Divinely Empowered Civil Justice, Theme #3
(i.e. The Kingdom of God)
God’s Imminent Judgment against evildoers was ideally accomplished through Civil Justice via the Government of Israel: The fact of this is utterly amazing, that Civil Justice was EFFECTIVE to save and succeeds to be remedial, meaning that it works repentance within a backslider’s soul (i.e. saving faith) through the process of chastisement. Glory to God! “There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going", indeed! One of them being, "…A King, against whom there is no rising up” (Prov. 30:31)! What a glorious vision indeed, but how can it be so? This was made possible through Divinely Empowered Civil Justice, the effectual working of God through earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7). Yes, and furthermore, the Lord was meticulous in His Threatenings to sinners who were lurking in the Holy Land. The Lord was specific to name sins which He would personally ensure justice upon via the empowerment of Civil Justice, for the glory of His Name.
According to The Book of Proverbs, is there any question who ruled Israel? In reference to himself, the man Solomon expressed confessions of deep humility. In reference to the God of Israel, Solomon expressed confessions of sincere adoration and amazement.
“The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right. A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” – Proverbs 16:1-9
è The KING whose Reign is of Inescapable Magnitude
“A Divine Sentence is in the lips of the King: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment. A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are his work. It is an abomination to Kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness. Righteous lips are the delight of Kings; and they love him that speaketh right. The wrath of a King is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it. In the light of the King's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.” – Proverbs 16:10-15
è The King whose Reign is expressive of being Ruled by the KING
The King was made subject to the KING, the lesser to the greater. Why? According to The Book of Proverbs, this must be so. Verses 1-9 depicts the GREATNESS of God’s Reign as KING, with inescapable magnitude and transcendent glory. Herein, as you can see, not even the King was exempt from God’s magnanimous Rule. The King was forced into subjection, humble adoration, and Divine instrumentality in the LORD's hands – and because of this, the KING’s Reign was effectually expressed through the King. These two themes unfold with great detail throughout this passage of scripture.
The KING’s dominion is not merely exterior but interior, omnisciently and intimately ruling the decision-making faculties of every Israelite citizen (i.e. “the preparations of the heart” and “the answer of the tongue”). This being the case, the KING’s judgment transcends all powers of human deception and is incapable of error (“the LORD weigheth the spirits”). Citizens who had faith behaved accordingly. Through faith, they recognized that “all things [were] naked opened unto the eyes of [the KING]”, that the KING was the inescapable force “with whom [they had] to do”, therefore they made obeisance: “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Prov. 16:3), the KING said. This means that with obeisance, God promised, “thy thoughts shall be established”. What does this mean exactly?
Solomon was compelling Israelite citizens to decide upon obeisance because there was no successful anarchy against the KING. Solomon declared that God made all things for Himself (the wicked and the righteous), and therefore it was better to be led by God into the course of righteousness and obedience rather than “The Day of Evil” (Prov. 16:4). Those who refused to yield to the KING, willingly, according to the bounds of His Divine authority and Rule which include their whole person (inwardly and outwardly), these men suffered the fate of those who were, nevertheless, dominated by the KING at last. It was written,
“The LORD hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for The Day of Evil. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” - Proverbs 16:4-5
Instead of being guided by the KING’s omnipotent hand into the course of righteousness and blessing, these poor souls were guided into the course of disobedience and curse. Why? Think of it, my reader! All citizens who refused to surrender their human faculties of decision-making and desire to the KING, they denied the territorial authority of the KING – the truth that God’s Rule reached into the very soul and desire of mankind. They were rebels against the KING because they were blind to His Kingdom and Rule which was of inescapable magnitude! Being blinded by atheistic pride against the KING, they asserted that they were freemen in Israel – free to live lifestyles of anarchy – notwithstanding, shockingly, none were free! All were subjects of the KING’s dominion, as the LORD forewarned: “The LORD hath made all things for Himself” (Prov. 16:4-5, 1 Cor. 7:22).
