Something to do
1. Tell God that you will listen to him and walk in his ways. ("Walk in his ways" means "do what he tells you to do".)
2. Learn how to hear God’s voice as you read the Bible. Some words will be special to you ... that is the voice of God!
3. Study Psalm 81 as *Hebrew *poetry. *Poetry is a special way to use words. Find how many verses in Psalm 81 say the same thing in two ways. A good example is verse 13. "I want my people to listen to me" means the same as "I want Israel to walk in my ways".
God And The Gods
Jesus said, "I saw *Satan fall from *heaven like a light through the sky". (Luke 10: 18)
(This is) a psalm of *Asaph.
v1 God is the leader of a meeting of the powerful ones.
He is telling the gods what he has decided.
v2 (He says) "How long will you not be fair to people?
(How long) will you say that the *godless are right?" *SELAH
v3 Be fair and give help to:
· people that are weak
· children with dead parents
· people that are poor
· anyone that has nothing
v4 Make the poor people safe and give them the help that they need.
Take them away from the power of the *godless.
v5 They (the *godless) know nothing and they understand nothing.
They walk about in *darkness.
The ground beneath them moves about.
v6 I (God) say, "You are gods
and you are all sons of the *Most High.
v7 But you will die like Adam.
You will fall like rulers".
v8 God, stand up and rule the earth,
because all the countries in it belong to you.
The Story of Psalm 82
We do not know who wrote this psalm, or when. It is a picture of God leading a meeting in *heaven, where he lives. He is telling the gods what he has decided to do. Who are these gods? Bible students suggest four answers:
· the rulers of countries on the earth, *like kings
· the false gods of the countries on the earth
· the people of Israel 2500 years ago
· *angels that have authority over countries on earth
Now the first three of these are either human, or gods made by human people. But verses 6 and 7 of the psalm may tell us that these gods are not human. They are "sons of the *Most High (who will) die like Adam". We could translate "Adam" here as "men". In verse 6, "sons of the *Most High" means "sons of God". This either means *angels (who live with God in *heaven) or his people Israel (Exodus 4:22). It is easiest to read the psalm with two meanings. At first, "the gods" meant "the people of Israel". Now it means "*angels with authority over countries of the earth" (Ephesians 6:10).
There is a picture in the first chapter of the Book of Job in the Bible. The picture shows the *angels meeting God in *heaven.
There was a day when the sons of God came to show themselves to the *LORD. And *Satan came also among them. And the *LORD said to *Satan, "Where have you come from?" And *Satan answered the *LORD and said, "From going here and there in the earth and walking about in it". And the *LORD said to *Satan, "Have you thought about my servant Job. There is nobody like him on the earth. He is good, so good; and he obeys God and does nothing wrong". Then *Satan answered the *LORD. He said, "Job has a good reason to obey God. Have you not made him safe, him and his house and all that belongs to him? You have made everything that he does work well. He gets more and more things in the land. But if you lift up your hand and hit him, he will say bad things to your face!" And the *LORD said to *Satan, "Look, you can do what you like with everything that he has. But do not hurt Job himself". So *Satan went out from where God was.
This is the story of something that happened in *heaven. The sons of God came to where God was. *Satan was with them. They talked together. Then *Satan went and did bad things to Job. The whole story is in the book of Job. The important thing for us to understand from this is: God has meetings in *heaven with people that are not men but *angels! *Satan is the leader of the bad *angels.
Psalm 82 may be about another meeting like this. God is meeting some of the *angels that have power in the world. They get the rulers of the world to do bad things. These *angels are not good *angels like Gabriel. They are bad *angels *like *Satan. Bible students call them "fallen *angels" or "bad *spirits". In the psalm, God says that he wants the rulers of the world to be good to poor people. There are two more questions to answer:
1. Why are these fallen *angels called "gods"? Every *Hebrew word that we translate "god" (or "God") means something. The word "*adonai" means "ruler"; the word "*yahweh" means "alive"; the word "*elyon" means "most important"; and the word "*elohim" means "powers". So these *angels are "gods" because they have "powers". But they are not more powerful than God is. They must obey him! The Bible tells us that "the god of this world" is a bad god (2 Corinthians 4:4). He tries to stop people asking Jesus for help.
2. Who are the "*godless" in the psalm? In the meeting, verse 1, they may be Israel’s rulers. But also, they may be the bad *angels that make other rulers and kings do bad things. It is important to understand that Israel in the psalm is the Israel of 2500 years ago, not of today.
What Psalm 82 means
Verse 1: The word we translated "meeting" is one that the Bible uses to describe Israel. That is why some Bible students think "the powerful" means Israel’s leaders. Some of them are hurting God’s people. "The powerful" may also mean "bad *angels". They make rulers do bad things to God’s people and other poor people.
Verse 2: God asks two questions. The answer to both is ‘Until God decides to give help to poor people that need it’. ‘You’ means the rulers of Israel, and the bad *angels that have authority on earth.
Verses 3 – 4: God gives help by making the rulers and important people obey him.
Verse 5: This tells us that the *godless do not know what they are doing. They are *like men who cannot see their way in the dark. As they walk, they think that the ground is moving under their feet!
Verses 6 – 7: God tells the gods that they will die like men. The reason is the same: they have not obeyed God. Just because they are important people or *angels, that will not save them from death.
Verse 8: Here is a *prayer that we can all say!