First Baptist Church of Hoquiam
Sunday Worship, January 29, 2023
- Blessed Be Your Name
- At The Cross
- The Scales of JusticeWhat does it take to convict a man of guilt?We weigh the actions and motives of a person against the weight of the law.If we want to be able to judge people with dignity and equity we must choose which law we will judge by very carefully.Where do we find such a law?Does it come from the hearts of men?
Jeremiah 17:9 ESV9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?Does it come from the minds of philosophers? 1 Corinthians 1:19–20 ESV19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?If not from men then from who? Deuteronomy 32:4 ESV4 “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.This issue of Justice has been dealt with throughout the ages. Ever since man sinned and continued to sin, a standard for Justice has been needed. For the Israelites who were preparing to enter the promised land, Moses wanted to remind them of the importance of upholding Righteous Judgment. As we read, let’s see what we can learn about keeping justice in a way that honors God.READ Deuteronomy 1:9–18 ESV9 “At that time I said to you, ‘I am not able to bear you by myself. 10 The Lord your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as numerous as the stars of heaven. 11 May the Lord, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as he has promised you! 12 How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife? 13 Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’ 14 And you answered me, ‘The thing that you have spoken is good for us to do.’ 15 So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and set them as heads over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officers, throughout your tribes. 16 And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. 17 You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ 18 And I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do.Blessing and Burden Deuteronomy 1:9–12 ESV9 “At that time I said to you, ‘I am not able to bear you by myself. 10 The Lord your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as numerous as the stars of heaven. 11 May the Lord, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as he has promised you! 12 How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife?The Blessing Genesis 17:7–8 ESV7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” Genesis 26:3–5 ESV3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. 4 I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”God promised to give them a place and to raise up many people.God fulfilled his promise and it lead to hardship for Moses.The Burden Exodus 18:13–18 ESV13 The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” 15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; 16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.” 17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.Wisdom and a Way ForwardSharing the Load Deuteronomy 1:13–15 ESV13 Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’ 14 And you answered me, ‘The thing that you have spoken is good for us to do.’ 15 So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and set them as heads over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officers, throughout your tribes.Listening to Sound advice Exodus 18:19–26 ESV19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.” 24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves.Leaders with Character Deuteronomy 1:16–18 ESV16 And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. 17 You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ 18 And I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do.Qualities of a LeaderMakes Righteous JudgementUses the standards of God and His Word to make decisions.A failure in this aspect will lead to chaos because there will be no uniform standard of law as the judge is swayed by his own ideals instead of God’s righteous decrees. (CHAOS)Shows No PartialityDoes not see any person as better than another.A failure in this aspect will lead to injustice by prejudice where class, race, and even gender determines outcomes instead of truth and the value of human dignity as given by God. (PREJUDICE)Fears God not MenMakes judgement knowing that they will answer to God and that the truth of God’s Word has determined the judgment not their own opinion.A failure in this area leads to corruption as the judge can be bribed, intimidated, or blackmailed into making unrighteous judgments. (CORRUPTION)Humbly Seeks HelpKnows when an issue is too big to judge on their own and seeks the help of those who are wiser than themselves.A failure in this area will lead to bad decisions as the judge’s pride gets in the way of making a righteous decision. (PRIDE)Leading WellIf you are a leader at any capacity, which many of us are, there are key principles that we can apply to our lives.Submit to GodGod’s ways are higher than our ways. We can work out all kinds of solutions to our problems but we need to begin with the Lord. Paul reminds us: 2 Timothy 3:16–17 ESV16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. Hebrews 4:12 ESV12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.Share the LoadLove people enough to accept your own limitations so that you don’t wear everyone out. Proverbs 12:15 ESV15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.Stand for Righteous JusticeGuard against a quick or angry word. James 1:19–20 ESV19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Proverbs 29:20 ESV20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.Defend the weak. Isaiah 1:17 ESV17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.Be Righteous not Falsely Religious. Amos 5:21–24 ESV21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. 23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. 24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.Just as the people prepared to enter into the promised land, Moses reminded them of the crucial role that righteous justice should play in their midst.We must take this same attitude when we consider our own what God has next for us. It’s not enough to play at religion. God wants to do things His way and bring His blessings in His time. One of our jobs in the process is to speak of and be an example of God’s righteous justice. So:Submit to GodShare the LoadStand for Righteous Justice
1 Corinthians 1:19–20ESV
2 Timothy 3:16–17ESV
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