January 17, 2008

Equally to All

Deuteronomy 16:18-20

Do not pervert justice or show partiality.
Deuteronomy 16:19


Everyone, says Moses, must practice justice, no matter where they are. But saying so doesn't get the job done. God's people need help to keep their integrity. So judges and elders among the tribes would administer justice evenly, because, no matter what one's station in life, the temptation to bribe an official or to distort a wise word for personal gain was always there.

As God's people, we need such leadership because we do not get along very well. If you have trouble believing that, read the last few chapters of Judges, or Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. Peek into the history of the worldwide church, and you will find bribery, twisting of the truth, inequality, and abuse.

The culprits of these injustices were often those who were called to do justice-the judges and elders, as well as bishops, ministers, and deacons. That's not surprising, though. When a person has greater responsibility to do justice, that person has greater opportunity to twist a righteous cause, sometimes for personal gain and sometimes because of pressure by powerful people.

Unjust leadership hurts the faithful and distorts the gospel. God's people need righteous leadership. Without it everyone would be doing what is right in their own eyes. Church leaders also need prayerful support so that they may pursue justice with integrity.

Fill the leaders of your people with your Spirit, Lord, that they may be wise and fair, and protected from the temptation for personal gain. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!