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Those Who Deny God Think That They are God: Psalm 82:1-8

Our world is full of people who live religiously or secularly. The rulers of these people, for the greater part, either assume or pretend to believe in a superior being or believe that they are gods. The final verdict, however, is that there can be only one God. Nonetheless, rulers around the world intentionally or unintentionally assume the role of gods. The fact is that people with authority or power, whether given or taken, simply cannot help themselves—power is addictive, which is why, like diapers, they need to change regularly. A person either serves God or himself/herself. If the leader rejects the God of Scripture, that leader naturally and gradually becomes a god unto himself who rules his domain as he sees fit, according to his own mores. They act according to necessity, not according to any standard.


A perfect example of this is seen in the United States Pledge of Allegiance. Americans are “one nation under God.” The phrase “under God” has been removed. Americans are now “one people subject to other people.” In other words, America is a people governed by the whims of other people. There is no overarching standard on which people can stand, that is, live their lives. These “leaders” become their “betters”; however, where there is no God, there are no “better people,” especially in the context of power. There is only raw power and subjugation.


Remember the famous word of the Great Deceiver: 5 “For God knows that on the day you eat from it (the Tree of Life) your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil.” If I simply reject God’s Word, I can become like God. This is the inevitable end of humankind: leaders and followers who believe humankind has all the answers to its own foibles. Satan is right—if a people reject God, they become the arbiters or judges of their own fate. This fate will produce all manner of evil and ultimate results in God’s judgment, as it has throughout human history.


“God takes His position in His assembly; He judges in the midst of the gods” (bolding added, Psalm 82:1).


In some translations, the word “gods” is translated as “rulers.” However, the Hebrew word is Elohim, which literally means gods. The interpretation is meant to state that human beings, who defy God, naturally begin to act like gods. This amazing passage reminds humanity, throughout the ages, that God is in constant oversight of world conditions, hence the perpetual question:

2 How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked? Selah (bolding added, Psalm 82:3)


The gods in this world have always taken the side of Satan. Thinking of themselves as independent gods, they are, in reality, his tools of wickedness. How long will these gods of Satan judge with an evil prejudice? How long will their policies benefit the godless?


The Eternal Responsibilities of Human Rulers


No matter the country, no matter its resources or the lack thereof, God requires that the nations rule in His name with His focus.


3 Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and needy; Save them from the hand of the wicked.


This passage demands two overarching responsibilities of every nation: Justice and Containment of Evil within their borders. The powerful are never permitted to harm their subjects or constituents. They are not permitted to take away their jobs or livelihoods, oppress them with the weight of law, confine them unjustly, lie to them, unduly steal from their labor, starve them, imprison them one-sidedly, cheat them, permit or force them to kill their own children, destroy the family structure, impede their worship or God, or in any way misuse the power of God for their own benefit. “For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you shall have praise from the same; for it (authority) is a minister of God to you for good” (Rom. 13:3). Rulers have a rather simple and clear responsibility: reflect God’s character in the manner in which they rule. Every authority on planet earth is commanded to be an exemplar of divine justice and love.[1]


The Miserable Failure of Human Rulers


Every authority from the beginning of time and around the globe has failed its divine mandate miserably. The Time of Gentile rule, which began under Rome (Daniel 2) at the crucifixion of our Savior and coincides with the mystery of the Church (Eph. 1-3), is quickly coming to an end, so we pray. The willful ignorance of the world’s leaders is bringing the earth to a cataclysmic confrontation with the Lord Jehovah.


5 They do not know nor do they understand; They walk around in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are shaken.

The nations have come and gone and failed throughout world history, but there will come a global accounting, an end of human hubris. In the end, divine judgment will come upon the world’s nations in the form of a Great Tribulation that will leave their nations in a torrent of disarray and destruction. Rulers and leaders are intended to be reflections of God’s dominion over the earth. They are creations of God; nonetheless, they are all accountable for every action that misrepresents or displaces the glory of the one true God. They will all die as every other human being dies. The only glory they will see is during the brief period of their lives, vain as that glory is. Then divine judgment and damnation become their eternal fate. God is not dead; He has not turned a blind eye or finally succumbed to man’s brilliance. God is "on watch"; He does not slumber or sleep. He does not forget!


6I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High. 7 Nevertheless you will die like men, And fall like one of the princes.”


Conclusion


I hope that the Lord will allow His children to watch the proceedings that lead to the final judgment of the world’s most despicable gods. If not all believers, hopefully the William Tyndale's of the world (those martyred for the faith) will be able to witness the eternal demise of kings and queens, Caesars, despots, and dictators who have lorded over God’s world unjustly. Thinking themselves to be wise, they will be exposed as the most ignorant. Believing themselves to be essential, they will be found irrelevant. Wanting praise, they will receive contempt. Demanding acquiescence, they will endure denunciation. Assuming themselves to be gods, they will become convicts on death row, forever dying without any hope of a pardon.


8 Arise, God, judge the earth! For You possess all the nations.


No longer is there a location on earth where the beacon of freedom (Gal. 5:13-14) can burn, except in the individual hearts and minds of God’s people throughout the world. The United States are no longer united and America no longer trusts in God. The search for truth is reduced to endeavors that rely on insufficient human wisdom and unrestrained lust for power and sexual expression. Intellectual pursuits to understand the real world have been replaced by irrational emotional wants that will create a surreal/bizarre world. The consequence: all manner of perversion and destruction. “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish” (Ps. 146:3-4). Only God’s Word is eternal. Human beings reject or ignore it at their peril.

[1] See Daniel 4, especially verses 17, 24-27. All rulers are to rule as exemplars of the Most High God; no exceptions! The authority of the State has been fully corrupted on earth. What humanity has failed to do, God will accomplish in the Millennium where true justice will be meted out swiftly. Then the New Heaven and New Earth will be created where dictators have no presence whatsoever. Even so come, Lord Jesus!

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