Now let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care what you do for there is no perversion of justice with the Lord our God or partiality or taking of bribes. 2 Chronicles 19:7 NRSV
King Jehoshaphat is trying to bring the people of Judah back to God. Part of his reforms involved the justice system. This verse is part of his instruction to the judges that he is setting up in all the cities of Judah. He has just told them that they will be deciding cases not for their own good or even the people's good but on God's behalf. He is explicitly instructing them to be in fear of the One whom they are representing. If they were to take money to decide cases, they would not be judging fairly. That would definitely be against God! But King Jehoshaphat does not just tell them not to accept bribes - he instructs them to judge from the standpoint of those who fear God. Only from the perspective of the fear of God can these judges truly be instruments of justice. If they fear God, not only will they not accept bribes, the judges won't even be partial to their friends or special causes.
So, in this verse, fear becomes the real equalizer. Fear of God inspires fair judgment. Fear of God brings true justice.
Are you in the position in your job, your church, your neighborhood or your family to make fair decisions? Would it help if you did so with the fear of God in your heart?
God, sometimes we need to make good and fair decisions. Help us to be your instruments of justice and mercy. In Christ's name. Amen.
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims