Throughout the history of Israel, Scriptures tell us of kings who either acted wickedly and turned from serving the LORD and, thereby, also turned the people from God’s ways OR about other kings who humbled themselves and served as the LORD’s representative to the people—in both civic matters and spiritual matters. These kings understood that for them to truly be God’s representative there should be no difference in how they dealt with issues of legality and spirituality as the leader of God’s people. The LORD was to be the ruler of every aspect and area of the lives of His people!
Jehoshaphat (such a fun name to say!) was one of Judah’s kings who understood this all-encompassing authority of God. And as king he actively and intimately chose to enter into the lives of his people in order to establish them as God’s people in all their civic and spiritual matters.
Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the LORD, the God of their fathers.
He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man, but for the LORD, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”
2 Chronicles 19:4-7
This established manner of judgment was for those who belonged to the household of God. And we need to let this be our practice of judgment with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Unfortunately, we know that our way of judging others can often come from a critical, self-focused, prideful place which has nothing to do with the righteous and wise judgment we are to make regarding the circumstances and behaviors—our own included—that do not honor the LORD our God.
As the people of God, we need to hold true to God’s Word—His Word of Grace and Truth in Jesus Christ—as we regard others in the household of God and make judgments as to right and wrong. First, we are to always recognize that we ourselves are just as desperate for God’s mercies as is even the person whose wrongs we consider most heinous and evil. This is the truth of God’s grace that is offered to all.
We are also to always recognize that our judgments against another person’s sinful acts must not be denied or ignored or played-down because of our close relationship with them—especially if they are in the Body of Christ as a believer. Sin is sin. Even if we don’t want to upset anyone by confronting them about the sin. Yet, this confrontation—done in humility and love—is how we are to care for our brothers and sisters. Jesus died because of the destructive nature of sin. His death was God’s holy judgment against all sin…so that we may live. This is the grace of God’s truth that is offered to all.
Yet, to judge another—by God’s grace and truth—is tenuous and tender work which requires that we must only make our judgments “for the LORD” and “with the LORD.”
In love, peace and purposeful passion, Sylane