I remember as a kid being accused of doing something I didn’t do.
I was accused of taking a classmate’s pencil. I was accused of stealing. I told the teacher—in near tears—that I had not taken her pencil but she didn’t believe me and began the process of casting her judicial sentence in the courtroom of her classroom. Then, a sudden change: the thief was discovered and I was declared innocent. Justice was served!
There are times we stand in need of justice being served in our defense. This is the feeling expressed as we finish Psalm 82 in verses 6-8.
“I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.” Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.
You might have to go back a few weeks, but Psalm 82 is a “trial” where the Lord Almighty is putting the pantheon of Canaanite “gods” on trial. They were condemned before the Lord started and indeed—finally—the verdict is rendered.
The Lord reveals His sense of humor in a mocking way by reminding them the gods were labeled as “sons of the Most High” in the Canaanite culture. But these so-called “gods” did not demonstrate God’s characteristics of mercy, justice, and love. Instead, they were endowed with the ability to enslave people and keep them under oppression to manmade gods that could neither hear them nor help them.
For whatever their “gods” were, the Lord declared they will “die like mere mortals.” They were created by humans and they will die like them. But the Lord God Almighty, the judge of all the earth, was no invention of humanity. As such, He stands as ruler of everyone and everything.
Earlier in this Psalm, I spoke of the pantheon in our own lives (pride, jealousy, anger, and self-reliance). The Lord casts them down as manmade inventions too. The half-brother of our Lord asks, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” James 4:1. It is not THE God causing the problems in our lives; it’s OUR “gods.”
Yet, they are condemned to die as mere mortals. When our pantheon is weighed against the power, holiness, and love of the Lord God Almighty, the comparison is embarrassingly laughable.
The Lord concludes the trial against our pantheon.
Justice is served.
And we are set free.