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Sun, Sep 02, 2018

Principles for Governing Man and Society

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1 hr 1 mins 34 secs
God delivered the Israelites from the enslavement of Egypt (a symbol of the world), and He led them through forty years of wilderness wanderings. At last, they are poised to enter the Promised Land of God. But before they can cross the Jordan to lay claim to their promised inheritance, they must be prepared—spiritually prepared. To prepare the people, Moses preached a series of messages that were grouped under three basic subjects: First, the need to remember the lessons from history (Deut. 1:6-4:43). Second, the need to remember the Ten Commandments and the laws that are to govern man and society (Deut. 4:44-26:19).

God delivered the Israelites from the enslavement of Egypt (a symbol of the world), and He led them through forty years of wilderness wanderings. At last, they are poised to enter the Promised Land of God. But before they can cross the Jordan to lay claim to their promised inheritance, they must be prepared—spiritually prepared. To prepare the people, Moses preached a series of messages that were grouped under three basic subjects: First, the need to remember the lessons from history (Deut. 1:6-4:43).

Second, the need to remember the Ten Commandments and the laws that are to govern man and society (Deut. 4:44-26:19). Third, the charge to rededicate their lives to God, to renew their covenant or commitment with God (Deut. 27:1-30:20). Moses preached a series of messages under each of these three main subjects. In the light of the times in which we live, that is, a few weeks to the 58th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence, and the beginning of the processes that will lead to the state and national elections in a few months’ time, we want to consider some principles for the building of a just and righteous society.

In order to do this, we will study the section of Moses’ sermons to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 16:18-17:20, where he considered the four major concerns of a society. The first major concern of society is the administration of justice (Deut. 16:18-17:1). This subject was an absolute necessity for Moses to cover in his sermon. Justice is the foundation of society, the tie that binds society together. Without justice, society could not exist; there would be utter chaos. Every conceivable sin and evil would be running rampant upon the earth without the controls of justice. Of all the laws covered in this sermon by Moses, these laws that established justice throughout the land are some of the most important.

The Israelites had to be a just people, a people ruled by law and justice, or else God would expel them from the Promised Land. They would lose their inheritance in the Promised Land. Therefore, it was absolutely necessary for the Israelites to establish the organization, the administration of justice once they were settled in the promised land.

Moses declared the basic law of justice to the Israelites: they were to appoint judges and officers for every town (Deut. 16:18). This meant that each town within the district of each tribe would have its own legal authorities and court system to handle legal cases. The judges would sit in court, hear the cases, and determine who was right and who was wrong; then they would pass judgment. Moses explained the duties of the judges (Deut. 16:18-17:1). The oversight of justice, the very management of justice within the land, lay in the hands of judges.

It was, therefore, absolutely necessary to spell out their duties. Both the judge and the people needed to understand the function of the judge, exactly what he was to do. They needed to understand the power of his position. One, The judge must be fair and just (Deut. 16:18). His duty was to view each case with an open mind in order to be fair and just to both parties. Two, the judge must never twist justice nor show partiality (Deut. 16:19). Three, the judge must never accept a bribe (Deut. 16:19).

Accepting bribes is one of the worst evils that a judge can commit. Four, the judge must follow justice and justice alone (Deut. 16:20). He must pursue justice and nothing else, never perverting it. Five, the judge must guard the people from idolatry and false worship (Deut. 16:21). Six, the judge must guard the people from greed and from false approaches toward God (Deut. 17:1). The judge was to keep the people from offering defective sacrifices to the Lord.

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