Psalm 82: The Heavenly Courtroom

(8 verses, 0:48 to read)

What I am about to READ

  • Psalm 82 is a plea for God to act on behalf of the weak–that He would give rescue them from the hand of the wicked.


  • v. 1 describes God sitting down in judgment, a picture of the Final Judgment when Jesus returns.
  • vv. 2-5 are the opening statement of the prosecution and their evidence against the wicked.
  • vv. 6-7 are the verdict.
  • v. 8 is a prayer that God’s judgment would reach all the nations of the earth.


  • Lutherans are often accused of holding to the “legal fiction” of justification by grace through faith in Christ alone, as if God does not really act as judge over the world. However, this is one of the ways in which God describes His saving work in the Scriptures time and time again–just as He does here. Psalm 82 also teaches us that human courts are a picture of this divine reality.
  • When the left-hand kingdom (the kingdom of the world) executes judgment fairly and in accord with God’s Word, we know that they are acting on behalf of God’s Word. (Just like we know that pastors are acting on God’s behalf when the preach the Word of God rightly and administer the Sacraments in accord with Christ’s command.)
  • There are times, however, that this doesn’t happen. Sometimes, those whom God has placed in power, are not concerned with justice. Here, we learn to pray for those oppressed from God Himself. This is good instruction for us as we see creeping persecution from government in our own day. We pray that God would act on our behalf, because we, as private citizens, do not possess the authority to carry out God’s vengeance.
  • We have many examples of God acting in judgment over wicked rulers–Pharaoh in Egypt, the wicked kings of Israel, and the wicked kings of Judah. These show us that God does enter into history to fight for His people. We can be confident that He will also act on our behalf. If this does not not happen in our lifetimes, it will certainly happen in the Final Judgment.
  • Wicked rulers, even if they aren’t Christian, will be held accountable for their actions as they act as God’s ministers to uphold the public good (Romans 13). Since we are to honor our father and mother in a similar way that we are to honor God (4th Commandment), God will require an accounting for their stewardship of that authority.
  • Even as we pray for our rulers (I Timothy 2), we learn to pray here that God’s judgment would be brought to all nations, so that His good and gracious will would be done for all people.


  • Prayer: Lord God, heavenly Father, you have established all earthly authority. Grant them wisdom to rule in accord with Your will. Defend the least among us and prosper the preaching of Your Gospel in all the world. Punish the wicked among us, and allow us to live in all peace and quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:

-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

Learn more about Trinity:
On the Web:
Twitter: @TrinityVallonia
Find our sermon podcasts through iTunes (Search “Trinity Vallonia”)
or at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s