Have you ever wondered about the basis for our criminal justice system? It appears our founders relied a great deal on God’s Word, in spite of what we’re told to the contrary. And what about the condition of our nation today, have we “polluted the land” because of our failure to follow God’s laws in these areas?
Numbers 35 & 36
Have we ‘polluted our land,’ socially & spiritually?
Crime & Punishment
Chapter 35.9-34 lays down laws about murder, manslaughter and other civil matters? You can see the basis for our criminal justice system in these passages and others in the Bible.
The cities of refuge were a kind of protective custody (vss. 11-15) and the manslaughter law recognized that even though the person may not have intended to do harm, there needed to be consequences for being irresponsible (vss. 22-28).
Not only can you see the basis of our criminal justice system, but if you look at the condition of our nation and the lack of respect for authority, you have to wonder if we have “polluted our land” by not dealing with serious crimes and not carrying out justice in a reasonable amount of time. Instead, we have excused, justified and minimized sin.
Notice, though, that the avenger was not free to become a vigilante. He was to respect the legal process. The accused was protected while awaiting judgment—we call it “innocent until proven guilty” (vss. 15, 24) and, if not a capital crime, the person was free to go back to his inheritance once his debt to society was paid, here determined by the death of the high priest (v. 28).
The Apostle Paul reinforced the fact in the New Testament that we are not to take the law into our own hands. Instead we should show respect for those in authority over us, including policemen, judges and others.
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves” (Rom. 13.1-2).
Today’s Other Readings:
Based on His Righteousness Alone
Verse 24, “Vindicate me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.”
Paul Tripp says we can’t boast in our righteousness because we don’t have any! We must come to God based on His righteousness and that’s where we’ll find mercy and grace to help in our time of trouble (Heb. 4.16).
Rooted in God’s Truth
“A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved.”
This verse reminds me of Psalm 1.1-3 where it says that those who refuse to follow the counsel of the wicked, but, instead, meditate in God’s Word day and night are like trees planted by streams of water, whose leaves do not wither and all they do prospers.
Let’s seek God’s grace to be trees whose roots go down so deep into the truths of God that we cannot be moved and we can experience true biblical prosperity.
No Longer a Veil Between Us and God
Verse 38, “Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”
Praise God that veil was rent in two by the hand of God, declaring that we now have direct access to God. We can come to Him with our requests, our confessions, and anything else that is on our hearts.
Hebrews 4.16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
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