God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; He judgeth among the gods.
PLEASE NOTE: I discovered this while searching for some Light on Psalm 82 and decided it was very current for the current condition of America today. Notice I did not say the United States of America since at this moment we are no longer united on much, nor are all of us that name the Name of Christ, actually “In-Christ” as required of Christians. Pastor Marion Williams
The Supremacy of God
I. As rebuking unjust rulers. “How long will ye judge unjustly?” Here is a common crime. Human rulers, alas! through all times and the world over, have been prone to judge unjustly and to “accept the persons of the wicked.” In proportion to the moral corruption of a man is at once his indisposition and incapability to deal out justice to others.
II. As enjoying pity for the afflicted. “Defend the poor and fatherless.” See that they have justice done them, deal tenderly with them. “Deliver the poor and needy.” It argues bad for that ruler the poor and suffering of whose people are found in the heartless grip of wicked men.
III. As characterizing the course of wicked rulers. “They know not, neither will they understand,” etc. These magistrates pursue their course of moral ignorance, they are blind to the eternal principles of right, to the transcendent claims of justice; only alive to their own ambition, aggrandizement, pleasures, and gratifications. What is the consequence?
1. Society is endangered. “All the foundations of the earth are out of course.” All institutions are tottering.
2. Its rulers are doomed. “I have said, Ye are gods,” etc. “But ye shall die like men.” This language may mean—
(1) I have regarded you as divinities; in consequence of your office, as far superior to all ordinary men.
(2) I looked upon your appointment as Divine. “All of you are children of the Most High.” Magistracy is a Divine appointment, into that magistracy you have been permitted to enter; notwithstanding this, in consequence of your unrighteous conduct, ye “shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.”
IV. As the grand object of the world’s hope. “Arise, O God,” etc. There is no hope for a corrupt world but in God. (Homilist.)
The utility of magistracy
Take government out of the world, and then take the sun out of the firmament, and leave it no more a κόσμος, a beautiful structure, but a χάος, a confused heap; without this men would be like Ishmael, wild men; every man’s hand would be against his brother (Geneis 26:12). It is reported of Maximilian the emperor, that as oft as he passed by the gallows he would pug off his hat and salute it, with a calve sancta justitia! All hail, holy justice. Of all people, Christians have most cause to bless God for it; for they are exposed more to the malice of wicked men by reason of their profession and principles, which are so opposite to the ways of the world, so that they are as lambs amongst lions, as sheep amongst wolves, as a lily amongst thorns, which would soon be devoured, did not the great Shepherd of the flock raise up shepherds under Him to defend it. These are the ministers of God for our good—
1. For our natural good, for our lives.
2. Civil good, for our estate.
3. Moral, for defence of us in goodness.
4. Spiritual, to protect the Gospel; and this good is reduced by the apostle to three heads (1 Timothy 2:2), peace, piety, and honesty.
They are a means under God to preserve the lives of us and ours; our goods, sabbaths, ordinances, and all that is near and dear to us; so that when government fails—
1. Order fails;
2. Religion fails;
3. Justice fails;
4. Strength fails;
5. Wealth fails;
6. Honour fails;
7. Peace fails.
As where there is no ministry, the people perish; so where there is no magistracy, the people come to ruin (Proverbs 2:14). These are shields to defend us, fathers to tender us, yea, nursing fathers to carry us in their bosoms, pillars that under God uphold the world, that it fall not into confusion, and the very life of the State (Lamentations 4:20). (T. Hall, B. D.)
Magistrates should esteem their office a Divine institution
Civil authority is a Divine institution. The man who holds municipal or political office is a “minister of God.” One man may, therefore, have just as real a Divine vocation to become a town-councillor or a member of parliament, as another to become a missionary to the heathen, In either case it is at a man’s peril that he is disobedient to the heavenly vision. The Divine right of kings was a base corruption of a most noble truth; so was the fanatical dream about the reign of the saints. We shall never approach the Christian ideal of civil society until all who hold municipal, judicial, and political offices recognize the social and political order of the nation as a Divine institution, and discharge their official duties as ministers of God. (R. W. Dale, D. D.)
Extract from my e-Sword Commentary The Biblical Illustrator:
Over 34,000 pages in its original 56 volume printing, the Biblical Illustrator is a massive compilation of treatments on 10,000 passages of Scripture. It is arranged in commentary form for ease of use in personal study and devotion, as well as sermon preparation.