Reading from Deuteronomy 14 – 16.
We will focus on chapter 16 and verses 18-22.
Fair judgment seems to be quite fickle among the courts of human governments. Even in the USA, it seems sometimes that the ones who have the money for a good lawyer can get off from even serious crimes, while those who don’t have the time or money to pay a good attorney can be found guilty, even of a crime they did not commit. That is not how God desires His people to conduct themselves.
“Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee. Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth.” Deuteronomy 16:18-22 (KJV)
I will never cease to be amazed at the number of Christians, even preachers who spend time preaching, who labor to make the Word of God relevant and/or applicable to the times we live in. The more we labor at it the less relevant and applicable it may become. It is already relevant and applicable.
In lands/countries where they have dictators ruling masses of people; it is most often unjustly. We have heard the horror stories of Hitler, and more recently Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Even more recently the now “former” President of Egypt Mubarrak, evidently took billions of dollars that were meant for the aid of the Egyptian people; and has even been allowed to leave the country with it. The people are probably more happy to have him gone than they are concerned about the billions.
Every Christian should be concerned about just judges in judgment. Murderers go free because they have powerful, high price attorneys who know how to manipulate courts, judges, juries and they whole legal system of the USA.
The text above tells us the cities of the Promised Land are to have judges at the city gates [“Gates” implies one’s with authority in a city]. These judges were to make just rulings. They were not to determine a case by the money or material offering one might give or offer the judge, but by the evidence in the case; and each case on its own merit. They were not to pervert judgment.
There is much perverted judgment today. In some cases men and women are tried because of accusations by children that they were molested by this adult; when in fact they were not; but this adult, which is their mother or father merely disciplined them; taking the keys of the child’s car, preventing them from going out; or of some nature as that. “If you will only plead guilty they are told, then, you will get a lighter sentence.” they are told. Some actually follow through with the “lighter sentence”, and it ruins their lives. Perverted justice. For sure. It is especially perverted when a judge receives a payment from a former spouse or lawyer to bring a certain verdict.
A perverted system that allows drunk drivers to walk free after killing innocent individuals is going to come under the judgment of holy God. It happens more times than you or I would like to think. You can probably think of other injustices that happen in our USA.
The second part of our text has to do with “trees” near the altar of God. God was cutting off the practice of worshipping of idols near the place where He is worshipped. The LORD hates the worship of idols; which is the worship of demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-21). Therefore the follower of Jesus Christ is not to worship anything except the LORD God of hosts.
Remember to read Deuteronomy 14 – 16 today.
-Tim A. Blankenship