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  • Writer's pictureKristina Trott

Bad judges, good Judge

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

The last divinely inspired person to write in the Old Testament was Malachi and he wrote about the arrogance and contempt that the priests of Judea had towards God and His laws. As bad judges, they had refused to acknowledge that it was God, in His grace, who had rescued them from slavery in Egypt.

The priests stole money from the people in unscrupulous tithing, offered God imperfect sacrifices, treacherously divorced their faithful wives and married foreign women. Things surely couldn’t get any worse than their gross immorality and idolatry.

But they did! When Jesus, the very Son of God, appeared, the priests didn’t rest until they had brought Him bound to Pilate, the Roman governor, and demanded His execution. The so-called judges of Israel had judged the Son of God as guilty, without a trial, on fabricated charges.

God’s response to such wickedness in Malachi’s day was to curse the priests and to have them utterly humiliated:

Listen to me and make up your minds to honour my name,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “or I will bring a terrible curse against you. I will curse even the blessings you receive. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you have not taken my warning to heart. I will punish your descendants and splatter your faces with the manure from your festival sacrifices, and I will throw you on the manure pile” (Mal. 2:2-3).

And this happened! At the very time Malachi was writing these words, God was raising up the Roman Republic. At the time of Jesus’ birth, Judea had come under direct Roman administration. This led to increasingly growing discontent from the Jews and eventually a revolt against Rome resulting in the eventual razing of Jerusalem to the ground, hundreds of thousands killed and many more thousands sold into slavery.

My take home from this is that life will go on and on but there will come a day of reckoning with the Judge of all. Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come”. This means that God’s kingdom will come and it will bring equity, justice and righteousness (right relationship with God and others) for the poor and vulnerable who have been abused by the powers of this world.

Let’s give Malachi the last word:

“The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all.

“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. (Mal. 4:1-3).

*All quotes from NLT.

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Aug 16, 2022

That is a very powerful picture of good and evil. How awful to be caught in the judgement of the living God in one’s own strength. Praise Jesus for bearing our shame and condemnation. He took what we deserved. Praise God for receiving his perfect sacrifice and imputing his righteousness to us through faith. I will never understand it but I am eternally grateful.

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