When a case comes before you involving any of your fellow citizens, whether it seems large (like murder) or small (like matters of interpretation of the law), you are responsible for warning them that they are dealing with God. 2 Chronicles 19:10a (MSG)
As a child I remember hearing the words “wait until your father gets home” on more than one occasion. It was a weighty warning and we all knew that there were consequences to our actions when dad was brought into the equation. In the after school moment when there was an infraction of house rules and there was an initial arraignment, you would hope that a quick plea bargain could be made. You generally didn’t want your case thrown into the higher court of dad’s judgment.
Jehoshaphat’s admonishment to his people was to recognize that their decisions and judgments were merely a representation of God’s authority. They were elder siblings deciding cases, but they didn’t want Dad to come home and find that they’d been altering the house rules to suit their own desires or self-interests.
There is an edge of sadness as I meditate on this. I’m sad because the concept of a loving, appropriately authoritative father figure is foreign to so many people. I know as I write this that many readers can make no connection to it because they’ve never had a father present in their life.
I’m also sad because I perceive our culture to be “fatherless” in a much broader sense. We’ve largely abandoned the notion of God’s higher authority. People rule their lives, and the lives of others, out of selfish ambition and vain conceit. They do so because they do not believe they are accountable to a higher authority.
As Jehoshaphat implies: Just wait until Dad gets home.Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and lambdachialpha