I don’t know about you, but the judicial system has become very complicated. There is never just one trial, but appeals after appeals happen and rarely anything gets decided after the first trial. Usually it is one side that doesn’t like the verdict and decides to go to another court with another judge to see if the outcome will be different. I know this is very simplistic and I do not have a law degree. In fact I don’t give any legal advice because I am ignorant regarding how the courts operate, or how they make decisions frankly.
I’ll never forget going to Williamsburg, Virginia to the colonial village years ago. We took a tour of the town and the person leading the tour stopped and began to talk about the laws of the town and the way judgment was carried out when someone was caught breaking the law. The judge would hear both sides of the argument, render his verdict, and the punishment for breaking the law would be carried out the same day. There was no imprisonment. No appeals. No higher courts. No money being spent on incarceration. The judgment was swift and over with in a day. Shaming to be sure. But I wonder how many people in that environment took a second thought before doing something stupid knowing that the punishment would be swift and embarrassing.
A couple of days ago, my mind went back to that tour as I was reading the following passage regarding judges and what Moses, who wrote the book of Deuteronomy, prescribed when dealing with judges and their verdicts. “Go to the Levitical priests and to the judge who is in office at that time. Inquire of them and they will give you the verdict. You must act according to the decisions they give you at the place the Lord will choose. Be careful to do everything they instruct you to do. Act according to whatever they teach you and the decisions they give you. Do not turn aside from what they tell you, to the right or to the left. Anyone who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the Lord your God is to be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel.” Deuteronomy 17:9-12 NIV
Act according to the decisions. Do everything they instruct you to do. Listen and act according to what they teach you. Listen and act according to the decisions they hand down. Don’t turn to right or left from what they tell you. Death is for those who show contempt for the judgment. How far off we have traveled from the biblical structure of breaking the laws and being punished for breaking the laws.
On this journey, we need to be reminded of how practical the bible is in giving advice that can give freedom. We have the opportunity to operate that way in our daily lifestyle.