In Psalm 82 God addressed the judges of old. He referred to them as “the might,” and even as “gods.” Why are they referred to as “gods”? The word “god” has reference to might, strength, authority, or position. Some have positions of delegated authority from God over the people. Those holding such positions are to be submitted to and obeyed (Numbers 12, 16; 1 Samuel 24:6-7; Proverbs 24:21-22; Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1-2; 1 Peter 2:13-17, etc.), unless there be a conflict between God’s instruction and man’s (Daniel 3, 6; Acts 4:19-20; 5:29). They are to be not to respect for their position (Exodus 22:28; Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:17; Jude 8). Some men possess the power of life and death over the people (John 19:10-11; Acts 25:10-11). It is for such reasons, they are called “gods” (cf. Exodus 7:1-2). This is not saying that man is literally God, for he is not (Ezekiel 28:2; Acts 14:12-15). He at best only represented God (cf. Exodus 7:1-2), or has delegated authority from Him (cf. Romans 13:1-7). Not even in the next life will man be equal to God (Revelation 7:13-15; 22:3).
God rebuked these “gods” (Psalm 82:1-4). They had not been good stewards of their positions. They had shown partiality and prejudice (Psalm 82:2-4; cf. Exodus 23:3,6; Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 16:18-19; 2 Chronicles 19:6-7; James 2:9; Matthew 7:12). They may have accepted bribes (Psalm 82:2-4; cf. Proverbs 17:23; 1 Samuel 8:1-3; 12:3; Isaiah 5:23; 33:14-15; Amos 5:12; Matthew 7:12). They may have abused their authority by passing rules and legislation that enriched themselves (Psalm 82:2-4; cf. Isaiah 10:1-2). Yes, they had been entrusted great authority, but they had misused it. They should have used their authority for good (Psalm 72:2,4,12,13; 82:3-4; 101:8; Proverbs 20:8,26; Romans 13:1-7).
Now, what’s my point? My point is just this: You, today, or one day, may well find yourself in a position of authority over others. You may have authority over others at work. You may have authority over others due to a government position. You may have authority over a wife and/or children in the home. You may have authority as an elder or deacon in the church. Don’t let the power go to your head (1 Timothy 3:6). Remember: (1) Though you may possess great authority, all men are “children of the Most High” (Psalm 82:6). Moreover, all of us were created in the “image of God” (Genesis 1:27; James 3:9), whether we hold high or lowly positions in this life. It matters much how we treat one another (Matthew 7:12; 25:31-46; Acts 20:35; Galatians 6:10; James 2:1-5; 3:9; 1 John 3:17). Furthermore, since we all are “children of the Most High” we are all (both small and great) subject to Him (2 Corinthians 5:10; Ephesians 6:8-9; Colossians 3:25-4:1; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:12-15). (2) Though you may be mighty upon this earth, and even be called “gods,” or think of yourself as such, still “you shall die like men” (Psalm 82:7). All men, no matter how wealthy, powerful, or prominent meet death, unless they happen to be alive when the Lord returns. After death we’ll be judged by The Great Judge (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:12-15).
Let us recap, here are the powerful. They are referred to as “gods.” Yet, they were not to forget that they really were not so mighty and powerful. They too were going to die just like the poor (cf. Luke 16:19-31). They too had a Great Judge to Whom they must one day answer (Psalm 82:1, 8; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:12-15). Let us use our authority, therefore, for good and not merely for our own selfish ends. Let us not be unreasonable, harsh, or unjust (Ephesians 5:25,28; 6:4; 6:9; Colossians 3:19; 3:21; 4:1; Peter 3:7).
Read These Passages
1. “And you masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.” (Ephesians 6:9).
“Masters, give unto your bond-servants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” (Colossians 4:1).
Are employees to be submissive to their employers? Yes!
Do employers have authority that is to be obeyed by their employees? Yes!
But, employers need to realize that they are to be just, that they are not so mighty, that they too will die and be judged.
2. “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
“So husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies…” (Ephesians 5:28).
Do husbands have positional authority over their wives? Yes!
Are wives to be obedient to their husbands? Yes!
But notice the warning. If we are overly harsh and misuse our authority, we stand spiritually hindered. It is no enough to possess authority. We must also love.
3. “And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Are children to be obedient to their fathers? Yes!
Are fathers to discipline and set limits on their children? Yes!
But should a father use his authority just to be difficult, or to puff himself up? No! He is to use his authority to train up his child properly before God. [Note, regardless of the suspected motive of the command given – wives, children, and employees need to learn to be submissive save for the one exception mentioned ( Acts 5:29)].
We will be judged concerning our stewardship of authority