In the New International Version, the next three verses are set apart as a separate stanza, and rightly so, for they constitute God’s indictment of the injustice practiced by Israel’s judges. Technically, the first part is a question: “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked” (v. 2)? The second part is a command: “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (vv. 3, 4).

We have already looked at the first verse, but we need to return to it again briefly because it sets the scene for what follows. It is a convening of the court. It is God calling the "gods” before him to render judgment.

What is the meaning of “gods” in this passage? Yesterday we considered the possibility that “gods” refers to human judges. Today we consider another possibility.

On one occasion Jesus’ enemies came to him with a trick question: “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not” (Matt. 22:17)? They thought that if he said it was right to pay taxes, they could discredit him in the eyes of those who hated Rome and for whom taxes were a much-resented burden. On the other hand, if he said that the Jews should resist Rome by refusing to pay their taxes, then they could denounce him to the Roman authorities as an insurrectionist who was trying to overthrow Caesar.

At the end of the fourth stanza of this psalm, God indicates the result of his people's refusing to hear his voice and worship and proclaim him only. He gives them up to their own devices, precisely as in Romans, where Paul indicates that he gives up the unbelieving world to its devices (see Rom. 1:24, 26, 28). In the case of the world, this abandonment by God is to moral perversion and to spiritual insanity. What is happening among the evangelicals? In our day evangelicals are being abandoned to materialism and secularism, the very things they rail against and deplore.