One of the many truths the psalms teach us is the glory and majesty of the Lord. They exalt Him above every other god and show us that only through Him do we have any hope. We learn that other spiritual beings have pretensions of replacing God, and that through their demonic influence, man follows in their wake. The evils they inflict upon the earth are replicated by their human puppets.
Psalm 93:1 shows us the incredible magnificence of God in His heavenly throne room:
The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
This image echoes the vision of Isaiah 6:1 when he came into this awesome presence:
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
These scenes depict God in what is known as the Divine Council. God as the Trinity is self-sufficient and beyond our knowing. He is three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – but One God. Yet, He relates to the ones He loves on an intimate, personal level. Before He created man, He created the heavenly host. They also are created in His image but of a different, spiritual nature. He loves each of them as He loves us.
One of the tasks God gave these divine beings was to carry out His will on the earth. To communicate His purposes, God gathers these entities into what is variously described as the great assembly, the great congregation, and the Divine Council. We see this in numerous places throughout Scripture. The subsequent verses in Isaiah show this. Similarly Job 1:6 and Job 2:1 portray this gathering.
In Psalm 82 we see this assembly of spiritual entities, but in a different light. When God had scattered mankind into nations and confused their tongues so they could not easily communicate following the Tower of Babel incident, He placed His powerful, divine (and loyal at the time) sons over the nations as Deuteronomy 32:8 tells us:
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he divided mankind,
he fixed the borders of the peoples
according to the number of the sons of God.
These mighty princes in the heavenly realm all rebelled against God their Father. They set themselves up as gods over the nations they were supposed to superintend rather than rule. This resulted in the throne room scene in Psalm 82:1:
God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
Here we learn the inevitable consequences of 1) anyone but God Himself ruling, reigning, and directing the course of mankind, and 2) the eternal judgment upon His sons (bene Elohim) for their temerity in thinking they could take God’s place. As to #2, Psalm 82:2 records God’s indignation at their actions:
“How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?”
He then tells them what they should have done among the peoples of the earth in Psalm 82:3-4:
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
The psalm goes on to declare His judgment over these rebellious spiritual sons: they will die like mortal human beings (Psalm 82:7).
What is it, though, about what these mighty princes did in representing themselves in a wrongfully high position among humanity? The very evil that Psalm 82:3-4 shows is repeated in Psalm 94:3-7 among the mortal rulers on earth:
O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?
They pour out their arrogant words;
all the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O Lord,
and afflict your heritage.
They kill the widow and the sojourner,
and murder the fatherless;
and they say, “The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob does not perceive.”
Widows and the fatherless are in view. Whenever a wicked ruler arises, it is inevitable that widows and the fatherless suffer most. They are powerless against forces greater than themselves. It is they whom God hates to see mistreated. That sin kindles His wrath.
At the hands of the powerful, whether in the heavenly realm or in the natural where evil ultimately plays out, there are few who can resist, and all suffer. But, God gives us hope. He declares that though the ones who perpetrate wickedness are with us and doing their worst to bring us harm, we have an advocate. Psalm 94:12-13 says:
Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord,
and whom you teach out of your law,
to give him rest from days of trouble,
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
We who trust in God have Him on our side. There is also a promise that He makes. God is with us in our difficulties and brings us peace. Moreover, He will bring down and punish the evil ones, whoever they may be. It is inevitable: until a pit is dug for the wicked.
Psalm 94 reminds us that God truly is our helper, refuge, and strength. It is one more place in God’s Word that we see His love shine through in righteousness. Even as Psalm 95:7 says:
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand…
What a blessing! How thankful we can be for this promise.