Therefore, before the citizens of Israel began devising their way in their own hearts, they needed to stop and realize: “the LORD directeth his steps” (Prov. 16:9) - the faculties of human decision-making and desire were in the hands of Almighty God! My reader, this would cause men to fear the KING, who is the LORD. In Israel, the doctrine of “the fear of the LORD” was the doctrine of “the fear of the KING”. When Israelite citizens saw the Divine omnipotence of their KING, they would fear the LORD; and “by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil” (Prov. 16:6). By the fear of the LORD - namely, that there was a KING in Israel - men no longer did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6, 18:1, 19:1). But contrary to this lifestyle, the faithless, fearless, and proud were atheistic rebels against the KING, those whom God punished and destroyed by raising up enemies against them (Prov. 16:7). Whether peace or war, prosperity or poverty, friends or enemies, all things were in the hands of the LORD, therefore did the great revenues which the wicked achieved in their ungodly agendas (“hand joined in hand”), prove to be worthless, momentary, and vain! Shockingly, the LORD led the wicked by the hand into punishment, pillage, and destruction! This was a climactic victory against any tumult of evil which arose in Israel, a victory all were able to behold with their own eyes. Therefore, the society of people and their King, above all, mere made to hate wickedness and love righteousness. With all of this freshly in mind, my reader, consider Proverbs 16:10-15. After exalting the inescapable magnitude of the KING in Proverbs 16:1-9, the eyes of the people were led to look upon a material infrastructure through which Divine Omnipotence took operation.
“A Divine Sentence is in the lips of the King: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment. A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are His work. It is an abomination to Kings to commit wickedness: for the Throne is established by righteousness. Righteous lips are the delight of Kings; and they love him that speaketh right. The wrath of a King is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it. In the light of the King's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.” – Proverbs 16:10-15
The material infrastructure which channeled God’s Divine Government was, firstly, “the lips” and “mouth” of the King, and, secondarily, the “balance”, “weights”, and “bags”. These two points of the material Kingdom, the King and the balance, were the most supreme and least supreme situations of judgment existing in the Land of Israel. The greatest matters of judgment were allotted to the King, and the least, most common, and every day matters of society’s justice was allotted to the balance. For God to claim these two points of situational judgment in the material Kingdom of Israel, God claimed responsibility for every judgment in all of Israel! This was to say, in other words, “From the highest mountain peak to the lowest valley, I am GOD”. If some wanderer did go anywhere in between those two points of reference, God was there! Therefore, also, at any and every situation of judgment from the King to the balance, God was there! The material King was thereby compelled to fear the LORD, as it was written: “It is an abomination to Kings to commit wickedness: for the Throne is established by righteousness” (Prov. 16:11). Kings, Princes, and all people beheld the proverbial truth, “the Throne is established by righteousness”. They could not deny it. This meant, in other words, also, “the Throne is overthrown by wickedness”. The KING made sure to overthrow any and every uprising of wickedness in the Land of Israel, no matter how numerous (“though hand joined in hand”-Prov. 16:5). This being the case, the King yielded to the KING. The King was compelled to surrender his faculties of decision-making and desire to the KING so that, thereby, the King would be an instrument of the KING. As a consequence of this holy agreement, “A Divine Sentence is in the lips of the King: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment” (Prov. 16:10)! Oh, my reader! This proverbial statement struck FEAR and TERROR in the hearts of all Israelites citizens! That, shockingly, whoso opposed the King did oppose the KING, and whoso dared to lie to the King did not lie to man but GOD, for the King was Divinely possessed and empowered by the KING! In like circumstances, the Apostle Peter said, “Thou hast not lied unto men but unto God” (Acts 5:4)!
In the aforementioned circumstance, the Apostle Peter was a Divinely Empowered ambassador of the KING in a New Testament scenario. Ananias and Sapphira should have been afraid of the KING (“the fear of the LORD”) whose reign was presently represented through the under-rulership (James 3:1, Heb. 13:7, 17, 24, 1 Tim. 5:17) of the Apostles and Elders of the 1st Century. Ananias and Sapphira were not testing Peter, no! Peter named the sin which was worthy of death, saying, “How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord” (Acts 5:9)? Ananias and Sapphira’s decision-making thought processes were in practical atheism of this most glorious fact – The Kingdom of God! Thus when they figured they were dealing with mere man they were, rather, in practical anarchy against the Government of God on earth, the Church.
