Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Monday, March 14, 2016

Judges and Leaders

If somebody has a judgmental attitude it is not usually seen as being a positive thing. I don't believe anybody likes being judged. Even when we do stray over some cultural or legal boundary we still don't like hearing about it.

Yet instinctively, we know that judgments are necessary. We know that when there are conflicting opinions there needs to be somebody who makes the call as to what is right. We know that actions have consequences, and that when there are bad actions, then somebody has to determine what the consequences might be.

In Scripture God is often pictured as being the righteous judge of all the world. I believe we should take great comfort in the fact that, at the end of all things, the God who sees and knows all things, is the same One who determines what their outcome should be. At least we know that it will be a fair judgment.

At Mount Hebron Presbyterian we continue our journey through Lucardo/Frazee's chronological retelling of the Bible called “THE STORY”. Last week we saw the Hebrews entering into the promised land .A sermon, “The Battle Begins” can be found here.

This week we reach the Old Testament Book of Judges. Judges is written at a time before Israel had a monarchy. Scripture describes this period as an age when “Everybody did what was right in their own eyes.” That usually meant that their actions led them away from God, rather than towards seeking what God might want them to do.

It is in this period that God raises up for the people a number of leaders, called Judges, who function as leaders within the community and the nation. They are a very mixed bag of women and men. We meet a wise woman warrior called Deborah, who advises a military commander called Barak, on how the battle with their neighbors should be conducted.

We meet an unlikely candidate for office called Gideon, who is the most reluctant of all to take on the mantle of Judge. He needs a lot of convincing that God can work through a life as humble as his own. The military campaigns he wins are conducted in ways that demonstrate that God can give the victory.

Finally we meet a giant of a man called Samson, who, to put it mildly, is a wild-card of a character. He struggles to keep his desires under control. He has a disastrous relationship with a lady called Delilah and ends his days by giving his life for the salvation of the nation.

These characters may not be our natural choices for High Court Judges. We see a common theme being repeated that God chooses unexpected people to reveal God's ways to the world.

If ever we are tempted to judge another person (or even ourselves) as being a person God could never use in God's service, think again! God can use us all, in the most unexpected places and unlikely ways to share God's love with others.

A common feature of each judge is that they recognize that their victory will only come through the power of God. This weeks music choice... Maranatha Singers “The Battle Belongs to the Lord.”

Rev. Adrian. J. Pratt B.D.

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