The Lesson of the Law of ADONAI”
Parashah SHOF’TIM (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9) Week 48
“You are to appoint judges and officers for all your gates (in the cities) ADONAI your God is giving you, tribe by tribe; and they are to judge the people with righteous judgement. You are not to distort justice or show favoritism, and you are not to accept a bribe, for a gift blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of even the upright. Justice, only justice, you must pursue; so that you will love and inherit the land ADONAI your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 16:18-20 CJB)
“If a case comes before you at your city gate which is too difficult for you to judge, concerning bloodshed, civil suit, personal injury, or any other controversial issue; you are to get up, go to the place which ADONAI your God will choose, and appear before the cohanim, who are L’vi’im, and the judge in office at the time. Seek their opinion, and they will render a verdict for you. You will then act according to what they have told you there in that place which ADONAI will choose; you are to take care to act according to all their instructions. In accordance with the Torah they teach you, you are to carry out the judgement they render, not turning aside to the right or the left from the verdict they declare to you. Anyone presumptuous enough not to pay attention to the cohen appointed there to serve ADONAI your God or to the judge – that person must die. Thus, you will exterminate such wickedness from Isra’el–all the people will hear about it and be afraid to continue acting presumptuously.” (Deuteronomy 17:8-13 CJB)
The proactive instructions from Adonai through Moses to the generation about to cross over into the Covenant Land to take possession of it, are forward-thinking and wise regarding judging, but also wise as to the hearts of men. Adonai knows us from the inside out!
Adonai prepared the way for the chosen generation to enter into their inheritance. Not only were there two mountains standing side by side, one full of life and the living, and one of stone, filled with the tombs of the dead, reminding the nation of the command to choose life. Now, there was a command for order, through a governing hierarchy where a judicial system would uphold the Mitzvot (Rulings) of Adonai. The Shof’tim or judges, the Shotrim or police, the Cohanim or priesthood, and the two or three witnesses needed to corroborate a truthful witness, were set in place. The human element in all this, as it is distilled down for us today, is the Mitzvot of Adonai implemented by an appointed system of judges and witnesses would not only bring honorable verdicts into a court system, but as importantly, would be a deterrent to sin within the community of Israel, for unbridled sin.
Every level of the judicial system set forth by Adonai for the Nation of Israel would demand a high level of holiness and adherence to the laws set forth in the Ten Commandments, and in the over six hundred laws which came after. By ruling in truth and justice, the Nation would be maintained within the boundaries of priests, judges, and witnesses who would appeal to a court of law based on the righteousness of Adonai. Torah would be The Plumb-line!
This is the lesson of the Law of ADONAI. “When he has come to occupy the throne of his Kingdom, he is to write a copy of this Torah for himself in a scroll, from the one the cohanim and L’vi’im use. It is to remain with him, and he is to read in it every day as long as he lives; so that he will learn to fear ADONAI his God and keep all the words of this Torah and these laws and obey them; so that he will not think he is better than his kinsmen; and so that he will not turn aside either to the right or to the left from the mitzvah. In this way he will prolong his reign and that of his children in Isra’el.” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20 CJB)
This was the exhortation of Adonai through Moses, as to the way a future King of Israel was to conduct his rule and reign. The future Kings were to be supernaturally appointed from Adonai, to be King. They were to conduct all proceedings from their throne in alignment with the plumb-line of Torah.
This is the Lesson of the Law of ADONAI. Our intimacy with Adonai brings forth His truth as it is etched upon our hearts. This is biblical. This is prophetic. The more we immerse in His truth, the deeper the etching. Intimacy with Adonai was a prerequisite for rulers within the Nation of Israel; bringing forth life, light and unity (Yachad) into the Nation.
This is the lesson of the Law of ADONAI. There will always be those who call this kind of deep, abiding faith in God’s instruction, legalism. There will always be those who desire to dilute the impact of the Spirit of the Law, which brings alignment with God’s blueprint for His creation. What if in these very days of the prophesied great falling away, more of our judges and lawmakers had this kind of holy observance to God’s instructions in the Bible, so that all would go well with us? What if our leaders actually cared if all went well for the people of their land, versus their own personal, political promotion?
Especially on this Shabbat night, may we seek His instruction from Torah! May we be a light to the nations!
May we follow humbly, in the footsteps of Rabbi Jesus…
The Light of the World!