Ananias and Sapphira should have been afraid of Peter (“the fear of the LORD”) like as the Israelites were subject to David in the fear of the LORD. For example, when one man was tempted by Joab, David’s General, to act in defiance of David’s direct order to spare the life of Absalom… the man was afraid! What was he afraid of? The man believed that this secret defiance of David’s order was not a defiance of David’s order, but of God’s. He feared being found-out in the falsehood and secrecy because he knew David was Divinely Empowered to execute Civil Justice, which meant, the man confessed: “there is no matter hid from the King” (2 Sam. 18:13). It was common and proverbial sense to everyone in Israel that the KING ruled through the King, therefore to lie to David was to lie to God, or, to test David was to test God! When a woman was put in a similar circumstance as the former (when the man was enticed by Joab to act in secret defiance of David), she freely confessed the proverbial truth to David himself, saying: “as an angel of God, so is my lord the King to discern good and bad: the LORD thy God will be with thee”, and again, “my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth” (2 Sam. 14:17, 20). You see, my reader, angels were Divinely empowered instruments through which God Ruled from a Throne set in Heaven, and David, likewise, was a Divinely empowered instrument through which God Ruled from a Throne set upon the earth, the Ark, because Israel was the Kingdom of God! He who sat upon the Ark did rule through him who sat upon the Throne in the King's Court! Revealing and confirming this, when Solomon took the Throne of his father, David, it was said, “Solomon sat on the Throne of the LORD as King instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him” (1 Chron. 29:23). The Throne of David was not called “the Throne of man”, no! It was the Throne through which the LORD Ruled, “the Throne of the Kingdom of the LORD over Israel” (1 Chron. 28:5)! Solomon, taking the Throne, testified to this historical fact, this proverbial truth, and the common sense of society agreed, but will we? When shall we come to learn the glorious truths which are inherent in the enacted proclamation, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17, 10:7)?
As the aforementioned historical circumstances and scripture citations did illustrate, the Divine Empowerment of the King enabled him to become an ambassador of Divine Judgment. Therefore, what was done against the King was done against the KING, for a “Divine Sentence” was in his lips. Being thus possessed by Almighty God, the King loved righteousness and hated iniquity (see “his favour” and “the wrath of the King”). Being thus empowered by God, the wicked died under the judgment-sentences given by the anointed, sin-hating, righteous, and material King (see “messengers of death”). As you can see in the text, only those who feared the LORD escaped the King’s wrath (“a wise man”). To them, also, belonged the King’s favor and happy countenance (Prov. 16:13). As a reflection of the Almighty, the King’s favor was life-giving to the cause of righteousness like sunshine causes all of creation to flourish to the glory of God! For this reason it was written, “In the light of the King’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain” (Prov. 16:15). My dear reader, this is not poetry! This was a metaphorical semblance of a spiritual truth! There was no better way to describe the magnitude by which the King was Divinely Empowered by GOD, except by these words! Confirming this, King David gave personal testimony of his walk in GOD:
“The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.” – 2 Samuel 23:3-4
This confession of King David was one among many! When the lips of righteous men fell under Divine Inspiration, they spoke likewise. Behold their words, my reader. Behold, rather, God’s mighty deeds! Let the following scriptures memorialize the essence of what it means to be Divinely Empowered by GOD as a King.
“So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.” – Judges 5:31
This was Deborah’s song of victory when all Israelite enemies were vanquished! Then, with Israelite independence restored, Deborah gazed into the long-looked-for potential which was ready to be born – the hand of the LORD’s blessing to Rule over Israel yet again.
“A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.” – Psalm 110:1-3
According to David, “the womb of the morning” was a spiritual semblance of the utopia in which God Ruled! Take note of the words, “rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies”! Using these words David expressed God’s Kingly power for the subduction of all enemies under His Rule, yea, because this is as the brightness of light and life from the dew-laden womb of the morning! Glory to God!
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” – Isaiah 60:1-2
“For, behold, the day cometh… But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.” – Mal. 4:1-3
“Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” – Luke 1:78-79
Without contradiction, Isaiah, Malachi, and Luke declared the coming of the long-awaited Messiah (The KING of Israel) in the very same terms! The Messiah was called the rising Light of the sun (Isaiah), the Sun of righteousness (Malachi), and the Dayspring from on High (Luke)… and to what end? To “tread down the wicked” (Malachi) and “to give light to them that sit in darkness” (Luke), by guiding their feet into the way of peace. The 1st Advent of the Son of God was, of course, a greater and more superior fulfillment of a Divinely Empowered King (in as much as He was the KING manifest in the flesh), but historically speaking, David and Solomon did shine as a reflection of the coming “anointed One” of God. This means that, generally speaking, God was still the KING of Israel even though He was not the King (in the flesh via incarnation), thus these other men who were Kings before Christ were to be reflections of the KING in their own dispensation. Therefore the Utopia of God’s reign in every generation was, “Thy will be done”. The Utopia of God’s reign was the eradication of evil and the establishment of righteousness, comparable to the light of the sun which shines with inescapable magnitude! Therefore as sunlight discovers and vanquishes darkness, so did the KING through the King! And this means that all crimes were FOUND OUT and punished effectually, according to the scriptures.
LIGHT = Sinners Found Out!
