2Chronicles 19:5-7, “5Then he set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, 6 and said to the judges, “Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment. Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.”
Have you ever stood before a judge? This can be quite an intimidating thing, knowing a judge can make a decision that will affect you being innocent or guilty on a matter. A judge is to base their decision on the law. King Jehoshaphat made a real mess of things during his reign. Therefore, “…Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat (king of Judah), “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you. 3Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God.” The prophet condemned the alliance of King Jehoshaphat with King Ahab (King of Israel) as Israel was divided into north and south. In the days following King Ahab’s evil rule in Israel, God raised up Jehu (see 2Kings 9:2) to completely destroy Ahab’s descendants. Jehoshaphat upon hearing from the Prophet Jehu set up judges, and instructed them to focus on three things:
First he instructed them, “Take heed to what you are doing” They were judges who were given the jurisdiction to make judgments concerning the people of the land. They were given an awesome responsibility of power. To quote Uncle Ben from Spider Man, “with great power comes great responsibility.” A judge can literally have the power of life and death in his hand. His decision is final and therefore cannot be reversed. If a person is found guilty of a crime worthy of death, once the sentence is carried out, the verdict cannot be reversed as the person is dead! Hence to be commissioned as a judge is no small task.
Secondly, he instructed them in their legal source and status stating, “…for you do not judge for man but for the Lord.” These judges were to judge others on behalf of God Himself. Hence their final decision (verdict), was in a sense God’s decision, therefore it was crucial to make right decisions. The Bible states of God, that He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10) meaning He is not biased because of one’s social status, etc…, God cannot be bribed. What could someone give God anyhow, money, power, authority, He has it all in perfection! They were to make right judgments, or better said, righteous judgments (John 7:24). How would they accomplish this? Check out the next point.
Thirdly, he instructed them about the Lord being with them, “who is with you in the (matter of ) judgment.” It is crucial to base a judgment not on one’s own feelings, intuition, social status, ethnicity, or mood, but on the law. There is no law higher or greater in all the land than God’s Law. The judges had to stay near to God and His Law in order to carry out their great responsibility of judging others and therefore make righteous judgments. Jesus said “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). This is why when we share our faith with others; we take them through God’s Law, not our own personal ideas or opinions of righteousness. I can’t walk up to someone that I don’t know and tell them if they are going to heaven or hell based on my eyesight. However, I can tell them what God’s Word says about the matter, and then agreeing with God’s Word tell them only those that repent and put their trust in Jesus will enter in the narrow way of Heaven, while all the rest will enter the broad way of Hell’s destruction. In doing so, I make a judgment, but I make a righteous one, because it is based on God’s Word, and not man’s word. We would do well to heed the instruction given to the judges by Jehoshaphat, and take heed to them in our evangelistic endeavors. Jesus instructed His disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Fourthly, he instructed them, “let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, which one needs to make a righteous judgment. When one fears God, wisdom will guide one not to show partiality or accept bribes. One cannot sugar coat the gospel for fear of losing a job, losing a friend, nor with hold the gospel because of ethnic prejudice. Sin is upon all (Romans 3:23), and there is only One remedy for all (Romans 6:23), hence we must bring thus great gospel to all, in the fear of the Lord, by His wisdom.
Realize that you have been given a great responsibility to take this Great Gospel into all the world, walking in the fear of God and by wisdom help people know the very judgment of God, who they will one day (sooner or later) stand before. This God will sentence them to Heaven or Hell, so the time to help people see God’s final judgment is now not later. Now go and be faithful to the call!
Until the nets are filled…
Phil The Evangelist <