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Justice for all
Bible Passage
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2022 & books Deuteronomy, Exodus, Genesis.

Justice for All

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached

18 You shall appoint judges and officers for yourself in all your gates which the LORD your God gives you, tribe by tribe. And they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.

19 You shall not pervert judgment; you shall not respect persons, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.

20 You shall follow that which is altogether just so that you may live and inherit the land which the LORD your God gives you.

Today’s text introduce certain directions for the administration of justice and the carrying on of the civil government of the people in Canaan.

Originally, Moses, with some helpers, was judge in Israel. Moses, especially inspired and guided by God, was sufficient, with the aid of the subordinate judges (compare Exodus 18:13 ff), for the duties in question.

This arrangement might suffice as long as the people were united in one camp and had Moses for a leader, who could lay before God any difficult cases that were brought to him, and give an absolute decision with divine authority.

But now that Moses was to be withdrawn, and the people would soon be scattered up and down the land of Canaan, regular and permanent provision must be made for civil and social order and good government.

Moses anticipates this want in the following provisions, in which he first of all commands the appointment of judges and officials in every town, and gives certain precise injunctions as to their judicial proceedings (Deut 16:18-17:7); and secondly, appoints a higher judicial court at the place of the sanctuary for the more difficult cases (Deut 17:8-13); and thirdly, gives them a law for the future with reference to the choice of a king (Deut 16:14-20).

For today’s reflections, the Israelites appoint judges and other helpers ( officers) in towns in every part of the country. Judges were fixed in the Sanhedrin, or court of judicature, and those that have lawsuits come before them; officers are masters of the staff and whip, and they stand before the judges, and go into markets, streets, and shops, to order the weights and measures, and to smite all that do wrong; and all they do is by order of the judges.

Moses lays down no rule as to the number of judges and officers to be appointed in each place, because this would depend upon the number of the inhabitants; and the existing arrangement of judges over tens, hundreds, etc.

Required of judges are wisdom, and meekness, and fear, and hatred of money, and love of truth, and love of human being, and to be of a good report.

The judges and officers must give a right and just sentence in all cases that come before them, according to the laws of God, and the rules of justice and equity.

The instructions gave emphatic admonition to strive zealously to maintain justice. The repetition of the word justice is emphatic: justice, and nothing but justice, as in Gen 14:10, etc

Judges must not pervert justice on account of outward circumstances and relations; as in favour of a rich man against a poor man merely for that reason, or of a near relation or intimate friend and acquaintance against a stranger, but justice should be administered without favour or affection to any.

The judge must make no difference in his address and behaviour to contending parties before him; he was not to be tender and soft to one and hard to the other, or let one stand and another sit.

(Exodus 23:18) And you shall take no bribe, for the bribe blinds the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.
The Jews have a saying, that a judge that takes a bribe, and perverts judgement, does not die of old age, or till his eyes become dim.

These leaders (judges and officers) must be fair. They must not accept gifts. They must deal with everyone alike. If they obey God’s laws, they will enjoy His blessing.

🔷 Judges must be fair though firm in all matters that come before them

🔷 No believer must pervert justice for a selfish gain or for love or hatred for anyone

🔷 Those who perpetuate injustice may cut short their own lives and blessings

💥 Pray for those suffering as a result of injustice
💥Pray that you will the rules of justice in all your endeavours

Christian leaders and all followers of Christ must seek and speak only the truth, and never take any dishonest decisions that will suppress any person created by God.

In series Bright Morning Reflections