All these threats of God were for the citizens of Israel that lived in real time. They were real-time threats to be literally fulfilled and imminently executed in their lifetime. This is because in The Kingdom of God, the LORD does not wait to judge His people in the afterlife. No! So much the rather, “Judgment must begin at the House of God” (1 Pet. 4:7)! My reader, it is vital that you understand the Divine prerogative of judgment in this life! Those judgments which shall be manifest upon the heathen outside of time, these are manifest within time upon the saints in an inferior but parallel expression, but it is to prepare them to face judgment that is outside of time and overcome! This is why God, the KING, declared to the citizens of Israel, “The Day of Wrath” (Prov. 11:4) or “The Evil Day” (Prov. 16:4). This was, in other words, a visitation of evil upon evildoers in real time. This was God’s promise to Israel: that the wicked backsliders of Israel would be “visited with evil” (Prov. 19:23), no exceptions. This Divine Ultimatum of judgment that exists inside and outside of time, was summarized in the words of Peter:
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the House of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” – 1 Peter 4:17-18
Peter drew his understanding of God’s judgment upon “the righteous” from Biblical Church History, but do we understand the veracity of his assessment? My reader, do you believe that “the righteous” are scarcely saved from the judgment of God that comes upon them in real time as a consequence of sins committed? This Divine ultimatum pervades the pages of Biblical History, and it was recounted by the Prophets of every age. This Divine ultimatum was, also, common knowledge and proverbial truth among the citizens of Israel in Solomon’s time. To no surprise, Solomon said,
“BEHOLD, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.” – Prov. 11:31
“The Great GOD that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.” – Prov. 26:10
Solomon said, “BEHOLD”, sinners cannot hide in Israel! “Behold”, the Divinely Empowered Government of Israel was like the inescapable light of the sun in its brightness! Declaring this truth with all boldness, Solomon said,
“He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.” – Prov. 10:9
“Whose hatred is covered by deceit: his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.” – Prov. 26:26
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” – Prov. 28:13
“Who so causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.” – Prov. 28:10
“Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.” – Prov. 28:18
“When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.” – Prov. 29:16
“He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of His saints.” – Prov. 2:8
“The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. Riches profit not in The Day of Wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death. The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.” – Prov. 11:3-6
“As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.” – Prov. 11:19
“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and He pondereth all his goings. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.” – Prov. 5:21-23
Like the laws of gravity govern the galaxies of the universe in their immeasurable expanse, each star in the course of its appointed revolution, GOD governed the material and immaterial civilization of Israel in all the courses of righteousness and wickedness - no Israelite excluded! More specifically speaking, and, shockingly, GOD did this through the instrumentality of the King, the KING through the King! This point was very specifically stated by Solomon, my reader, make no mistake about it! To fear the LORD in Israel was to live conscious that Civil Justice was Divinely Empowered to Succeed!
“The King’s wrath is as the roaring of a Lion; but his favour is as the dew upon the grass.” – Prov. 19:12
“The fear of a King is as the roaring of a Lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.” – Prov. 20:2
“A King that sitteth in the Throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.” – Prov. 20:8
“A wise King scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.” – Prov. 20:26
The citizens of Israel who did not believe these truths did not fear or worship the God of Israel who was, in truth, the KING of all Israelites. Though these individuals were doomed to die, it was eventual (according to the timing of the KING who pondered all hearts). In such a case when the guilty did tarry in the Land, Solomon counseled,
“Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge. An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity. Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools. Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. The fear of a King is as the roaring of a Lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.” – Proverbs 19:27-20:2
All Israelites who erred from the pathway of righteousness, they did so because they scorned judgment (“an ungodly witness scorneth judgment”). Very specifically, this meant that they scorned the judgment of God in real time through Civil Magistrates (“Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.”). Depravity took a hold upon the erring ones and turned them into spiritual mockers who raged against God and remained confident (for a moment of time). Their mockery was, take note: a scorning of justice and judgment via the Government of Israel which was ruled by the KING! Solomon warned the citizens of Israel that “God is not mocked”, yes, because the King is Divinely Empowered to fulfill the promise given in Proverbs 10:29, “Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.” Therefore Solomon did plead, “The fear of a King is as the roaring of a Lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul” (Prov. 20:2)! A staggering acclamation! Divine Empowerment bid all of Israel to fear the King! The King was a dreadful force, and fierce, like the roaring of a Lion! “A Lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any” (Prov. 30:30)! Hence, Civil Justice was Divinely Empowered to succeed against the conflict of evil! By judgments executed within time, the King scattered away all evil from the civilization of Israel, despite that “most men will proclaim every one his own goodness” (Prov. 20:6, 8). As it pertained to the King, no foe was too fierce so as to make him fear, yea, and no cause was too mysterious so as to foil his discernment! Men did try to deceive the King by a proclamation of their own goodness, so they thought, but they could not deceive the King. A Divine decree forbade it, my reader! As Solomon said, “Many seek the Ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD” (Prov. 29:26). The King’s in-the-moment discernment for each civilian affair was granted by the KING! Therefore it was written, “A Divine Sentence is in the lips of the King: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment” (Prov. 16:10). My reader, the immaterial and material faculties of judgment belonged to GOD! Whether the weights, the bags, or the balance (the material), or any judgment of any sort in any region by any man (the immaterial) - it was all God’s judgment (Prov. 16:11, Deut. 1:17, 2 Chron. 19:6, Ps. 25:9, Isa. 26:8)!
