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Justice for the Poor and the Fatherless
Bible Passage Psalm 82
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2022 & books Exodus, John, Psalm, Romans.

Justice for the Poor and the Fatherless

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached October 24, 2022

1 A Psalm of Asaph. God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.

2 How long will you judge unjustly and respect the persons of the wicked?

3 Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy.

4 Deliver the poor and needy; save them out of the hand of the wicked.

5 They do not know, neither do they understand; they walk on in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken out of course.

6 I have said, “You are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High.

7 But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.”

8 Arise, O God, judge the earth, for You shall inherit all nations.

Psalm 82 presents a picture of God leading a meeting in heaven, where He lives.

God tells the gods about His plans. Who are these gods? Biblical scholarship suggests different answers; but like majority think, the gods are the rulers of countries on the earth, like kings and other people that have authority.

The Psalm is intended to state the duties and the responsibilites of magistrates or civil rulers. Though the language is such as was adapted especially to the Hebrew magistracy, and to the duties of magistrates as specified in the Jewish law, yet the principles are such as should guide magistrates at all times and in all countries; and the truths suggested are such as are eminently worthy the attention of all who are entrusted with authority.

The idea is, that the magistrates were to be regarded as representatives of God; as acting in His name; and as those, therefore, to whom, in a subordinate sense, the name gods might be given (see verse 6). In Ex 21:6; Ex 22:8-9, Ex 22:28, the same word in the plural is applied to magistrates, and is properly translated judges in our common version (compare the notes at Joh 10:34-35). The idea is, that they were the representatives of the divine sovereignty in the administration of justice (compare Rom 13:1-2, Rom 13:6).

The Psalm was evidently composed at a time when there was much that was unjust and oppressive in the administration of justice; when the magistrates were corrupt; when they could be bribed; when they were forgetful of their obligation to defend the poor and the fatherless – the afflicted and the needy. It was when manifest consequences of the evil administration of justice prevailed in the land, and “all the foundations of the earth” seemed to be “out of course;” and when those in power were haughty and arrogant, as if they were not people, and were not to die. Can you imagine!

They showed favour or partiality to wicked people; they did not decide cases according to truth, but were influenced by a regard for particular persons on account of their rank, their position, their wealth, or their relation to themselves. This is not uncommon in Ghana and other parts of Africa and the world at large. It is equally rampant in the Church, unfortunately. Self seeking lifestyle that makes the rich richer is perverse in Africa. It’s like everyone has lost conscience and we only think about ourselves instead of the teaming majority that are poor and struggle to make ends meet.

Even in the Church, people are often suppressed and only those who give higher tithes and ‘sow big seeds’ are seen as God’s children. The rest are often treated with contempt and disdain.

To defend the poor and the fatherless in verse 3 does not mean that judgement is to be pronounced in their favour because they are poor, or because they are orphans, for this would also amount to injustice.

Accepting of persons; that is, showing favour on account of condition or rank, rather than on account of a just claim is always wrong. The idea is, that the poor and the fatherless, having no natural protectors, were likely to be wronged or oppressed often; that they had none to defend their claims; and that magistrates, therefore, as if they were their natural protectors, should see that their rights were maintained.


🔷 God is the supreme ruler to whom even those earthly people exalted in rank are responsible

🔷 Injustice, partiality and favouring people of rank and position are detestable to God

🔷 Those in power must neither dishonour nor suppress or marginalise the poor, the orphaned, the needy, the afflicted among them

💥 Thank God for a new week and pray for the poor and needy
💥 Pray God shall serve you justice in all things

God the Supreme Ruler of all nations will rise and execute judgement over all people including the privileged few in power. Since we are all siblings and children of the same God, we must treat all people as we would treat others we slept in the same womb with.

In series Bright Morning Reflections