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All "God's" Judged by God

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
January 5, 2022 7:00 am

All "God's" Judged by God

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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January 5, 2022 7:00 am

Human government is part of God’s plan. He established the leaders of Israel, and they were to exercise their authority in His name. But like most human governments, those leaders soon forgot Whom it was that granted them power.

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Human government is part of God's plan. He established the leaders of Israel, and they were to exercise their authority in his name, but like most human governments. Those leaders soon forgot whom it was that granted them their power. Welcome to Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically when leaders are corrupt, the helpless suffer, and God does not turn a blind. Let's join Dr. Boyce as we study Psalm 82 and see what happens when those who govern forget their judge and fill the ones that are called to serve on one occasion. Toward the end of his ministry and the leaders of the Jewish nation came to Jesus with a trick question had to do a talk such a ask him, is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not a trick question because they thought, however, he answered the question I'd be able to get in trouble if he said that's lawful to pay taxes they would try to discredit them with the people because nobody likes to pay taxes. In the case of the Roman occupation was a great deal of natural resentment I would've said, what Mrs. Josh, the collaborator with the Romans.

This oppression under religious guys other hand said no it's not right to pay taxes and I could go to the Romans and Z what you got trouble here is somebody is trying to stop a revolution. I think you better rest and put them out of sight while Jesus was never caught off guard by anything and certainly wasn't caught off guard by this we turn to them and said to me according around in their pockets. They produced what they gave it to him and held it out to be held out so they could see the image of Caesar was impressed upon the point, asked him a question whose image is this Caesar. He said Caesar what is Caesar's money require some of it back at your duty and I think what happened is this. I think he flipped it over in his hand because always have been a picture of a Roman god or goddess in the backside going and he said to them, I think making a contrast spot to God the things God's words when he did something really profound is getting off the hall wasn't just answering the question about taxes.

He was saying that the state has a legitimate authority and that authority has been given to it by God's rule. One of the things a state has to do in order rule is to receive taxes same time he was indicating the authority of the state is not unlimited but doesn't have a right to do anything at all, but rather subject to God. The people of God always have to obey God first, whatever.

There is a legitimate choice.

In contrast, I begin that way because that is exactly what Psalm 82 is all about Psalm 82 is dealing with the earthly judges of Israel and its calling to account by God. In other words, saying they have authority but a saying that there authority is given by God and therefore there are accountable to him was on the first verse begins. God presides in the great assembly gives judgment on the dogs we have to pause here moment to deal with the question technical questions on people like that which we would just get on something practical but you have to deal with this because this word God's has been handled in two different ways. On the one hand, are people who treat this as referring to the judges of this rely just on that myself. This is been the traditional view in the church until relatively recent times over great writers down through the ages of the church treated this way when it refers to God's strips, referring to human rulers or judges now seem strange to us because we wouldn't refer to human beings. This way call judge and a local court or the Supreme Court, God seemed to of been so strange Israel because there are verses in the Old Testament that use the word exactly that way. For example, in Exodus 21 six instructions part of the civil law say that if there is a man was served as a slave for six years servant indentured slave to another man and of the end of that time of the seventh year went by the law it was required that he be set free decided he didn't really want to be set me rather enjoyed kind of service.

He was happy in the home.

Then he was to go to the judges who would pierce his ear as a sign that he was taking on permanent but willing slavery well is go to the judges.

The word that is used there is Elohim. It means God or gods because it's deplorable in exactly the same way the workers here in our small, look at that verse in Exodus, you find that the new international version. Some others rightly translate the verse then his master must taken before the judges because that's what is referring to the word is actually Elohim the same thing occurs several times also Exodus 22 the best argument for this verse or this interpretation of the verse is the way Jesus referred to us all. In John 10 little story in airworthy Jews come to him with another criticism on what he is doing and Jesus had been calling himself the son of God.

They said you shouldn't be saying that about yourself because that's blasphemy yourself, the son of God, do you think you are anyway, Jesus replied, this way isn't written in your law.

I have said, you are God's numbness worries quoting from us all. Psalm 82 and Jesus continued if he called them gods, to whom the word of God came in the Scripture can't be broken.

What about the one the father set apart as his very own incident of the world what you accuse me of blasphemy because I said I am God's son.

While some have accused Jesus of trying to get off on a technicality.

