were the leaders of the Midianites. They were slain by the men of Ephraim and by Gideon himself. This goes back to the Midianites. He’s speaking about two of God’s victories of their enemies, one the Midianites and the other these people under Sisera.
Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. O my God, make them like a wheel; (83:12-13).
The word wheel there is a poor translation, it’s a whirlwind. It’s talking about one of these desert whirlwinds. They call them the sundevils created by the heat and the pressure and you get these whirlwinds that rise up out in the desert.
as the stubble before the wind (83:13).
If you’ve ever been in one of those whirlwinds when they come by they pick up all kinds of trash and everything else and they take them up in the air. It’s a miserable mess to be in because the dust is blowing and all kinds of debris. Living in Tucson we used to have them all the time. When they’d come by the house they would dump the trashcans and they were a mess. So let them be carried away like the stubble in a whirlwind.
As the fire burneth a wood and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; (83:14).
A wild fire in the mountain, like a forest fire.
So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD (83:15-16).
Lord just wipe them out until they recognize that you are God.
Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth (83:17-18).
The name of God, our God JEHOVAH, let them know that he is the most high over all the earth.
Psalm eighty-four is a psalm for the sons of Korah.
HOW amiable [lovely] are thy tabernacles [dwelling places], O LORD of hosts! (84:1).
The word amiable is an old word. We don’t use it much anymore.
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God (84:2).
The psalmist is expressing his desire for God. “How lovely are the dwelling places, my soul longs, yea even faints for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (84:1-2). Jesus said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled”. Deep down within every man there is a thirst for God. Romans eight tells us that God made the creature, man, subject unto emptiness and that by design or reason of him who created him.
When God created man he created him a threefold being of body, mind and spirit. Though there are three parts to me yet they are integrated into one unit. So I am one person. I am a spirit, I dwell in a body and I posses consciousness. So you have the three parts; the body, the mind or consciousness and the spirit. My body has certain needs. The need for air, moisture or water, food the basic biologic needs of the body that create what are called the body drives.
My mind or emotions have certain needs, our sociological drives. The need for love, the need for attention, the need for security, the need to be needed and I long after these things. There’s a thirst or a drive for these things. Way down deep inside of man there’s a vacuum, there’s an emptiness, and there’s a need and a drive for a meaningful relationship with God. A drive that the spirit can only be satisfied when a person comes into a meaningful relationship with God.
When God created man and placed him in the garden man was complete in body, mind and spirit. A total man, total person. God said to Adam “In the day the you eat of the tree that is in the midst of the garden you will surely die”. When Adam ate his spirit died. That part of man that communed and fellowshipped with God was dead. Man became like an animal possessing a body and a consciousness but his spirit was dead. Yet, down in that deep area of the heart there was a longing, a drive, and a need for God.
Man sought to fulfill that need with physical or emotional experiences but they don’t satisfy. So Jesus spoke much about the thirst, the spiritual thirst of man. To the woman in Samariah he said, “Drink of this water you will thirst again but if you drink of the water I give it will be like an Artesian well constantly flowing within you”. He said on the temple mount, John seven thirty-five, “If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink and he that drinketh of the water that I giveth” as the scripture said “out of his innermost being there will begin to gush torrents of living water”. This he was speaking of the spirit. When a man is born again by the spirit of God that part of man that died in the garden comes to life. With this spiritual life comes this relationship with God, comes that fulfillment, that satisfaction more, there comes that overflow. My life is so full it begins to overflow. The psalmist is expressing his longings for God. My soul longs for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thing altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God (84:3).
Going into the temple he saw how the swallows that nested there around the altars of the Lord, how the sparrows had built their nests and thought “those lucky little creatures hanging around the courts of the lord all the time”. They have found a place there in the courts of the Lord.
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee (84:4).
How blessed are those who have that privilege of dwelling in the house of the Lord.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them [holiness] (84:5).
