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You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the Lord your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment. (Deuteronomy 16:18)

As long as there have been nations, there has been a need for good, strong leaders. Leaders, individually and collectively, serve an integral role in the destiny of nations and Israel was no different. God’s people  needed men who would lead properly which is why God ordained the selection of judges and officers who would lead the people with justice and righteousness. This was critical because the conduct of these leaders, good or bad, would greatly influence the rest of the nation. It remains true today; leaders of every station influence the masses for better or worse, and so, the Torah stressed that leaders, specifically the judges, must act justly when judging.

The Hebrew word translated as “judges” come from the root word, שפט shafat, which means “to create order.” The inference is that without proper leadership and a just code of conduct agreed upon by all, society would devolve into chaos. Consequently, these judges were to be competent, impartial men who made decisions based on the Law of God showing no partiality to rich or poor. Rabbinic writings reinforce this notion saying, “The judge shall not say, ‘This man is poor and his opponent is rich, and it is the duty of the latter to help him in his need’. … Nor shall the judge say, ‘How can I put this rich man to shame in public, on account of a paltry sum? I shall acquit him now.’”

The fact is, God’s Justice supersedes everyone’s personal convictions. While it isn’t necessarily wrong for us to have convictions about things, if our opinion about something comes into direct conflict with the Word of God, it might be time to adjust our conviction. On that note, it is not uncommon in today’s world for judges to interpret the law according to their personal opinions. They very often override and ignore decades of judicial precedent in order to advance their philosophy which is, most of the time, unrighteous. According to God’s standards, these judges have perverted justice.

So how does this issue relate to us as believers? Paul posed this question to those in Corinth: “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” (1 Corinthians 6:2). In other words, though we may never sit on the bench judging civil or criminal matters in this world, we are nevertheless expected to be able to render just judgment in matters that touch our lives. In short, we must be diligent to do what is right in the eyes of God and never put our own feelings, opinions and convictions above God’s Word which, in turn, means we must know what the Word has to say on these matters.

Finally, we must abide by this supreme truth: He alone has the authority to determine what is right and wrong and it is, therefore, our duty as His servants to live in accordance with His righteous rulings.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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