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Sermon Bible Commentary

Psalms 82



Verse 8

Psalms 82:8

The psalmists and prophets of old earnestly desired that God would arise to judge the earth. They desired it not for their own sakes, but for the earth's sake. We are wont to divide the advent of mercy from the advent of judgment by an immense tract of ages. When we read the Prophets, we are perplexed by finding these advents brought together as if they were parts of the same transaction, as if one could scarcely be separated from the other. This apparent union of opposite subjects, of times far separated, is not less characteristic of Evangelists and Apostles than of the elder men. Very seldom indeed do they speak of Christ as having come without bidding His followers look for Him and wait for Him as about to come. How is this habit of speech to be accounted for?

I. The Church does not distinguish the advent of our Lord from His incarnation. She regards His coming upon this earth as His coming into our nature. Another thought was combined in the minds of the Apostles with this, without which it is imperfect. They believed that man was made in the image of God; they believed that He who is the perfect image of God must set forth, can alone set forth, true and perfect manhood. What follows? The advent of Christ was the advent of the true King, and Head, and Judge of men; it could be nothing else if it was the advent of the Son of God, of Him after whose likeness men were created.

II. Christ appearing in great humility neither completed the salvation nor the judgment. His resurrection and ascension were to carry on what the Incarnation had begun. The message of full redemption, of an advent for judgment, must rest upon them. St. Paul was the witness of a justification for every man, of a justification for mankind. And therefore St. Paul was the great preacher of judgment. The revelation of God's righteousness for the justification of men was, he said, itself the "revelation of God's wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness."

III. Substitute for this idea of an advent the mere notion of a birth taking place at a certain period in Bethlehem, of that being the birth of the Founder of our religion, of that being the birth from which we date our time; and see how inevitably all the conclusions which seemed so natural to the Apostles become utterly unnatural and incredible to us. We may give what glorious titles to our Lord we please; but in that case He is but a man exalted above men, not the Root and Head of humanity. No warnings of divines can prevent us from falling back upon the old question, "Where is the promise of His coming?"

IV. The question has been answered; all things have not continued as they were since the fathers fell asleep. God has been testifying to the conscience of each human being that the hour is at hand when he must be tried and judged, when he will be asked by the Son of man whether he has owned or despised Him in the least of His brethren.

F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. iii., p. 1.

References: Psalms 83:3.—J. Jackson Wray, Light from the Old Lamp, p. 92. Psalms 83:6-7, Psalms 83:11.—E. H. Plumptre, Expositor, 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 61. Psalms 83:16.—J. Keble, Sermons from Lent to Passiontide, pp. 23, 34. Psalm 83—H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2628. Psalms 84:1.—R. D. B. Rawnsley, Sermons in Country Churches, 3rd series, p. 293. Psalms 84:1, Psalms 84:2.—S. Cox, Expositions, 3rd series, p. 109.


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Bibliography Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 82:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

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