“for the judgment is God’s” – Deuteronomy 1:17
“For ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment.” – 2 Chron. 19:6
Every God-fearing civilian (Prov. 21:11-16, 24:11-12, Lev. 19:17), Officer, Judge, or Prince (Prov. 27:2), or King (Prov. 29:4), was compelled to do judgment or else they themselves would be judged by God (Eccl. 5:8). From civilian to King, all of Israel was answerable to the KING of Kings. To neglect judgment is to embrace the certainty of their own miserable destruction. There were threatenings to avoid, yea, and promises to obtain! For example,
A Promise: “The King that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.” - Prov. 29:14
A Threat: “If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for He that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.” – Eccl. 5:8
Every King that maintained a perfect heart and a God-fearing frame was Divinely Empowered by GOD. The measure of empowerment each individual King received was dependent upon the individual’s faith in the LORD, proportionately speaking. The signs of true faith were apparent and unmistakable because the King would be gripped by the Personality of a HOLY GOD! Righteous Kings were so engaged in holy duty and mental focus that they ate for strength and not for pleasure (Eccl. 10:16-17), though they were the wealthiest men in Israel. Consider the mentality of King David in Psalm 101, expressing a desperation for God’s presence and thereby, of course, Divine Empowerment:
“A Psalm of David. I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.
I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O WHEN WILT THOU COME UNTO ME?
I will walk within my House with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes:
I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off:
him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me:
he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my House: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the City of the LORD.” – Psalm 101:1-8
King David knew what pleased the LORD, but do we? David sought the near presence of God by minding what was before his eyes and cleaving to his soul, that he might cease to hear the words of instruction which might cause him to err? David refused to know a wicked person! He knew that “one sinner destroyeth much good” (Eccl. 9:18). David cut them off, suffered them no pity, refused to dwell with them, rejected their services, cast them out of his House, expelled them from before his face, and destroyed them from the Land and City! David’s aim was Church Purity for personal purity, because the pure in heart see God (Matt. 5:8)! David’s aim was Church Holiness (Nationally, Citywide, House-to-House, and person-to-person), that he might walk in friendship with a Holy God! He was animated by the intense holiness of God, thus he relentlessly pursued the eradication of all unholy persons and unholy deeds from Israel (“I will early destroy ALL THE WICKED from the Land”) – and the Princes did likewise if they knew what was good for them (Prov. 28:2). Through faith and by this means, Judges, Princes, and Kings were Divinely Empowered by God.
King David was an educational demonstration of faith in God for Solomon to learn from. David truly believed that “righteousness exalteth a Nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). David truly believed that “mercy and truth preserve the King: and his Throne is upholden by mercy” (Prov. 20:28), and, “The King that faithfully judgeth the poor, his Throne shall be established for ever” (Prov. 29:14). Therefore in pursuit of righteousness, mercy, and truth, David did judgment. He could not even sing of mercy without singing of judgment, because the two were inseparable! Remember the opening line to David’s song, “I will sing of mercy and judgment” (Ps. 101:1)!? It is no wonder that, Solomon said, “They that forsake the Law praise the wicked: but such as keep the Law contend with them” (Prov. 28:4). David knew the Divine ultimatums of God were, to him, a matter of personal and national survival. The Divine ultimatums were Divine commissions because by judgment, “wise men turn away wrath” (Prov. 29:8). Wise men, God said, men like Phinehas the son of Eleazar: “he rose up from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand” (Num. 25:7)! Hallelujah! Demonstrating this, yet again, David prayed for his son Solomon:
“A Psalm for Solomon. Give the King thy judgments, O God, and Thy righteousness unto the King's son.
He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.
He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.
In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.
He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.
He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.
And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised.
There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the City shall flourish like grass of the earth.
His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.
Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.
And blessed be His glorious Name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen.