There, but he wasn't doing anything of the sort he was saying that on uses that word gods of the judges of Israel says if God calls the judges of Israel gods directly very strong expression I can you possibly accuse me of blasphemy. When I send the son of God seemed to be a lesser thing if you just look at it linguistically. We know it wasn't trying to get off because the very common to which he answers this week. He says I'm the one. The father is set apart for his very purpose and send in the world so excited about his preexistence is deity and incarnation trying to get off the hook at all, but he says you're raising a question about my use of terminology and Nancy answer now the importance of that for us is that it shows a Jesus at least regarded Psalm 82 as being about rulers, judges, something else to is why I brought in this case from Jesus own teaching.

It gives one of the reasons why the judges of Israel could be called dogs because it's what Jesus as word of God came to that God's spokesman when they rendered judgment is what Stuart Perrone one of the great commentator says they were sons of the highest called by his name, bearing his image exercising its authority charged execute his will and they ought to have been in their major his living representatives. They didn't do this for the whole point of it. That's why the song was written on the second interpretation of this word gods is something that, as I intimated a moment ago is risen up in the last hundred or so years Old Testament scholarship only something that was advanced by liberal scholars. I just dismiss it say well not taking the word seriously, but conservative scholars of done it as well. An example would be Derek Kidner who was given this interpretation and the University commentary series wrote two volumes on my mother would be Marvin Tate who was written a lengthy exposition of the Word Biblical commentary series is the idea that one is referring to are minor deities all the demon perhaps four or at least the principalities and powers that Paul writes about in the six chapter of Ephesians utility says every says our struggle isn't against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Well, what are the arguments in support of this view. Two of them.

Two main arguments. First, the Old Testament does indeed speak of such powers referring to them as God's example is Isaiah 421 just translated the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above Daniel 1013. It talks about the Prince of the Persian kingdom resisted. Michael the Archangel seems to be a demonic power and if you want an example of God presiding over an assembly of such God is exactly what you find here in Psalm 82 you find it in Job 1 of the very first chapter of the great Old Testament but were told the sons of God Elohim, and present themselves before God and Satan is among them was a second argument in the second argument is this is the way Psalm 82 speaks of judgment on these God says is that they're going to die like mere men of the argument would go there going to die like mere man than they can be man and his human beings have to be something else Simply saying that it's the kind of and they're going to have trouble with that of course is that it's an argument that cuts two ways because of your beginning to insist on literal death turned of the angelic demonic beings who have spirits, but nobody is in you say 10 angels or demons really die drizzly camping on the body's body in order to die. That's like Jesus in order to be our Savior took Bonnie upon himself so we could die. Demons don't have bodies that are going to be punished for their said to be punished in hell forever, but they don't die make sense if you apply that way the other hand, if you apply it to the human judges does make perfect sense, because what this is saying something like this.

You human judges get carried away with yourself and your thinking quite important doing your better than other people, at times almost think that you are God's.

When a reminder says it's almost that you are not you're going to die just like anybody else. Your great plans are going to be swept away and you find yourself accountable while the bottom line is that I supposes that either of you as possible when people argue both ways, but the first to be preferred for no other reason that this was the interpretation of Jesus Christ is more valuable that way because it takes us all out of what we might regard as some remotely ethereal realm and brings it down to where we are is a word actual human rulers important accountable to God's grace brings it down to us as well because the same standards it raised up for that which they have special opportunities of affecting the standards that apply to us as well. Now let's look at it we already looked at the first verse we have to return to it again briefly, because it sets the scene for what follows is really the convening of the court is God calling the gods before him to render judgment. God presides in the great assembly. He gives judgment among the gods. Psalm assess all the men a lot to Martin Luther different times in history.

Psalms jump out at me special things to different people. This all meant a great deal to Martin Luther because it came to him in course of his exposition of the Psalms about the time of the peasants revolt that occurred all over Germany in the year 1525, the Reformation loose the authority of many people in organizations and structures, and the peasants who had been oppressed greatly in the previous century or so rose up, and what really became a political revolution happen all over and of course because Luther was the great reformer and the leader of the Reformation. The presence expected Luther to support. We didn't been criticized for that. I think wrongly, but he didn't. And the reason he didn't was that he knew that spiritual goals are not advanced by political means was concerned with spiritual issues. Also because he knew that it was necessary to maintain civic order in order for life and limb, and even the opportunity to preach the gospel might be preserved. He had himself been protected from death at the hands of the Roman church by the elector of Saxony was his principle that particular area of Germany. So when he came to the exposition of Psalm 82. He pointed out that it has to do with the authority of princes and it both establishes and limits it.

