Christianity 201

November 8, 2019

On Choosing Judges

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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This is our eighth time with Josh Ketchum who writes at Life in the Kingdom.

I really try to avoid anything political here, but I was surprised at how refreshingly apolitical this column was. In my part of the world we don’t get to vote for judges, and for some of you in other countries that’s also the case. But it was very real in the time of 2 Chronicles, and there are some excellent principles we can derive from this lesson. So please read past the American election references and look for something that applies where you live.

As always, click the header below and read this at source, and then explore the rest of the blog.

Our Neglected Leaders

It is election time across our nation. Most of our focus goes to the executive and legislative branches of our government. But there is a third branch of government that has great influence and power in our nation. While I am aware that many judges are elected too, for the most part our national dialogue neglects the judicial branch.

Yet, I would argue that the judicial branch influences the righteousness of our nation to a great degree. Our judges, not only enforce the law, they interpret the meaning of laws. This means they influence the moral fabric of our nation.

An ancient King of Judah named Jehoshaphat saw the importance of righteous judges throughout the land (2 Chronicles 19:4-11). He brings about national reform for God by installing righteous judges. He established five principles for judges in Judah.

  1. Judge in recognition that God is in the room. Jehoshaphat said to the judges, “Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for the Lord. He is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you” (2 Chron. 19:6-7a). Every judge should recognize they judge as one who will be judged before the heavenly courtroom one day. An awareness of the presence of God creates humility, sobriety, and moral integrity.
  2. Judge in a manner that prevents injustice. The king commanded them to “be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God” (19:7b). Judges must prevent wrong and administer justice for society. We need judges that prevent evil from being perpetuated across our nation.
  3. Judge in an impartial manner. The king commanded them to not judge impartially (19:7b). The Old Testament word involves the idea of turning your face towards someone, and thus giving preferential treatment to one against another. We need courts where every person is respected and valued irrespective of their race, wealth, or religion.
  4. Judge in a way that refuses bribes. Jehoshaphat’s judges were forbidden from taking a bribe. The secular ‘golden” rule which says, “He who has the gold, makes the rules” still worked back then too. We need judges who don’t take payoffs from corporations, political allies, or campaign donors. We need judges who refuse to let money rule the integrity of their courts.
  5. Judge courageously with conviction and moral integrity. Jehoshaphat will give some details about how they should decide difficult cases involving bloodshed in his speech (19:8-11). He ends his speech with one final admonition, “Deal courageously, and may the Lord be with the upright!” (19:11). He knew that judges would face threats, opposition, and need courage to rule an unpopular verdict. Judges need courage! They need faith that the Lord will be with them when they act courageously.

We need judges in our nation that follow these principles. Christians need to pray for judges to courageously follow these principles. Christians need to aspire to be judges throughout our nation that live out these principles in the courtrooms of America.

During this election and the presidential election in 2020 Christians will think much about the moral direction of our nation and electing officials to help our nation. We must not forget the judicial branch! If all the judges followed the principles of Jehoshaphat righteousness would flow throughout our land.