The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.” – Psalm 72:1-20
According to David’s prayers and longing desires, it was evident that he believed in the success of Civil Justice in the Land of Israel via God’s Divine Empowerment of the King. David wasn’t crying out for what the arm of the flesh could perform! David prayed for King Solomon to be a man who was full of the Holy Ghost and faith so that, shockingly, all these attributes would be performed in his life (with inferiority to their greater fulfillment in Christ). David prayed for a real time fulfillment not much different than the lifestyle of the godliest man in the world in his ancient time, righteous Job (see Job Ch. 29). David, himself, did not dare to step foot on a battlefield or minister decrees from the King’s Court without being full of the Holy Ghost! This is because David could not fight wars or rule Kingdoms without the intimate and ever-present empowerment of GOD (see Psalm Ch. 18)! My reader, the task was impossible for man to accomplish without the empowerment of GOD. Divine Empowerment was not a happy additive to life, it was necessary to fulfill the Divine Commission given to Kings; very naturally, therefore, David was terrified to do anything without the Holy Ghost! He who was the richest and strongest man in the world was made to be poor and needy for GOD! God’s presence and empowerment was a matter of survival for the King and citizens of Israel, and Solomon, at the fulfillment of the prayer David made in Psalm 72, was soon to find himself in the material infrastructure which existed as an operation of an invisible and transcendent KING! Woe to Solomon if he “turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel”, not following in the footsteps David’s example and prayers (Ps. 78:41)! The Message of Divine Commission was clear: Civil Justice was Divinely Empowered and effective to save the citizens of Israel from backsliding (personally or corporately), and the King was the primary instrument chosen for the task!
Civil Justice was Effective to Save
working repentance and restitution (i.e. saving faith) in Israel
· “And those which remain shall hear, AND FEAR, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. And thine eyes shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” – Duet. 19:20-21
· “And all the people shall hear, AND FEAR, and do no more presumptuously.” – Deut. 17:13
· “And all Israel shall hear, AND FEAR, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.” – Deut. 13:11
· “Smite a scorner, and the simple WILL BEWARE: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.” – Prov. 19:25
· “When the scorner is punished, the simple IS MADE WISE: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.” – Prov. 21:11
The effectiveness of Civil Justice was apparent in that it worked repentance and established personal and corporate perseverance in the Land of Israel. Do you see how the scripture states, “those which remain shall hear”, “all people shall hear”, “all Israel shall hear” --- “AND FEAR”! This was because, in Israel, “the fear of the LORD is a fountain of Life, to depart from the snares of death” (Prov. 14:27)! This was saving knowledge and spiritual understanding! The smiting of the wicked was effective to teach the fearless citizen to fear, which is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge, according to the scriptures (see Prov. 1:7, 9:10). What hope and good will was this, that God would teach all men to fear the LORD! Do you see it, my reader? The smiting of the wicked compelled “the simple” to “beware”, yes, and it made the man receive saving “knowledge” from God (Prov. 19:25)! The scripture states, yet again, “the simple IS MADE WISE” (Prov. 21:11), Hallelujah! My reader, do you remember who the scorner was, according to the scripture?
The scorner was a presumptuous sinner (a fallen Israelite). To them belonged the death penalty when and if they continued in spiritual fallenness via presumptuous sinning (Num. 15:30-31), but if they were chastened and thereby restored, then they were made “wise”! This is why, in ordinary circumstances, a backslider could not suddenly reach the verdict of Death Row in Israel. The fallen Israelite would have to obstinately and stubbornly resist the means of chastisement which go before this final verdict of utter damnation to the soul. Lesser punishments went before the hopeless and woeful point of no return (the death penalty). Deuteronomy 17:13, & 13:11 spoke in reference to the remedial effect wrought by the death penalty among corporate Israel, while the individual himself was hopelessly lost. I repeat, the individual was lost… but the corporate body was remedially corrected from whatever harm came by the backslider. This is not the case for Deuteronomy 19:20-21, Proverbs 19:25, & 21:11. These passages of scripture were in reference to case-specific punishments of Civil Justice beneath the threshold of capital punishment. You see, my reader, God ordained case-specific punishments of Civil Justice to catch saints when they are at the first-beginning of backsliding into immorality. Notice the words “smite” and “reprove”, in Proverbs 19:25. Notice the words “punished” and “instructed”, in Proverbs 21:11. Notice the case-specific application of Deuteronomy 19:20-21 apparent in verse 21, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot”. These words signify punishments which were lesser than the death penalty, generally speaking. Such punishments were lesser than capital punishment because they were designed to be remedial, by the grace of God.