It establishes their authority because of God appoints them also limits it because they are ultimately responsible to God not think what we find elsewhere in the Bible give the example of Jesus trial before Pilate. Jesus was on trial before Pilate pilots very conscious of his office in his power sent to a docking tomatoes.

You know I am power to condemn you are. I am power to let you go Jesus replied.

He said you would have no power over me were not given to you from above is from God. So he said Pilate even a Roman magistrate who had no knowledge of the true God is nevertheless, in his position by God, you, and any power over mailers were given to you by God. Therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin loaded statement you say the Pharisees knew something about the Old Testament and should've been able to recognize that Jesus was the Messiah. On the basis of the Old Testament prophecies had the greater sin, but Pilate himself, nevertheless, was sending reason was sending was that he was offending justice which he had been entrusted by Almighty God, who uphold whether he recognized it or not, so he's talking both about the authority and the limitation find the same thing in Romans 13 Paul was writing there and he speaks of the rulers is God's servants therefore appointed by God and also accountable to God.

He writes people who are under their authority.

Christians, he says. Therefore, it's necessary to submit to the authorities. Luther knew that and so when Luther came to his exposition of the Psalm. He struck a marvelous balance will be just a little bit about what Martin Luther said first of all, the argue that the rulers must be obeyed where there is no government where government is not held in honor they can be no peace. Luther where there is no peace. No one can keep his life or anything else in the face of another's outrage, thievery, robbery, violence and wickedness, much less will the be room to teach God's word in the rear children in the fear of God recognizing importance of the state civil authorities but he went on the other hand, God keeps down the rulers so that they do not abuse his majesty and power, according to their own self-will for their gods among the people and overlords of the congregation in such a way that they have this position all to themselves and to do what they like. So, God himself is there also, he will jot punish and correct them and if they do not obey.

They will not escape.

Luther had the balance, so does the soul now in the new international version. The next three verses are set apart as a separate stance you have that text.

You can see that that's right because this constitutes God's indictment of the injustice of these Jewish judges technically the first part is a question. How long will you defend the unjust and so partiality to the wicked second part is a command defend the cause of the week and fatherless maintain the rights of the Port-au-Prince rescue we can neatly deliver them from my hand of the wicked. Using two different forms question and a demand but together they constitute an indictment all point is that the rulers didn't do this, they have not punished wickedness.

They have not defended the weaker the orphans, the poor, the oppressed have not intervened to save the week from those who are more powerful duties of the states are twofold to establish, maintain, promote justice and secondly to defend the citizens of the state from aggression both from within.

That is, from unlawful persons also without. That is enemies of the state you see, but what it's saying here is that the judges had done neither of those things they failed on both accounts. I like Luther read another paragraph or move, talking to the judges now is what he says these three verses in the whole solvent every print sees every ruler everybody responsible, and government should have painted on the wall of this chamber on his bed over his table on his garments.

Here they find lofty princely noble virtues. There is they can practice so that temporal government next to the preaching office is the highest service of God and the most useful office on earth. When Luther wants to extol the value of people who serve in the civil government, saying that the only important thing is being administered these people were serving civil government are important here is what he says, speaking of himself. He said I would rather be a pious secretary or a tax collector for one of these gods in twice a Hillary speak about Hillary Clinton, but is talking about the founder of the monastic orders in Jerusalem where St. Jerome went in twice a Hillary or Jerome among the Angels ask a question here were talking about just as we have a high standard of justice. I just read what's a ball question. Is it just is like that will be established and maintained in the earth midst of flux of sinful human affairs before you answer, let me point out Joe at least claimed Job was a ruler among his people. A wealthy man.

He sat in the gate where it was his responsibility along with the elders of the people to exercise justice, and here's what he said of himself as exactly what were talking about. I rescued the poor who cried for help in the fatherless who had none to assist them man was dying, blessed me. I made the widow's heart saying I was a father to the needy.

I took up the case of the stranger I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth as exactly what is required of these judges of Israel and what this all assignments I can very clearly that they hadn't done it.

That's why they are being called to account by God. Following verses two through four which contained the indictment to get the consequence was a consequence they know nothing walk in darkness and all the foundations of the earth shake say, this is a right description of all godless governments exactly what happens, whether it's overtly godless government like the former Soviet Union and the other nations of the Communist bloc covertly godless government like our own doing everything it can push religion out of national life godless government always produces consequences like that one are they, what would we call those three statements rather are three panels listed in the verse.

