The Weak and the Fatherless
God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?" Selah (Psalm 82:1).
Nothing stings so sharply as injustice and nothing should. How can I "rescue the weak and the needy (and) deliver them from the hand of the wicked?" (82:4). Shall I stand in solidarity with those that are oppressed? Shall I take a knee?
Asaph's insight is huge. Earthly oppression is just the tip of the iceberg! There's a great mass of darkness lying underneath the power structures of this world. The real powers—“gods" Asaph calls them—Satan and his minions—are the efficient cause of racial and social injustice and inequality in our society.
So… the task of bringing justice to the world is much bigger than I. Old Satan is too powerful for old David. How can I, a very small person in a very small place, be an agent of justice in the world?
Certainly, there are lawful and appropriate ways to protest injustice and I as an American citizen and as a Christian can take advantage of these counter measures, but before I take to the streets, there are ever-important “first things” to do.
For starters, I must myself "give justice to the weak and the fatherless; and maintain the rights of the afflicted and the destitute" (82:3). I must sit in judgment on the racial and social injustice I find in me. I have no right to judge an oppressor until I have challenged every vestige of tyranny and abuse in me!
Second, I can share the good news of God's love with those that are downtrodden, for their oppression is more profound than they know. They are groping for light and moral certainty: "They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness" (82:5). I can show them the One who has freed us from spiritual darkness, the most egregious oppression of all.
Finally, I can be part of God's plan to bring righteousness to the earth by "taking a knee"—by praying for justice every day. Asaph ends his poem with a short, incisive prayer: ”Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations" (82:8). [So much for the devil’s claim: “I give it (the world) to whom I will” (Luke 4:6).]
Injustice cries out for an hour of reckoning and it will come. God is the loftiest of the powers that be! He has "taken a stand in the divine council." He is even now "judging the gods” (82:1). He is taking notes and collecting evidence. The sentence has been handed down. The gods and those they influence will “perish like ordinary men” (82:7). It’s just a matter of time.