Scripture Focus: Psalm 82
1 God presides in the great assembly; 
he renders judgment among the “gods”: 
2 “How long will you defend the unjust 
and show partiality to the wicked? 
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. 

Reflection: Favored Undertakings
By John Tillman

Spiritual and physical worlds overlap in Psalm 82, and interpretations also overlap.

Is God raising objections in the assembly of other gods, or is God speaking in judgment against human “gods,” the rulers and wealthy leaders? In either case, God judges and punishes them for defending the unjust and showing partiality to the wicked.

Federico Villanueva observes Westerners seem uncomfortable with the idea of many “gods” and one “Most High God.” But the rest of the world, including biblical writers, see no conflict with Yahweh ruling over other spiritual beings. Asaph’s original meaning seems to refer to such a spiritual realm, but Jesus quotes Asaph and interprets “gods” in a way that includes human leaders who received the word of God. (John 10.33-39) Neither interpretation negates the other. Both can be true simultaneously. But don’t let the “who” make you miss the “why.”

Why God is angry is more important than who the other gods are. God is angry at injustice.

God cries out, “How long?” We are used to humans crying out “how long” to God when suffering injustice, but in this case, God raises the lament when gods and rulers defend the unjust.

In the United States Senate chamber, senators assemble beneath a Latin phrase carved into the edge of the balcony above their heads: annuit coeptis, or “God has favored our undertakings.” Americans, especially Christians, often take God’s favor for granted. “We’re the good guys. God is on our side.” But is he? Many of the most horrible undertakings in history claimed to have God’s favor. Care and humility are needed. Do we claim God’s favor while causing him to say, “How long?”

God is angry when the unjust and wicked are defended and shown partiality. Are we?
God is angry when the cause of the weak, the vulnerable, and the oppressed is ignored. Are we?
God takes his stand in the assembly, speaking against injustices. Do we?

God’s objections to unjust undertakings imply undertakings he would favor.

We must speak against, not defend, unjust events, leaders, or causes.
We must refuse to defend or show partiality to the wicked for any purpose, power, or profit.
We must take up the cause of the vulnerable, lending our voices and support, defending them from the powerful and wealthy.

God favors undertakings aligned with him. Let’s undertake them, no matter what assembly we stand in or who opposes us.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. — 2 Corinthians 4.6

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

​Today’s Readings
Micah 3 (Listen 1:51)
Psalm 81-82 (Listen 2:36)

​This Weekend’s Readings
Micah 4 (Listen 2:33), Psalm 83-84 (Listen 3:20)
Micah 5 (Listen 2:21), Psalm 85 (Listen 1:25)

Read more about Turn Out the Lights
In choosing prophets that please us, we will soon find ourselves ashamed in the dark and isolated from the God we stopped listening to.

Read more about Honey and Grace
Christ pours out, upon those who follow him, extravagant grace that goes beyond a dry court ruling of “not guilty.”