The first is ignorance say if you won't acknowledge God a moral order in the universe come from him absolutes that flow from his moral law perceive what's happening or what needs to be done even if you did you would know how to go about what's happening in our country people to know what to do this because I don't think that's something that brings them together their ignorance. Secondly, inapt action, rebutting government things they have to do something so we do something because I focused their ignorant of what is required, they inevitably operate in darkness, and the programs and policies of the government were effective as exactly was happening in our country people are waking up and I weep with lost our frame of reference. We distance ourselves from God. So we don't have a focus and because we don't have the folks we don't know what to do somebody and government said some years ago whenever we do something is always wrong thing that would make it worse. Great movement for getting the government out of it. Quite the answer either.

The government has a legitimate role. You see, we silent government every time he puts his hands in the pie messes things up stroke, the government has to do is recover his focus as a servant of Almighty God.

The third thing that happens after ignorance. Inapt action is that the foundations of common life are shaken is what happened in the communist countries prior to the collapse of the system in the fall of 1989 is what seems to be happening around country people writing books today that are talking about a dying culture referring to communism referring to the Western democracies most basic institutions like the courts.

The public schools, even government itself are in turmoil and its increasingly unsafe even to walk in our street because we forgot studies on 11 some time ago. Remember verse three foundations are being destroyed. Can the righteous do well in a judicial setting is significant as this, or God is calling the human judgment judges to account. We went in dissipate a thunderous judgment of the eternal death being passed by these judges or something.

Verses six and seven that way versus six and seven says you die like mere manual fall like every other ruler. Some say well that's referring to spiritual death and hell parish in hell doesn't actually say that. It just seems to be speaking temporally reminding the rulers that their human after all and that they'll die in time. Just like anybody else, and that they will fall from their exalted positions would be replaced by someone else and seem to be enough somehow probably is because that's really what means to be said those in high office need to know. It is also true that they have eternal sales to worry about has to do with the gospel and the fact that they need to have faith in Jesus Christ talking about them in that respect right about them in their capacity and responsibility to exercise justice and they need to be told that although they have functioned as God's.

They are not lots of men and women. After all, they will die and they will be replaced by others. Meantime, as long as they still hold their high office. They need to be reminded that they can exercise the function that there called to exercise only minimal way and that the they really wait upon God, humbly and in prayer. The task of the church. The task of the church to do secular governments job for none at all. Tax busters always get in trouble when they try to do that whenever in history. You had a church that tries to take over the government. The responsibilities of the government is always been a disaster for the church and for the government as well, to say the responsibility of Christians is to remind people in authority. But these things are true.

They are responsible to God they cannot function without a reference. The standards send character of the Almighty and pray for them as well. All lived in the midst of the declining Roman Empire world just like ours to the people of his day, saying, pray for those who are your rulers have positions of authority over that's a song that is one thing more. We not only need to remind those in authority of their responsibility and pray for them. We need to practice justice ourselves. We need to come to the defense of the poor and oppressed ourselves as Job did reason I say this is because the way the song ends son says, rise up, oh God judge the earth for all the nations are your inheritance is kind of a universal judgment and matches verse one verse one God is judging in heaven and that sort of brings that down to earth and it's sort of like that phrase in the Lord's prayer, where we are to pray your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, saying God is judging in heaven, but so far as we are able word exercise the same standards on the earth is a question I wasn't to be done when you talk about God judging the nations, all of the nations is simply a reference to the final judgment. The fact that in the last day.

All are going to be called when account before God nations as well as individuals will be judged yes I'm sure it is that but it's more than that, also a prayer justice might be done on earth through God's people. So whatever the failure of the civil rulers may be God's people are nevertheless called to show mercy and exercise judgment in this sphere of their more limited influence and to the extent of their responsibility pray. Yes, work as well and all the Latin phrase level right great Lutheran frankness play and work as those were the greatest players also become greatest workers was at work, certainly need to pray that's a challenge for each of us could do. One commentator on this verse is something that is wrong. What he says there will be no universal betterment of human existence to the right judge appears and saves the poor and needy.

So the true church does not pray this prayer I say we better pray for others better pray for ourselves and act justice as well be priceless.

Prayer father. We are thankful for this long, sometimes we talk about Scripture people get the idea that it's all about spiritual things is nothing to do with the here and now, here is Saul stalking exactly to the here and now.

The failure of our government the responsibility of people who know you live in an upright way doing these things are spectacular but are an expression of compassion and justice are father we ask for grace to do that because we think we can earn your favor in any way by doing so, but as an expression of the fact we are your people having been saved by the work of Jesus Christ. Therefore live in this world to be as he would be where he and I are place.

So to that end, we pray that and also we want to work.

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