Psalm 82: Pray to God for Justice, Rescue of the Poor and Helpless

Psalm 82: Pray to God for Justice, Rescue of the Poor and Helpless

When will God bring justice to the world? That’s a question we all must be asking ourselves these days. King David’s head songwriter, Asaph, asked the same question around 979 BC, in this short psalm.

Psalm 82

A psalm of Asaph.

God presides over heaven’s court;
    he pronounces judgment on the heavenly beings (gods):
“How long will you hand down unjust decisions
    by favoring the wicked? Interlude (Selah — Pause and reflect)

“Give justice to the poor and the orphan;
    uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.
Rescue the poor and helpless;
    deliver them from the grasp of evil people.
But these oppressors know nothing;
    they are so ignorant!
They wander about in darkness,
    while the whole world is shaken to the core.
I say, ‘You are gods;
    you are all children of the Most High.
But you will die like mere mortals
    and fall like every other ruler.’”

Rise up, O God, and judge the earth,
    for all the nations belong to you.

Psalm 82 NLT

Crying Out for Justice

I pray verses 3-4 every morning in my prayers for Israel and all the other conflict areas around the world. I add the word “displaced” after “oppressed” because there are many people who have been displaced — through no fault of their own — by…

  • War – like the people of Northern Israel who have been evacuated from their homes for their safety since Hezbollah increased their rocket attacks on Oct. 8. Additionally, I’m sure there are innocent Gazan citizens displaced by the war.
  • Terrorism – There are survivors of the evil Hamas attacks in Israel who cannot return to their homes because were bombed and shot up and there is still a threat.
  • Persecution – Christians in many nations are displaced, oppressed, and imprisoned just because of their faith. Open Doors released their World Watch List for 2024 of 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution.
  • Gang Violence – like in Haiti.
  • Natural Disasters – wildfires, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

There are millions of people all over the world who are displaced.

Who are the “gods”?

Pastor Sandy Adams sheds some light on verse 6…

The Mormons, along with other cults and new age groups, use this verse to teach that man can become a god. He is his own deity. This is a popular proof-text for the cultist. But look at the next verse. Verse 7, “But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.”

Rather than teach our potential for deity, the purpose of Psalm 82 is to remind us of our own mortality. The people the psalmist calls “gods” will “die like men.” These guys were men, will be men, and will die as men.

The judges sit in God’s seat – but they never gain God’s nature – and they shouldn’t be playing God. Recall the desire to become a god was the sin that caused Satan to fall from heaven – and the lie Satan sold to Eve.

…Even the judges have a judge. The one, true God will judge all nations.

Pastor Sandy Adams

The folks at Spoken Gospel present more insight…

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. 

Spoken Gospel

What we must remember…

  • God is still in control.
  • He controls the courses of world events.
  • He is working in ways that we can never imagine to bring good out of everything.
  • God removes kings and sets up other kings — that goes for presidents, judges, prime ministers, and all government leaders.
  • He gives us wisdom, guidance, strength, boldness — everything we need when we need it — all we have to do is ask.
  • We can trust Him — our God, King and Savior. In the end, God’s justice will prevail!
  • Through His Word, He instructs us in how to live in this evil world. Put on the Armor of God.

This is Not Our Home!

This evil earth is not our home -- our home is in heaven!

In a way, we born-again, Christian believers are displaced. We are merely travelers through this crazy world on our way to our Heavenly Home. Moreover, we survive here on earth because He gave us the Holy Spirit to live in us as we wait for the Rapture or Him to call us home.

Have you got your assurance of a place in heaven?

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
  • Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Hymn of Heaven


Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be The Glory!

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