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What's in a Name Part Fifteen

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted May 7, 2015

RELIGION – This week’s name of God is much needed “The Lord The Judge.” The Hebrew is Yahweh Shophet. I try not to rant or use this forum as a soapbox, but forgive me this week. I am so disturbed by the trend in our nation to reject authority. We look at the events in Baltimore and the one conclusion from many is that it is all the fault of the police. I find this completely unfathomable.

Are there some bad policemen out there? Sure, there are rotten pastors and car mechanics as well. But what would our world be like without police in positions of authority?

Gotquestions.org notes that “God is a God of justice (Deuteronomy 32:4), and He demands justice of His people: “Follow justice and justice alone” (Deuteronomy 16:20). This command implies the necessity of law enforcement. God has always given the responsibility of enforcing the law (and thereby maintaining justice) to man. “Defend the weak and the fatherless; / uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. / Rescue the weak and the needy; / deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3–4).”

Furthermore, Romans 13 deals with submission to government authorities, and the same passage is instructive on the purpose of law enforcement and police work: “Rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. . . . The one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:3–4). Police officers represent some of the “rulers” mentioned in this passage and extend their authority. A note to young people, if you will not accept the authority of your parents, teachers, principals, policemen, etc, you will never accept the authority of God in your life.

So we must show policemen respect as servants of God. I am not saying they get a pass when they do wrong and hurt others. They should be punished as any other.  But to say that police officers are the problem in these communities is distressing. It shows a profound inability to accept responsibilities for the choices one makes in life. What is the solution? Pull cops off these streets? Then each day would look like a riot.

The solution is not to pull the police or have more police; it is for each person to realize they stand accountable before The LORD The Judge. Isaiah 33:22 states clearly that “the Lord is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.” This is not God’s most popular name. Many so-called churches in our day have worked hard to reject this notion. This name should send shudders up our backs— we should cringe a little every time we’re faced with this aspect of who He is. 

The Hebrew word shophet holds a rich and varied meaning. In the verb form, it means to decide, to defend, to deliver, and to discipline. This is the kind of judge our God is. He decides, Psalm 94:15 notes that “judgment will again be founded on righteousness and all the upright in heart will follow it.” God made an order to our world and a way in which things work, when we flagrantly reject that, we should expect that things fall apart.

God also is a Judge who defends Romans 8:1 reminds us that “There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1. Try and think about the strength of this love.  He knows your heart, He sees your struggles. Many may look at people involved in these riots as worthless thugs, but our God does not. He loves each and everyone and desires for their repentance and to have a relationship with them. But this is only found through submission to the power of authority of Jesus.
God is a Judge who disciplines. Hebrews 12:6 says that “Those whom the LORD loves, He disciplines…” Out of His intense love for you, God is willing to do whatever it takes to protect you from yourself. Like a loving father, He corrects us in order to bring us close, where the joy is— where we belong. So keep in mind that God being the Judge flows out of a heart so full of love that He will not let us go. Even if it means pronouncing a guilty judgment on His own Son, that we might be free!

Please be in prayer for Baltimore and our nation as her people reject God as Judge and each person turns to do what is right in their own eyes! Don’t curse the looters while you flagrantly live in sinful defiance yourself. Matthew 7:4-5 “how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye”

Thankful that Jesus was judged in my place!

Pastor Phillip

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