How blessed is that man who is come to learn his weaknesses, his own frailties, and who has put his trust in the Lord and has found the strength of the Lord. Paul the apostle went through a period of weakness and suffering. He prayed about it three times and the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, my strength will be made perfect in your weakness”. Paul then declared, “I will therefore glory in my weaknesses that the power of God might be revealed in me”. O blessed is the man whose strength is in the who has found the strength of the Lord in his life in those areas that he knows he is weak. He has learned to trust in the Lord and he has discovered God’s strength. When I am weak and I know it then I am strong because I am not relying upon myself, I am now relying upon the Lord and his strength that he has promised.
Who passing through the valley of Baca [weeping] (84:6).
Passing through those difficult places of life, his strength is in the Lord.
make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God (84:6-7).
That blessed man whose strength is in the Lord turns the weeping sorrowful areas of life into a place of refreshment, a well, pools in those dry places. How good it is to know God’s strength.
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed (84:8-9).
Now he’s praying for the king, the king who had been anointed by God. We don’t know exactly who the king is, we don’t know exactly when this psalm was written but his prayer is for the king. We are told to pray for those who are in authority over us. The psalmist is praying for that man who had been anointed as king over Israel.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand [anyplace else]. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness (84:10).
This is a psalm for the sons of Korah. As you read of the temple order and the Levites and the positions that they had, the house or the family of Korah were those who were the doorkeepers. They were the ones who looked over the material facet of the tabernacle itself. This was a problem to Korah, the head of this branch of the family of Levi. He came with a group of fellows that he had stirred up to Moses and said, “You have taken too much on yourself. You sent your brother Aaron as the one to offer the sacrifices and to go before the Lord. We also are Levites, we have as much right as Aaron” to go before the Lord. He created this rebellion is Israel against the leadership of Moses. Moses said, “Let’s leave it to the Lord” and told them to come down tomorrow with their little incense pots with them and we’ll let God determine who is to offer the incense before him.
The next day these guys came down, a hundred and twenty, with their little incense pots to go in and offer before the Lord. Korah wouldn’t even come and Moses said to tell Korah to come down. Korah basically said I don’t have to obey you. Moses then said if God’s in this thing let him do something new. Let God open up the earth and swallow Korah and his family alive right down into the pit. All these guys who are rebelling. The earth opened up and Korah’s tent went up.
I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness (84:10).
You get the psalm now? That’s what happened to Korah, the head of the family, dwelling in the tents of wickedness he went directly down into the pit and the earth closes up again. Fire came out from the altar and consumed a hundred and twenty guys with their little incense pots. Moses said it looks like Aaron’s the man.
I love this next verse.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: (84:11).
The Lord is my light and my protector. He is my life.
the LORD will give grace and glory: (84:11).
Be gracious unto me O Lord. The Lord will give grace and glory.
no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly (84:11).
It puts the ball in our courts. Walk uprightly before the Lord. Walk with him. “No good thing will he withhold from those that walk uprightly” (84:11). We are told in second Chronicles chapter fifteen that the “eyes of the Lord both to and fro throughout the earth to show himself strong on behalf of those who’s hearts are perfect towards him. The same idea. God wants to bless your life. God wants to pour out upon you his divine favors and God wants to lavish his love upon you. All I have to do is be in harmony with him. My heart and my life in harmony and within accord of God and no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly. How glorious it is to walk with the Lord. How gracious he is.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee (84:12).
To just put our trust in the Lord, how blessed.
Father we thank You again for Your word. We thank You for Your goodness. Help us Lord to walk in a way that is in perfect harmony with Your desires and Your wishes for our lives. May we seek first Lord, above everything else, Your kingdom and Your righteousness so that you will be able to add all of these other things to us. Lord, we thank You for those good things that You have bestowed upon us who walk and seek to walk in fellowship with You. Help us Lord to live a life that is acceptable and pleasing in Your sight in Jesus name, Amen.
Blessed is that man whose trust is in the Lord. May this week you put your trust in the Lord. May you experience his strength in those places of your own weakness. May his power be perfected in your life as you trust in him and you rest in him.
May it be a good week filled with His spirit and with His love. May you be His instrument who accomplishes His purposes. May God guide you and keep you, in Jesus name.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7192