In this series of posts, we have been studying God’s heart for good government in Deuteronomy 16 and 17. In those chapters, God created levels of governance for Israel: local, national, and over all, the king.
What have we seen in all these levels of government that God had for his people? Many things: Justice is the foundation of governance. All people are equal and to be treated fairly. While there will be leaders, local and national, and they are to be people of high character and wisdom, it is God who is truly king, and we must follow his law.
So how might this passage matter to Christians?
First, these are principles that can apply to any nation, and Christians can work, and I would say should work, towards having national governments that are based in justice for all. Where there is injustice in society, we Christians should work to correct it.
I’ve been so impressed with our sister church in Chicago, Kimball Avenue, (and even though they changed denominations recently, in Faith Church’s heart and mind, they are still our sister church!) and their Justice Watch group, and how they have for years worked on bringing God’s justice to their community. It was in Chicago that I learned about babies in the water, which is a thought-provoking story to help us learn about justice.
We should be passionate, therefore, about justice in our community. Are there any ways we see injustice around us? What can we do to address it?
Second, not only justice for the community, but also justice and godly leadership should be our goal in the church. We can read in the New Testament numerous passages that talk about selecting leaders in the church, and here at Faith Church we have summarized them with the phrase: the spiritually mature should lead the church.
But the leaders don’t do all the work. Just as God wanted Israel to have lower courts and higher courts, we divide up into groups. The top leader is not to handle it all. In Ephesians 4:11-13, Paul wrote that the church leaders were to “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the church may be built up.” Leaders, then, have a job, to raise up others, train them up, help them grow in their faith in Christ, so that more and more people can serve.
We seek to do this at Faith Church. We have our Leadership Team and Serve Teams. The Leadership team is focused on leading the church spiritually, while the Serve Teams direct the various areas of ministry. The two levels of teams are our attempt to apply the New Testament teaching about elders and deacons.
No matter what level they serve in, all leaders in the church must follow the principles of leading with justice and fairness. Leaders in the church must make God their king. It is not our church, it is his church, he is the one true leader. Pastors, staff and leaders are not to be put on a pedestal, worshiped, because that is a place reserved for God alone!
So let us be a people that pursue God’s heart for justice and worship him alone.