GOD SERVES THE POOR
Open my heart to receive from You, Spirit of God.
Read Psalm 82
A psalm of Asaph.
1 God presides in the great assembly;
he renders judgment among the “gods”:
2 “How long will you[a] defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?[b]
3 Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
5 “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”;
you are all sons of the Most High.’
7 But you will die like mere mortals;
you will fall like every other ruler.”
8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth,
for all the nations are your inheritance.
a Psalm 82:2 The Hebrew is plural.
b Psalm 82:2 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAre you content with what you have?
It is a thousand years before Peter wrote his letters. The same God is at work overseeing mighty powers on high, and is simultaneously pouring out his heart for the poor. Who are these “gods” in verses 1 and 6? Are they some sort of supernatural beings? Or is the psalmist alluding to the supernaturally large egos of over-mighty human beings? At any rate, two ideas from this psalm are clear. First, the one true God rules over all. He is the ultimate judge. Secondly, this God who reigns on high has a special heart for the poor of the earth. The sections here demanding justice and human rights are a few of more than two thousand similar Bible verses. I am afraid many of us skip around them while perhaps searching for a verse to back up our personal hobby-horses.
This psalm suggests that, in particular, the wealthy and those in high positions must take responsibility for delivering justice in God’s name. Because we read and know the Word, we are probably included in those who cannot easily be let off the hook in this respect. Of course, circumstances vary but I blush to think what Asaph the psalmist might make of my western affluence.
The Bible directs each one of us to care for the poor. Especially in this season, many people are feeling the effects of poverty. Look up a local charity you can partner with to help relieve someone’s burden.
Loving Father, I pray right now for those who are weak, fatherless, needy, and oppressed. May I be Your hands and feet.