The Story: The psalms of Asaph seem clearly intended to indict the people of Jerusalem for their lax spiritual lives, compromised morality, and the danger these introduced to the city and the nation. But this problem needed to be traced to its source, and Psalm 82 is Asaph’s gauntlet thrown at the feet of Solomon, his court, the priests of Israel, and all the judges and elders of the land. Much as Ezekiel would do in a subsequent generation (Ezek. 34:1-10), Asaph comes with hard words of judgment against the rulers of God’s people. Their actions and decisions have not been just. They have demonstrated a bias toward wickedness as opposed to justice. If we may understand by “justice” whatever is pleasing to God and according to His Law, and by “wickedness” whatever is contrary to the righteousness God was seeking for His people, then it’s fairly easy to see why Asaph was upset. Solomon, contrary to Deuteronomy 17, was amassing wealth and power, marrying foreign wives, and making a place for their pagan deities in his court (cf. 1 Kgs. 11:1ff). The priests and judges of the land simply allowed this to happen. But God, Asaph knew, was not pleased; hence, his “slant” attack on the judges of the land in this carefully crafted psalm.
The Structure: Do pastors and other church leaders have a right to lead or conduct their ministries in any way other than what is written in the Word of God (cf. 1Cor. 4:6)? In the church today it is not uncommon to find a structure for ministry – boards, committees, programs – that looks more like some corporation or institution of the secular world than the Body of Christ described in the New Testament. And it is also not uncommon to find that church discipline is languishing, the Law of God is largely ignored, and a wide range of sinful behavior is “blinked” at by those who have been entrusted with the work of building and purifying the church. I cannot help but wonder whether God, looking down on His appointed leaders today, is not asking them, through the words of Asaph, “How long!”Review the previous paragraph. Are any of these conditions present in your church? Can this be a good thing?
For more insight on reading the Psalms, get the book, How to Read the Psalms, by Tremper Longman III.
The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.