|On-Line Bible Lessons|
Pastor Ovid Need
Moses is in the process here of reminding the new generation who was raised up by God in place of the older, rebellious generationof the God of their fathers.
Where did the older generation rebel ___________________________?
Moses prepares to pass off the scene, and he wants to be sure the new generation knows what has taken place in the past; the bondage, the deliverance, the instructions, the provision and many other things. Most of all, I think the heaviest on his heart was the price of rebellion and disobedience against God's law-word. We must be continually reminded of this, as must our descendants.
Vv. 9-18 -- Moses reviews the reason for their civil rulers and judges. We can read the full details of this summary in Ex. 18:13-27.
1. Why were civil rulers and judges established, Ex. 18:13?
a. This was done at who's command, Ex. 18:23?
Let us call attention here to something. Moses was probably the greatest man EVER to live other than Christ Himself. God used Moses to lay the foundation for everything, even what Christ did and what we believe. We cannot even imagine a man like Moses in our day of corrupt humanist thinking.
But notice something with this great man of God. He did not have all the answers. He was able to accept advice and admit that he did not have all the answers. We would think he would have come up with this plan of Ex. 18, but he did not. God used his father-in-law, of all people, to instruct the greatest man alive in his day.
We must be willing and able to listen to and heed advice even from those whom we consider "below our station," which is a bad term. We are equals before God, and only hold different positions in the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 4:1-7; Rom. 12:1-6, we see it is the grace of God that places each person where they are. It was God's grace that placed Moses in his "station" of life. Though Moses protested, God gave it to him anywayt, Ex. chps. 3, 4.)
Moses couldn't handle it all alone. He had to have help. It is not a sign of weakness to require help carrying out what God has for us to do. In fact, prosperity from God will require the help of others.
2. Here Moses gives the qualifications for civil rulers and magistrates. What are these qualifications, Deut. 13; Ex. 18:20-21; Deut. 4:6?
a. What was the judge not to do, Ex. 23:8-9?
Now this brings up an interesting point. If the judge is a godly judge, he will not accept a bribe. If he is an ungodly judge, he will. The law of God speaks against a judge accepting a bribe, but it does not speak against offering a bribe to the judge. However, a bribe would be a payment to get someone to do wrong.
The Word of God speaks clearly against perverting justice. But is a payment to an ungodly, perverted judge to influence him to uphold justice a perversion of justice, i.e., a bribe? So a person can obey God, is it wrong to throw a piece of meat to a snarling and dangerous dog that is preventing him or her from obeying God?
If a judge is representing godly authority to see that justice is done, then he is to be honored and respected as a minister of God for us. If his job is to keep people in line with the system, protect the establishment, and, as he does this, feather his own nest, he is to be feared and hated (Ps. 139:21, 22). He should be avoided and treated as we would the vicious dog that is seeking to do us harm.
Should a person's private life influence his qualifications for authority, whather that authority is civil or religious?
There are at least four professed Sodomites in Congress. How did they get there? God's people refuse to vote (Chalcedon Position Paper #88, P.O. Box 158, Vallecito Cal. 95251 -- 50% of Bible-believing Christians do not vote). Many of the ones who do have believed the humanist lie that religion and politics do not mix, and that we cannot allow a person's personal life to be part of his qualifications for office. If I have heard right, even Pat Robertson says that he will not allow his religious beliefs to interfere with his decisions. This is as ungodly as anything can be.
Therefore, we see that when God's people violate Ex. 18:20-21, we have ungodly men in elected offices and places of authority. We will then have ungodly men in the appointed offices such as the I.R.S., which are beyond the public pressure. We get ungodly men in the offices referred to in Rom. 13, mem who will protect and reward evil while punishing good because their definition of good and evil is all upside down. It is corrupt. Sad to say, in our country, with a system set up after this one here in Ex. 18:20-21, the blame for ungodly civil government must be placed where it belongson the indifference of God's people toward God's laws. If you will check past history, even as late as the 18th century, there were still laws on the books of some of our states requiring candidates for public office to sign a statement professing a belief in the God of the Scriptures.
The God and civil government series by Gary DeMar is a very good study in this area ("American Vision Press", Box 720515, Atlanta, Ga. 30328).
b. Now, why are ungodly leaders in authority today, Rom. 1:21?
c. Compare the qualifications of the church officers of Acts 6:3; I Tim. 3 and Titus 1 with these outlined in Ex. 18:20-21. What qualifications does God place upon church officers?
3. Is grace a "shot of immunity" against the results of walking after the flesh; is grace a "shot of immunity" against the results of doing what man feels is best as he ignores these requirements of God's laws, Rom. 2: Heb. 10?
4. What will happen if God's laws for choosing leaders (both spiritual and civil) are ignored, 1 Jn. 2:18?
Deut. 1:14 shows that the people agreed with what the Lord required. Moses did not force these godly leaders upon them. People want godly men over them many timesthat is, until they start interfering with the people's life style. Then they want the heathen over them, so they can pursue lust and covetousness. Man desires to "have his cake and eat it too." He desires the pleasant fruits of Christianity without Christ.
Also here we see that ANY message against ungodly rulers MUST be balanced with messages against the cause for ungodly rulers. (See places such as 2 Chron.36:17. Many times over, we are told that God himself brings the wicked, evil, blood-thirsty men against his people. He did it then and does it now because his people refuse to glorify him as God and follow his word, Rom. 1:21.)
Preaching out against ungodly civil and religious authorities is required by God's word, and is commendable. In fact, any sin, anywhere, must be stood against in both word and deed. However, that message apart from crying out against the lawlessness of God's people who have brought the the evil upon themselves by their sin is hypocrisy. Until Christians can get back to believing God's law-word is for them, we will have ungodly rulers permitting, as well as demanding, ungodly activities, 1 Sam. 8. (See Ho. 13:9.)
5. What was the breakdown or division in v. 15?
Notice what Christ did in Mk. 6:39, 40. He never missed one point of the law. It applies to EVERY area of life.
6. What charge did Moses give to these civil rulers in v. 16?
a. Notice the charge given by the LawMaker in Jn. 7:24. How are judges to judge, rulers to rule?
b. Where is this found, 2 Tim. 3:16? __________________________________________
7. Who all did this rule, judgment apply to? Who all is covered by this, vv. 16-17; Lev. 24:22?
a. Therefore, James identifies the "neighbor" who finds protection in God's laws as who, James 2; Matt. 22:39; Lev. 19:18?
Can you identify the parable Christ gave to explain this "neighbor?"
The stanger, or unsaved man, is just as obligated to obey godly laws as are Christians. Every person who ever lived, including Adam, will be answer to God for every deed done in the flesh, according to God's law. (2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27.)
V. 18, Moses closes this reminder of civil rule and judgment, pointing out that he delivered the instruction some time ago. Keep in mind, though, that Moses did not deliver the instruction on his own, but at the command of Almighty God. Moses was only an instrument used by God to speak His words to mankind.
8. In closing this lesson, let me make a point which should have been made first of all. What gives God the right to tell mankind how to live, act, think and "walk", Deut. 11:1; Ps. 100:3?
As we look at these laws and their applications, we need to keep this in mind.