Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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July 16 – God’s Will For Human Government

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NOTE:  Sorry that there were no devotions last week – I retreated to a quiet place to do worship planning for the next few months. The next few weeks will be a bit spotty as we will be taking some time for travel.  Hope your summer is going great.  Here in Colorado we are relieved that the Lord has given us some rainfall and the fire danger is somewhat decreased.  Thanks for your prayers!

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“A Psalm of Asaph. God has taken His place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods He holds judgment: ‘How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah.  Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.'” Psalm 82:1-4

Devotional Thought For The Day

We will take this short and highly interesting psalm in two parts.  It is directed to those in positions of authority, and is a brief instruction as to the principle responsibilities of government. The complaint of the Lord God, as enunciated by the psalmist, is the failure of the earthly rulers of that time. These failings of those in high office are quite common throughout human history and across the world. They remain the main problem in American governance today, and are the chief vexation of participation in the political process today.

First, however, we must be clear as to what is meant by God, the only True and Living God, when calling these human authorities “gods.” This is repeated later in verse 6, which is subsequently quoted by Jesus [Jn. 10:35ff] when He was accused of blasphemy for claiming to be the Son of God, that is, One with the Father, and truly God [this is the mystery of the nature of God presented throughout Holy Scripture, which Jesus asserts “cannot be broken,” that is, Holy Scripture never errs, misinforms, lies, or contradicts itself, wherein three distinct Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all identified as God, the Lord, and yet with equal force the Scripture asserts that there is only One True and Living God – which Christians for centuries have used “Trinitarian” terms to refer to].  That those referred to as “gods” in this psalm are human beings is made clear in verse 7 – they will “die like men.” It is important to note that while Jesus uses this passage from the psalm, in the course of the discussion in John 10 Jesus makes clear that He in comparison is far superlative to those called “gods” in this psalm.

Nonetheless, the great dignity with which God views human beings is clearly asserted in this psalm and affirmed by Jesus – that all human beings are “the sons of the Most High” and that especially those who govern such highly dignified and exalted creatures of God are to be afforded respect and obedience. It must be remembered that God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ “became flesh,” suffered and died for our sins to redeem us back to God, and to grant us the gift of eternal life with God.  This is how great God’s love for us truly is, and how important all human beings are to God!  Therefore, those who govern should surely recognize God’s interest in their governance over His “sons,” His children, His right to hold them accountable, and their responsibility to govern in accord with His will and for His purposes in establishing human authorities.  This holds as much today as it ever has in human history – and all earthly authorities, including our own government, are subject to the same responsibility and accountability to God, the only True and Living God.

The challenge is ruling justly without favoring the wicked, especially in maintaining the rights and welfare of the “weak and the fatherless . . . the afflicted and the destitute . . . the weak and the needy.”  This means precisely not favoring the wealthy, but also not rewarding and enabling those who are lazy and expect the government to “redistribute” the wealth of those who have worked hard to them.  These seem to be the poles in our politics – and our politicians seem oblivious to understanding “justice” and standing for it.  Of course, they merely reflect the values and attitudes of their “constituents,” their supporters – so the corruption, injustice, selfishness, and wickedness runs very deep in our society, and we too stand under the condemnation spoken in this psalm. I might add that abortion is by far the ugliest evidence of this moral and spiritual corruption, when the least and most vulnerable are simply exterminated by the wicked, and the authorities do nothing to prevent it.

So there is much for us to be repentant about, and much gratitude we owe to God for His gracious mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus.  It should also be clear what God expects and demands of authorities – and we should make clear in our political activities what we support and encourage. Lord, have mercy!

Scripture Cited

John 10:31-36  “The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone Me?’ The Jews answered Him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone You but for blasphemy, because You, being a man, make Yourself God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, “I said, you are gods”? If he called them gods to whom the Word of God came — and Scripture cannot be broken — do you say of Him Whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thanks and praise be to You for Your mercy and gracious forgiveness, and for Your patience upon us. Heal us of our selfishness and nearsightedness, our willingness to allow for injustice if it favors us.  Grant wisdom to all people, and especially to those who govern, that Your favor and blessing might once again rest upon us. Amen.