The sacred writer is here addressing himself to princes and magistrates, by way of reminding them that when they sit in judgment the eye of Jehovah is upon them. But the most interesting part of this Psalm is that which points to Christ.
A Psalm of Asaph.
While we have reference, in a particular and especial manner, to the design of the Holy Ghost in the dictation of this Psalm, and behold what a very solemn appeal it makes to judges and earthly potentates for awarding righteous judgment between man and man, in every cause which comes before them; let us no less remember the private concern which every individual hath in the same doctrine, so as to preserve a consciousness, in all our judgments, that there is One who presides over all. Oh! for grace to look up to that everlasting and eternal Witness, who seeth not as man seeth, but who judgeth righteous judgment! But whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear, teach me, thou blessed Jesus, to have an eye to thee, by whom kings reign, and princes decree justice. Proverbs 8:15.
While we pay all due respect to the important truths here set forth, concerning earthly courts of justice, I would not overlook the occasion, the very idea of judgment and justice sets forth, to call to mind that throne of judgment which the Lord sets up in the conscience, by which he seems to deal with sinners according to the covenant of works, but in effect to lead them to Christ. Reader! doth not the blessed work of salvation by Jesus begin in the soul in a consciousness, inwrought in the heart, of our guilt and ruin, and total inability of being found just before God? And is it not by this process that Jesus and his great salvation are endeared to the soul?
The sense in which magistrates and princes are said to be gods, our blessed Lord himself hath explained, when clearly proving, that it does not imply the smallest idea of anything exalted about them, but in office only, and thereby distinguishing between the sense in which Jesus is really and truly God, distinct from all his creatures; John 10:35-36. But the prayer of the church to Jesus, in the last verse, decidedly proves that the consolation of the faithful, under all the oppressions of the world and unjust judgment, is the contemplation of Christ's coming to judge the world in righteousness, and ministering true judgment unto the people. How earnestly the church longs for this second advent of Christ; and how sure is the promise of Christ's coming, may be gathered from Christ's promise to that effect, and the church's echo to his promise in the close of scripture, Behold, I come quickly. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen. Revelation 22:20.
READER! let us pass over all lesser considerations, which the perusal of this Psalm might open to our view in the judgment of earthly powers, to behold him who is the righteous Judge, and to whom the Father hath committed all judgment. Oh! how sweet, how very sweet it is, to consider that He who is one day to be my Judge, is every day my Brother! Jesus will indeed at the last day sit upon the judgment-seat, and before him will be gathered all nations: angels, principalities, and powers, will be brought under his unerring judgment. And while such views are enough to check all unrighteous decrees among men, which will there be fully reversed; they are, or ought to be, enough also to carry conviction to the heart, that nothing can escape his all-seeing eye, nor escape his righteous judgment. But, Reader! hath Jesus already brought us under his righteous judgment? Hath he, by his blessed Spirit, made us to flee from a covenant of works, to take refuge under his own covenant of grace? Then is there no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. And if Jesus be my Judge, who hath already been my Surety; if he, who died the just for the unjust, hath wrought out a righteousness to justify the souls of his people, and shed his blood to wash them from all sin; surely, if he hath born their sins, he will not condemn their souls. He once died for them, and rose again to justify them; and when he comes to judge both quick and dead, then will he claim them as his own, and declare their righteousness in him, before a congregated world. The very words which he will then utter are already recorded; and what shall reverse his sentence? Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Well might the church cry out of old, and well may every believer now join in the declaration:, The Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 82". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29