If you remember what was covered in former chapters, my reader, you know that degeneration (backsliding) into presumptuous sinning at its beginning stages did usually consist of ongoing sin of the lesser sort (crimes which would not normally demand the death penalty), but if such sins were committed with continuance then the man would be deemed a presumptuous sinner who must die (this was exhaustively addressed in former chapters). Well according to The Book of Proverbs, the punishments which were ordained to restrain the progress and continuance of degeneration via presumptuous sinning pertained to,
Bridling the Tongue: The sins of the tongue were the first signs of degeneration. Therefore it was expedient for Israelite civilization to be exercised by chastisement on this regard. Civil Justice was, according to scripture, able to work repentance in the heart of slipping saints who were often taken in strife, arguments, selfishness, and lack of charity (Prov. 25:8-10; Note: In Israel, shame and infamy was associated with every man’s moral standing in the sight of God. The fabric of the culture and public esteem was defined by the Law and morality. Thus if someone was immoral, shame and infamy would not turn away.). Those who could not bridle the tongue could not bridle the body either, therefore they would engage in associated sins like hasty oath-swearing, oath-breaking, cursing, blasphemy, and even violence. In the wisdom of God, Civil Justice promised “a rod” to such criminals: “A rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding” (Prov. 10:13). Taken in context, this verse is directed toward those who could not bridle the tongue (see Prov. 10:11-14). Similar to this, Solomon said, “It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment. A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Prov. 18:5-7). Going under the lash of the beating rod was effectual to break the rebellious will to turn it back to God again, thanks be to the KING! But if it failed, the terror of public execution would fill the Land with fear to do no more such wickedness in Israel.
Dishonesty & Slothfulness: The slothful and dishonest were punished with poverty and intense humiliation (Prov. 6:1-11). When poverty did seize the sluggard his life would turn loathsome and lean (Prov. 19:15, 20:13). Being chastened thereby, the man could be enabled to learn the natural truth: “He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him” (Prov. 16:26). After a time of begging for food in the time of harvest and having nothing, generally speaking (Prov. 20:4), the man would consider his ways and the fruit of his own doings and repent, Lord willing. If not, alas, he would turn to crimes of thievery and suffer exceedingly great punishments (“But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his House.”-Prov. 6:31). God promised justice to those who turn to such crimes… therefore the end of such men would be repentance or death (Prov. 21:6-7).
Thievery: As seen in the former example, thievery was a crime which existed in lesser and greater forms. If anyone stole a human being the punishment was death (Ex. 21:16, Deut. 24:7), but if anyone stole an animal or object of any value he was chastised proportionately to the crime committed. God promised the thieves a sure end: “Bread of deceit is sweet to a man, but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel” (Prov. 20:17). When thieves suffered civil punishments of restoring sevenfold what was taken, or, giving all the substance that one possessed as his own (Prov. 6:30-31). Punishments like these were comparable to experiences which humbled and saved the vilest of men (see Psalm 107)! Look, for example, upon the humiliation of Rehoboam (2 Chron. 12:5-12) and the true repentance of Manassah (2 Chron. 33:11-20)! Chastisement after chastisement, men were brought low… low enough to acknowledge the undeniable truth of God, “The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death” (Prov. 21:6-7), therefore, rightly so, those who continued onward to prove presumptuous thieves suffered the death penalty (Num. 15:30-31).
Covetousness via Oppressing the Poor: God cursed those who oppressed the poor. This curse existed in many forms: the curse of poverty and spoiling (Prov. 22:16, 22-23), the curse of pain and calamity (Prov. 21:13), or any other remedial act of Civil Justice that was ordained as a worthy punishment. A former prisoner does naturally pity prisoners, and a formerly rich oppressor of the poor who suffered the curse of poverty will no longer oppress the poor but pity them!
Fighting: If a man willingly and conscientiously engaged in pre-planned or sudden fighting that was not lethal to anyone, he lived (with repentance; Ex. 21:18-23) – but the potential chastisement was GREAT! Whatever damage was done upon the innocent man must be reciprocated upon the guilty man, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deut. 19:20-21). This experience was successful to work repentance in the backslider, yes, but not this man alone. All of society heard the report of it to the end that they would be effectually wrought upon by God! It was written, “And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you” (Deut. 19:20).
Scorners & Fools: We have already addressed the remedial chastisement for scorners in Proverbs 19:25 & 21:11, but as a further confirmation, Solomon said, “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back” (Prov. 26:3). That which was Divinely ordained of God as punishment would not have been invented if it was not effective, and that which was not effective was not remedial. The Lord said, “Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly” (Micah 2:7)? To them that despised not the chastening of the KING but rather submitted to it, they were profited by it (Heb. 12:5-11)! “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb. 12:6).
