Here come da judge, here come da judge! That’s you. The book of Judges in the old Testament describes the time when judges governed the Hebrew people, before they had their first king, Saul. They had crossed into the promised land, and soon fell prey to the temptations to co-mingle with the inhabitants thereof and worship their idols. In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judg. 17:6, 21:25). This is basically anarchy, and was, and is, not God’s plan for His children. His plan is for us to have Him as our King and Leader. It is His plan for His children to follow His lead and do what is pleasing in His eyes, not for us to act independently and do whatever we dang well please.
So, God set up judges to guide the Hebrews into the Truth of His Word. Some of these were warrior judges, some were prophet judges (like Eli and Samuel), and others were just judges. And not all were men. Deborah was a judge. None-the-less, they had the job of administering God’s Law to the people so that they clearly understood what was right and what was wrong in God’s eyes. They were not kings, rather guardians and guides, and they had the right to literally judge the actions of individuals, or to judge the people at large.
God is not a benevolent dictator. He’s not any kind of a dictator. Far from it. God has given us total free will (Deut. 30:19, Josh 24:15). This means that He is incapable of being a dictator. What He wants to be is our Leader, our Guide, our benefactor, our Blessing, our Gracious Lord, our Father. He has established His headship and leadership through our covenants with Him—the Old Covenant (old Testament) and New Covenant (New Testament). We currently live under God’s grace and not under the old Law. That’s because Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the Law and fulfilled all the prophecies of the Messiah, and so was able to become our Sacrifice and buy us back, out of bondage to the Evil One (Gal. 4:5, Titus 2:14). Thus under the New Covenant, anyone who wishes to become God’s child, and benefit from all that He has for us, need only ask. For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved (Rom. 10:13).
When we become God’s child we also become a judge. That is, God writes His Law in our hearts (Jer. 31:33), and we get to judge our own lives. This is critical. We need to always be self-examining, on a day-to-day basis, not once a year on our birthday or some other self- appointed time. Certainly we need to be doing so before communion (1Cor. 11:28), but we also need to be watching our words and actions as if watching another—to evaluate and see areas where we can improve (Rom. 14:22).
We can act as a warrior judge, standing in the armor of God (Eph. 6:13-18), wielding the sword of the Spirit and resisting the Evil One so that he flees from us (James 4:7). For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) (2Cor. 10:4-5). We can act as a prophet judge, speaking forth the Truth of God’s Word to evangelize, instruct, exhort, and edify others (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17-18). We can be self judging, looking honestly at ourselves and seeing what God sees, so that we may change and become stronger in who we are in the Lord.
But we are not to have a judgmental attitude toward others. Therefore you have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. [But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things. And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s. Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? (Rom. 2:1-4).
Don’t do any of this judging on your own. First, ask for wisdom in the judging process (James 1:5). Second invoke the name of Jesus in your prayers and in your evaluation. And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him (Col. 3:17). Don’t try to be a judge on your own. After all, it is the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin and helps us sort out the good from the evil and select the good. And when He comes (the Holy Spirit-GB), He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God) and about judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me [trust in, rely on, and adhere to Me]; About righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God), because I go to My Father, and you will see Me no longer; About judgment, because the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world [Satan] is judged and condemned and sentence already is passed upon him (John 16:8-11).
You are a judge, commissioned by God to evaluate your life and change it to more closely align with His Word (Phil. 2:12). This, by the way, is called sanctification (John 17:17)