Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations belong to you! Psalm 82:8
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17
Psalm 8 is a short one – 8 verses. Attributed to Asaph who wants the rulers and judges in his country to pay attention to what they should be doing. The Psalm starts with a statement about God in the great council, an image of God in a very large meeting with authority over all. The subsequent verses talk about what God sees. lots of judges and authorities in Israel, or rulers of other nations who are not ruling justly. Who are not leading the people, and are ignoring justice. The unjust judges of Israel only had authority over their people. Rulers of other nations each had authority over their own nation. However, God has authority over all the nations, all belong to Him, and He is not pleased with their behavior.
Then in this last verse, verse 8, we have the Psalmist’s prayer for God’s judgement. Imagine actually wanting God’s judgement to come. Many people are brought up with the image of a vengeful, judging God. One to be afraid of that will punish them for their thoughts and actions. Yet here we have a writer who wants God’s judgement. Not for punishment however, but to bring justice. To free those that are oppressed by judging the oppressors. A world where there is truth and justice for all people. The Psalmist’s prayer is that God will do what the earthly judges would not do -- that is, properly judge the earth. Rule with justice and mercy and love.
So, do we all have to worry about being judged? Let’s turn to the verse from John. In John 3:17, [the verse after John 3:16 which is often quoted,] it is reassuring that God didn’t send Jesus to condemn people for their sins and disobedience. Jesus did not come to live among us a judge handing down sentences and fines. Rather, Jesus came in order to save the world. He came to share God’s love with everyone, in all nations. All the nations and all the people in them belong to God who loves us.
Almighty God, you rule with love and justice. Lord, we do not always see people as you do. Thank you for the truth that you died to save everyone in all nations. Your love and regard for the lowliest of souls helps us to treat others as you would. Keep us faithful today to you saving vision for a hurting world. Amen