STAY TRUE TO GOD
With Authority comes Responsibility
Jerry A Collins
v What does it mean to make a just judgment?
v When in authority how should I discipline others?
v What qualifies one to have authority with God?
We have all seen people who misuse their authority. If you find yourself in a place of judgment or a position of authority, remember that you are responsible to God for what you do, and how you decide! Contrary to the way we think, whenever we are given any kind of authority, that authority is not so we can Lord it over others. Husbands think they can do this with their wives; Pastors with churches; Parents with kids; Employees with employers. Our use of authority must always be tempered with the sense of responsibility we have before God as we exercise it. Authority is simply another life situation we are responsible to God for having and using. In Israel, authority meant responsibility—responsibility to prevent impure worshipping practices in the land; that false worshippers were executed because they threatened the very existence of the land; that just judgments were made in disputed and difficult cases; that authority was exercised in dependence upon God. So what can we learn about what we should we do when in a place of judgment or authority?
1. THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATE SO THERE IS JUDGMENT AGAINST WHAT GOD HATES 2-7
Notice that the judgment is made against a ‘detestable thing’ vs 1, 4 and ‘the evil’ vs 2, 7. On one hand, this refers to impure worshipping practices -7:1 and on other hand to idol worshippers 2-7.
2, it is something that takes place in the towns of
Second, vs 3, this is idol or false worship God says He detests. Specifically, it is serving other gods and worshipping them. It is not just a petty recognition and nod toward these gods, but a commitment to them—an allegiance and acceptance of these. Which gods? The gods of the sun, the moon, of any heavenly hosts—Astral worship forbidden in . The honoring of inanimate objects in the skies. God had even commanded the opposite of this.
Third, if anyone witnessed such a charade vs 4, it was to be investigated thoroughly and proven to be true. The ensure against a capricious judgment, two or three independent witnesses were required. A guilty verdict meant execution vs 5. The witnesses were first to cast stones, followed by all of the people vs 7. These requirements were safeguards against injustice and perjury. The participation of the whole community meant a collective rejection of other gods and commitment to purging it’s influence from the land vs 7. This was against something God hated so the people were acknowledging they hated what God hated. The problem is often that we do not hate what God hates. We instead want to accommodate or make room for alternatives or other understanding but once thoroughly investigated God’s thinking on subject, thru study of scripture, then judgment must follow. Today, we too, are responsible to make judgments about what God hates. When we confront a believer it must be about sin—something in the life God hates, not just a personal preference of some kind. The idea is that the believing community is aware of what God hates and confronts, judges and disciplines so God’s concerns are addressed.
2. MAKE JUDGMENTS GOVERENED BY GODS WORD 8-13
There will be differing and
difficult situations that will require making a judgment upon vs 8. Because Moses won’t continue to be there, if the
judgment is too difficult, the judge should go to the Levitical
priests for help in judgment vs 9. The point is that
the Priests function to clarify how the Law related to the case vs 10-11. It was ‘according to the terms of the law’ vs 11 that they were to render a verdict—not some arbitrary solution. This solution
was sought for at the
3 DO NOT EXERCISE AUTHORITY TO JUDGE BY INTRIGUE BUT HUMBLY BEFORE GOD 14-20
Moses recognized once settled
like other nations,
Not by intrigue 14-17 (1) God will chose their king vs
15. So must be a member of the covenant community not a foreigner. This
choosing was usually directed thru a prophet (1 Sam 9-12; 1 Sam 16). This would
mean confidence that God would choose person appropriate and gifted to be king.
An Israelite raised in land under the Law was foundational to this choice. (2)
No entanglements, plotting or schemes to rule. First, cannot multiply horses
for himself. This meant his army mainly infantry so
significantly weaker than enemy’s army of chariots and cavalry. To get horses
meant returning to
1. When you are in place of judgment among your children, at work, between friends, 1st make thorough inquiry. Don’t just take one person’s view no matter how much you trust them. Discipline is based on what God hates not what you hate.
2. When in position of authority in business, civic club, school, religious institution, govt, keep in mind: a. group may insist on job and titles for you b. you’re here because of God’s plan—sovereignty, not will—desire c. don’t use it to obtain power over others d. read, study, keep truth of Bible daily e. don’t become proud of anyone or anything.