The very existence of Civil Justice punishments which were non-damnable (non-deadly) prove their effectiveness and usefulness to The Kingdom of God to correct slipping saints before they fell any further (into death). Why? Because if these men who suffered chastisement did not experience repentance of sin, they would have been put to death (Num. 15:30-31). You must remember, this Civil Government was not like the heathen nations round about Israel! The Civil Government of Israel was a Church Government! Therefore when suffering chastisements via Civil Justice, the judges were not merely examining the crime and administering the punishment (outwardly), they were examining the soul to ensure that true repentance was granted to the erring heart (inwardly)! I repeat, the burden of the Officers was not merely a restitution of horizontal affairs man-to-man, no! It was, foremost of all and above everything else, a pursuit of vertical repentance toward God! Even after any chastisement was sentenced upon the man, an offering for the sins committed was necessary for the man to be forgiven, vertically speaking, and thus the Priest, knowing the Law, would not have received a sacrifice unless the man demonstrated true repentance! Speaking explicitly of this, Solomon said, “The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind” (Prov. 21:27)? And again, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Prov. 15:8). Also speaking of this, David said, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (see full context in Psalm 51:16-19).
When remedial chastisements were given via the beating rod, for example, Solomon said, “The blueness of the wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly” (Prov. 20:30). Notice Solomon’s assurance, my reader. He said, “The blueness of the wound CLEANSETH AWAY EVIL” (Prov. 20:30)! This means that it was effective and successful to work repentance in backsliders! Similarly to this proverb, Solomon said, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15), and again, “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” (Prov. 23:14). These latter two proverbs were in reference to parental punishments to sinning children, this is true, but just as the LORD expected Parental Justice to be successful to train up a child in “the way that he should go” (i.e. as a true convert to the God of Israel), the KING expected Civil Justice to make the simple citizen become wise, the fearless to receive fear, the impenitent to truly repent, and the evildoer to be cleansed (“cleanseth away evil”)! Therefore if a man fell into presumptuous sinning he will NOT continue therein! He will repent because Civil Justice was effective to save backsliders, Hallelujah!
This is why Wisdom is personified to have a built house of hewn out pillars, seven in number; having killed Her beasts and mingled wine, She furnished a table; having sent forth Her maidens to cry upon the highest places of the City, She proclaimed and sounded-abroad an invitation to all the simple of the Land – proclaiming, what? Wisdom proclaimed that there was a remedy for simplicity and foolishness, in these words, “Come, eat of My bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding” (Prov. 8:1-6)! Nevertheless, when and if backsliders did not repent despite all the acts of Civil Justice and any subsequent Holy Feasts of instruction, his doom was ordained and sealed by The Almighty, and who can hinder it? In the very same way as this, when and if a child was disobedient to his parents occasionally, and through the rod the child found repentance and restitution each time (being made subject to his parents with gravity and sincerity once again), the child would not die but live! But if the child continued to commit the same sin of disobedience and dishonor with stubborn impenitence, the child must die (Deut. 21:18-21).
Speaking more clearly on this matter, I must say, furthermore: Civil Justice was INEFFECTIVE to save (fails to be remedial) those who were blinded by God’s delusion and thereby were doomed to die under the death penalty; and this did, yet again, exhibit the transcendent rule of God Almighty as KING. Even though Civil Justice failed to be remedial, individually speaking, the death penalty did succeed to persevere the corporate people in the salvation of God.
When Civil Justice was Ineffective to Save
· “Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.” – Prov. 27:22
· “A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.” – Prov. 19:19
· “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.” – Prov. 17:10
Although this may appear to be a breach of salvation, so to speak, among the people of Israel, this was an act of salvation nonetheless! Those to whom Civil Justice was ineffective to save and thus, they died, in the KING’s justice this was so that the corporate body of Israel might live! Herein, the KING’s justice was effective to save national Israel through the death penalty enacted upon reprobates. Does it make sense to you, my reader, why the death penalty was expedient for the salvation of national Israel?
Every citizen of Israel was involved in the intense accountability, discovery, and punishment of every crime in Israel (Prov. 28:4-5, 29:8-9, Deut. 13:6-11). When the common citizens of Israel were faithful, the Land was kept clean and holy. Sin was found out quickly and effectually, every man to the quota of civil punishment, but when the citizens of Israel encountered an uprising of scorners and fools who would not be corrected, men were warned to beware lest they debate with them beyond measure. They were cautioned to rather leave place for the vengeance of God (see Prov. 9:6-12). “A wise men contendeth with a foolish man” (Prov. 29:9), this was true, but Israel was cautioned to beware of overmuch encumbrance through efforts to save the foolish (Prov. 9:6-12, Matt. 7:6). The commandment, “Forsake the foolish and live”, demonstrates how violently contagious sin is! Herein the death penalty is vindicated as an expedient means to save national Israel.