Sunday, July 22, 2012

On 7-29-12 2 Chronicles 19:4-11 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson, herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Jehoshaphat Makes Judicial Reforms.

Jehoshaphat Makes Judicial Reforms
2 Chronicles 19:4-11
International Sunday School Lesson
July 29, 2012

Jed Greenough

Revelation 20:4 begins, “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge.” 

One day we will be judges and maybe today you find the thought of yourself in that role hard to imagine and that’s okay.  Let’s take a look for just a moment at what we are more use to thinking of when we consider the role of judges.

In this country’s judicial system, judges of our courts do not just enter into the position but instead they go through a process that progresses through education and real experience that qualifies them over time as they learn the nuances of being involved in the legal system and over that time they gain understanding.  In this way, just as with most things, with experience comes a certain amount of expertise.

Unfortunately that is not always the case and the ones that become judges are not always the best suited individuals.  Sometimes the best and brightest do not want to leave legal careers that have become lucrative.  Sometimes the ones that become judges are there because of ego instead of a natural progression of their careers.  Would it surprise you if at times some judges that have risen to the post accomplished it through knowing the right people?  I am sure you aren’t surpised!

Once in the system you might say that some are entrenched so to speak.  For those judges that are truly just in their deliberations this is good in that it allows them to make decisions without considering whether or not they will keep their livelihoods.  But that also gives us the flipside of the coin in that it insulates poor judges from the fate they deserve.

Looking at the position from its job security side you can understand why in the Bible there is so much emphasis on the issue of judging rightly.  You can see how the judge who takes a bribe, who shows favoritism, who judges from a worldly rather than godly viewpoint can do so much damage.  The damage creates disorder because the system comes into doubt.  People who have been wronged will not have confidence that they can be made whole and the innocent would rightly fear that they will be found guilty.

Biblical history shows (Exodus 18), that Moses understood the need for his people to be taught and to have matters resolved.  In fact until prompted by his father-in-law Jethro, Moses was being run ragged by the people of Israel and all of their needs.  Thanks to Jethro’s advice, Moses appointed officials to judge and that would lead the people.

We can see from the book of Judges how God had those such as Othniel, Ehud, Gideon and so on.  With the upright judges came order and direction and that was the goal of Jehoshaphat as we read in today’s scripture and also a little further back in 2 Chronicles 17.  We see how Jehoshaphat chose people to teach and to judge the people of Judah.

So if Moses, Jethro, and Jehoshaphat all saw that one man alone could not do it; and if that one man were left alone to his own devices and not as they should in being just and following the ways of God what happens now?  What are we seeing of this today?  Do you think our God of order who is unchanging did just that and changed His mind for the church?

If we review the New Testament in places such as Titus 1 we see that Paul was telling Titus that the reason he had left him there in Crete was to straighten out what hadn’t been done but needed to be and that was the appointing of Elders in every town.  Reading on we see their qualifications and we see their duties that sound familiar to me as I read what Moses and Jehoshaphat had for their appointed officials.

What has happened to this position of elder from the Bible?  According to what I read it was a pretty big job fulfilling the role and according to 1 Timothy 5 it is one for which they should be paid and double if they preach and teach.  This is a role similar to the judges in sight today who could handle the affairs of the church.  How do you think we are doing with this position now?  I think we are seeing the resulting chaos because we aren’t doing very well.

For Discussion:

1.      Reading verse 1 discuss if we had a leader such as Jehoshaphat who encouraged the people to God.
2.      Considering verses 5-7, discuss the effect on our country if that leader mentioned in 1 above were to appoint judges in place who were Christians as well.
3.      Discuss the “supreme court” nature of what Jehoshaphat set up beginning with verse 8.
4.      Discuss your country’s judicial system.
5.      Discuss how we have a secular version of the system discussed in today’s verses but not a religious one that turns people back to God.
6.      Discuss the system that Paul and the other apostles had set up and how we have modified it?
7.      Discuss the consequences of not doing what is so clear in the scriptures and what can be done about it.

Upcoming Adult Sunday School Class Commentaries

8-5-12:    Praise for God’s Justice Psalm 146
8-12-12:  God Promised a Righteous Lord Isaiah 9:2-7 or Isaiah 9:1-7
8-19-12:  God Promised a Righteous Branch Jeremiah 23:1-6; 33:14-18
8-26-12:  God Promised to Be with Us Ezekiel 34:23-31

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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