It has been said that the ancient people of Israel were not so much monotheists—people who trusted in the One God alone—as they were a people on a journey toward monotheism. Are we really any more advanced today?
Picture God, says Psalm 82, seated at the head of a table surrounded by all our favorite God-alternatives: the Free Market, the Government, National Defense, the Standards of Beauty, the Spectacle of Sports, the Perfect Family, Religion. God announces a quite different one-item agenda: justice for society's weakest and most exploited. And then God declares, "You all really aren't cutting it."
The consequences of our idolatries make it hard for us human beings to get our footing in the world. But God promises this: the expiration date of our phony gods is near, and only the God-who-Sees—sees the victims, sees the poor, sees the forgotten ones—will be left to judge the earth.
God, I have been trusting in other gods who do not share your priorities. Hasten the Day when my false gods will be no more, and every nation will at last bless you as the One who alone is God. Amen.
Psalm 82 (NRSV)
1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
2 "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? (Selah)
3 Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."
5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk around in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I say, "You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, and fall like any prince."
8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth; for all the nations belong to you!