Elihu gave instructions concerning judgment, saying, “Hear my words, O you wise men; and give ear unto me, you that have knowledge. For the ear tries words, as the mouth tastes meat. Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good” (Job 34:1-4). Who is this word given to? What does Elihu say is the natural reaction of a wise man when he hears a word? These wise people, lightbearers, are still needed in our world today. I often hear people say that we should not make judgment; that we should leave people to do as they feel in their hearts without outside advice—to learn by trial and error.
Life is much easier now that I have matured enough to take advantage of the wisdom of my elders, even those who are in error. I am glad that I do not have to learn everything by experience. We will always reap what we have sown, but the Lord walks us through that reaping; however, it is much better not to sow to the flesh and by-pass that journey in areas when it is possible.
In Psalms 119:66, David prays, “Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed Your commandments.” How can we become good judges if we do not know, understand, or believe the Ten Commandments, or if we do not warn others when they are going down the wrong path? What value is the Word if we do not try the spirits of what sort they are, or if we do not share knowledge and wisdom?
Proverbs 17:13 warns us, saying, “Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.” Judgment must be made before reward can be given. When excuses are made for the wicked, the wicked are refused their saving light. In verse 15 fifteen of this same chapter, it says that those who make excuses for the wicked are an abomination to Yahweh? They are a disgrace to the Holy Spirit.
“When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong” (Ecc. 8:11, NIV). We should think about the overall spiritual damage caused when judgment is withheld.
In Leviticus 19:15, we are given instruction concerning righteous judgment, saying, “You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.” Who are we to judge? Is it not the same people that we are to love?
Eli, the priest, makes judgment concerning the conduct of his adult sons (1 Sam. 2:22-24): “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make Yahweh’s people to transgress.” We read in the next chapter that these two sons of Eli were killed in battle; Yahweh did not protect them.
Paul rebukes the church in Corinth saying, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels [messengers]? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” (See 1 Cor. 6:2-5.)
It is not only right to judge the actions of others; it is vital to spiritual growth. There is no way one can teach, preach, or be a light in the darkness without the exercise of judging. Judging right and wrong actions is a biblical requirement to become a mature Christian. Paul said that one must be a wise man. He went on to say, in 1 Corinthians 13:1-7, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (NIV). So love is the first ingredient to making good judgment.
King Solomon desired to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give stability to the simple, and to the young man knowledge and discretion. He went on to say that a wise man will hear and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsel (Prov. 1:1-5). One cannot give wise counsels if it is forbidden by the Holy Spirit to make judgment concerning mankind’s actions.
Our Lord said, in John 7:24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” He also said, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Matt. 7:1-2, NASU).
The Today’s English Version says, “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others” (Matt. 7:1-3).
Of all things to seek, seek wisdom and love and everything else will be added to you!