...And said to the judges, "Consider what you are doing, for you judge not on behalf of human beings but on the Lord's behalf; he is with you in giving judgment. 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." II Chronicles 19: 6-7 NRSV
How I wish someone had said this to some of our local and state politicians. I don't think I have picked up a newspaper lately without some new report of a mayor, commissioner, judge, state senator or other government employee taking a bribe. Some of these have been in the forms of campaign contributions or loans but a few have been outright gifts. There seems to be little fear of the Lord not to mention integrity among those serving in public office.
Why is that? Are people just more greedy these days? Or are they simply apathetic?
In the time of King Jehoshaphat of Jerusalem, the king's responsibilities included bringing folks back to God. In fact, Jehoshaphat was a good king. He got rid of those pagan places of worship and had the book of the law read to the people. His heart was in the right place. But even King Jehoshaphat, as courageous in the ways of the Lord as he was, could be influenced to "help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord (see verse 2)."
It is not just those in public office who need to let the fear of God settle upon them. None of us are above being bribed or turned away from God. Not one of us can truly throw the first stone. No one is that good.
God, give us courage to remain true to you, letting the fear of you fall upon us so that we can all be courageous in your ways. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims