Friday, July 27, 2007

What a difference. . .

I cannot tell you how big a difference there is in my mood between lunchtime today and now (about 9 hours later). I feel so much better. I think that there were two key happenings. First my recognizing what was going on, in being depressed, was crucial and secondly I really believe that in sharing with you all, I'm confident that at least one or two prayers were said for me. I very much feel like a cloud has lifted off of me. . .

I've been studying for the next compound name of Jehovah:

Jehovah-Hashopet - Lord My Judge - Judges 11:27

(By the way, there was an error [actually a couple of errors so far] in the list of compound names that I sent out a month or six weeks ago. The verse for this name was listed as Judges 6:27 and the verse is actually Judges 11:27. There was another error also, but I forgot to say anything before now. I've just been correcting them as I go along. Shortly I’ll send out an updated/corrected list.)

Anyway, I’m researching the word Hashopet and getting all of these judge verses. Here’s a section in Deuteronomy I ran into that I found interesting:

Deuteronomy 17:12-13

(12) And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. (13) And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously. (KJV)

12 The man who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the LORD your God must be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel. 13 All the people will hear and be afraid, and will not be contemptuous again. (NIV)

Isn’t that something. . . It’s the same God, Old Testament and New. . . I’ve heard of discontent in different congregations about the pastor supposedly not being Biblical enough. You know what? Those people saying those things ought to give thanks to God that their pastor isn’t more Biblical. I mean from these verses it is pretty clear how seriously God takes insubordination of the man of God. Maybe the board should have Klink Trucking drop off a yard or so of softball sized rocks in the parking lot. I really do know that we don’t do things like that any more, but in light if these verses it might give some cause to think about their words and actions. It really cannot be clearer how severely God felt about it from the way He told Israel to deal with those who disrespected what the man of God had to say.

Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not. . .

Here’s another section only two chapters later that was also interesting to me:

Deuteronomy 19:16-21

If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; (17) Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; (18) And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; (19) Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. (20) And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. (21) And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (KVJ)

16 If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse a man of a crime, 17 the two men involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the LORD before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. 18 The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against his brother, 19 then do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from among you. 20 The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. 21 Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (NIV)

Both these sections of verses have something very much in common. Both of them contain the instruction that you carry out these sentences in order that ‘never again will such an evil thing be done among you. . .’ The purposes of the penalties was not to rehabilitate the one who committed the crime, but rather to ensure that no one else would be foolish enough to do the same thing themselves.

It seems like our society pivots around these three very different circles. There can be some overlapping, but I n many respects they exclude one another. Is prison to protect society from antisocial elements? Is it a place to put people while they are being rehabilitated? Or is it a place of punishment to deter others from similar crimes? My own mind has swung between one thought and another over the years, but it seems clear that in the way that God set up the Mosaic judicial system that judicial penalties were to be deterrence. Nothing else was mentioned. . .

One last thought, I also ran across this verse in my studies:

Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (NIV)

I was under consideration a week or so ago to be on a jury. We were interviewed for a couple of hours by the prosecutor and the defense attorneys. At one point the prosecutor asked us basically this very question, “Could we find for conviction if it were just the word of the Police Officer against the defendant?” I almost said something. I wasn’t sure enough of myself. I had my Bible with me, but I didn’t have the verse ready. I wanted to point out this very thing. My comments probably would have automatically gotten me a strike from the district attorney’s bench, but I think it is clear, without any other supporting evidence, just the policeman’s word against the citizen’s word, I don’t think I can vote for a conviction.

Policemen have been known to lie. I cannot read minds, just on the face of it in the courtroom, one in uniform, one in shackles. . . tends to make one believe the police officer over the citizen, but the uniform is not a guarantee of honesty, neither are the leg irons equal to guilt. I would need at least one other piece of evidence to vote for a conviction.
Just kind of thoughts along the way. . .

Thank you for your prayers. . .
Thank you for lifting my depression Lord. . .

Dave Stokely

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