Divinely Empowered Civil Justice, Theme #4 & Theme #5
(i.e. The Kingdom of God)
The Dead-End of Injustice – God Rules
In the case when Civil Justice was allowed to deteriorate into corruption because of LEAVEN, God Ruled: God Almighty asserted His Divine prerogative of justice even when Civil Justice failed. When and if God allowed Civil Justice to deteriorate so that the wicked did rise in honor, prestige, power, and wealth, it is then that the righteous were cautioned by the Almighty, “Let not thine heart envy sinners.”
“My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things. Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. For surely there is an END; and thine expectation SHALL NOT be cut off.” – Prov. 23:15-18
“Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.” - Prov. 15:16
“Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.” – Prov. 16:8
“Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” - Prov. 16:19
This is a fit introduction to the repeated and historical dilemma written above and memorialized in Proverbs. The rise of wickedness and the increase of sinners did have an END, but how did it begin? The prosperity of the wicked seemed better in the beginning of its rise, didn’t it? Civil Justice was compromised because the leaven of insincerity reached to the Official powers of the Church, the appointed Ministers. The situation appeared unrecoverable, by sight. It was for this reason God warned and faithfully judged the Civil Authorities to the end that proverbial truths were memorialized to illustrate it, saying,
To Ministers of All Sorts: “Whoso 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
To Princes: “An unjust Prince’s days are numbered by the Most High, and they shall not be prolonged.” – Prov. 28:16
Concerning Crimes of Injustice in Weighty Matters of Law: “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?” – Proverbs 24:11-12
Concerning the Momentary Usurpation of Civil Authority: “When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.” – Prov. 28:12, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” – Prov. 29:2, “The King by judgment establisheth the Land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.” – Prov. 29:4, “It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to the overthrow of the righteous in judgment.” – Prov. 18:5
God was intent upon terrifying the Judges, Magistrates, Priests, Prophets, Princes, and Kings of Israel in order that judgment and justice would be accomplished for others, and this accomplishment was, as a consequence, the safekeeping of their very own lives, as it was written: “He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die” (Prov. 19:16). Despite God’s intent, corruption was possible and did happen, historically speaking, and this is why Proverbs were written about it. How did the leaven work among the Israelite Nation, the Church?
Wickedness began to abound in the City and Nation because Israelite citizens and officers were beguiled by ceremonial piety without necessary repentance and restitution. In other words, they were beguiled by sinners in disguise until they sinner-ized the whole City and Nation! The Proverbs warn against neglecting Civil Justice simply because the wicked were keeping religious ceremonies. God warned that, “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice”, and, “The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind” (Prov. 21:3, 27). The Lord affirmed the intensity of His abhorrence of wicked persons, by saying, “An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin” (Prov. 21:4). While others may be deceived, God was not deceived. While every man was walking in religious and ceremonial devoutness, abounding in goodness, so they thought, Israel was being overtaken by high looks and proud hearts, men puffed-up because of their plowing (their “good things”). It was then that the Lord was crying out, in other words, “PUNISH THEM!” And whosoever was wise would understand knowledge thereby (Prov. 21:11) …but, alas, Civil Justice had been deteriorated through the violent spreading of leaven until it reached the lethal threshold, the King’s Court, so what was God to do?
“Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. Take away the wicked from before the King, and his Throne shall be established in righteousness.” – Proverbs 25:4-5
“Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease. He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the King shall be his friend. The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.” – Prov. 22:10-12
The leaven of insincere religiosity is so deceptive; it is capable of corrupting the King’s Court! Nevertheless, eventual justice was inevitable even though the LORD allowed unjudged wicked persons to multiply in the Cities or Nation of Israel by the means of falsified ceremonies of atonement (Prov. 28:13-14). In other words, there was a KING beyond the King, who said,
“As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools. The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.” – Prov. 26:9-12
Israelites were warned not to be deceived by the parable preaching lips of hypocrites, rightly called “fools” (Prov. 26:9). Though their foolishness was cloaked with a thick garment of religiosity, and their seemingly righteous persona was capable of deceiving wise men, God Almighty was not fooled. Common sense taught Israelites of every generation, “The Great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewarded transgressors”, despite the fact that they take up parables in their orations to deceive the masses (Prov. 26:9-10). Such a man was, woefully, “wise in his own conceit”, and common sense did gesture to all the men of Israel, saying, “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit?” What shall be his end? Shall fools ride the animal of deception unto Israelite heights of life, riches, happiness, and honor? The KING declared, “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Prov. 26:12)! Their prosperity was doomed to be transient, God bless the KING! This is Good News. The KING’s judgment was inevitable even though…
Burning lips of wicked men set-on-fire both City & Nation --- Proverbs 26:17-28
Corrupt governmental powers were temporarily deceived by false witnesses --- Proverbs 19:5, 9, 21:28
The wicked spring-up like grass and flourished for a little while --- Psalm 92:5-9
You see, my reader, God promised ultimate success (Prov. 21:27-31, 21:12-16, 24:11-12). Circumstances of growing injustice in the Kingdom of God were indeed a trial, this is indisputable. The Church is the location and place in which justice should reign, but when it doesn’t… God still reigned. Dear saints, rejoice to hear it! At a time of growing injustice, the saints have need of steadfastness and patience, an unswerving obedience in good hope. Growing injustice is miserable news to saints, but God’s ultimate success means good news at last! What is miserable news to sinners is happy news to saints! Divine threatenings mean happiness and sadness. They are ministers of comfort and terror, peace and distress, depending on the man.
Those who escape human officers of justice are made answerable to the KING! The unswerving oversight of God is expressed in proverbial fame through these words, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and He pondereth all his goings” (Prov. 5:21). Where the Law fails to perform a perfect execution of justice because of undiscovered transgressors, the offender is not free! The Book of Proverbs did sound the trumpet of Divine enforcement, saying, “the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it” (Prov. 2:22)! The prerogative of justice resides in the hands of God, my reader! If a sinner is not found out by earth’s officers of justice, let us spread the matter before our God: “Happy is that people, whose God is the LORD” (Ps. 144:15). Sinners are in the hands of a Living God, as it is written, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31)! For, lo, “He keepeth the paths of judgment”, even when His people fail (Prov. 2:8)!
When wickedness rises temporarily unchecked and unjudged… the righteous, no doubt, are be tempted to fret. When the whelming fires of iniquity are burning up the courses of nature, being set on fire of hell, what shall the righteous do? When the desires of wickedness do prosper like inextinguishable and whelming flames, the righteous are overwhelmed! Nevertheless the etchings of proverbial fame do speak, once again!
“FRET NOT thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; For there SHALL be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked SHALL be put out. My son, fear thou the LORD and the King: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity SHALL rise SUDDENLY; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment. He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him SHALL the people curse, nations SHALL abhor him: But to them that rebuke him SHALL be delight, and a good blessing SHALL come upon them.” – Proverbs 24:19-25
A Judge, Prophet, Prince, Priest, King, or any nominal Israelite who is walking in righteousness can be found meditating on the word of God day and night so as to fulfill it. To such men, the potential of Israelite or magisterial negligence of justice is alarming. Being instructed by the Law that, “Scornful men bring a City into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath” (Prov. 29:8), personal responsibility can feel overwhelming. Ah! How cheerfully would such men welcome the threatenings of God? To know that the hope of Israel does not rest upon their performance of justice alone, means joy. For these men, the threatenings of God are an aroma of life and peace. In the midst of storming iniquity the walking Sovereign is unmoved. For this reason, yea! For this reason, it was written, “Happy is the people whose God is the LORD (Ps. 144:15)! In Israel, God was the KING – the Author of National Law and the Keeper of Civil Justice. Lovers of righteousness with fainting hearts do love to hear it! “Look!”, “Look!”, “Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps. 121:4)! Knowing this, that any cause of justice which has gone ignorantly unenforced is caught by God – and according to God’s will, punished – therefore do the men of Israel rest in the Lord. When storms of wickedness arrive, God is peace because God is justice. Did not our Lord hush the storm He walked upon? Even so, “He giveth His beloved sleep” (Ps. 127:2). Glory to God!