My wife and I are watching the CBS series, “Perry Mason.” It was based on Erle Stanley Gardner’s novels and short stories. While the novels were hugely popular, the TV series featuring the fictional attorney was even more popular. Each case features the wrongly accused suspect and Mason’s uncanny ability to ferret out the true criminal.
2 Samuel 12 recounts the case of the stolen ewe. The case didn’t require a sleuth like Mason. The prophet Nathan asks King David to act as judge and jury in a crime. A rich man stole a prized ewe from a poor man and then used it for a meal. David sentences the rich man to death (cf. “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this merits death!”)
Everyone in heaven knew King David committed adultery. It also was no secret in heaven’s court, God orchestrated Uriah’s death. As God’s prophet, Nathan practiced Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord were everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”
Why was King David’s verdict so severe? As an Old Testament believer, he possessed all rights to carry out capital punishment (cf. Genesis 9:6; Leviticus 19; Romans 13:4). Even as sons and daughters of the King, we are asked to remember “we are righteous judges”(cf. John 24).
Two Reasons We Must not judge.
1) We invite God’s judgment. Next to John 3:16, the most often quoted verse in the New Testament is “Judge Not Lest You be judged.” (Matthew 7). What might have happened to King David, if he confessed his sin of idleness or lust or even murder before he judged the man with the prized ewe? Perhaps David’s sons might have escaped a similar fate?
2) “Judging others reveals something broken in my life.” Whether we are guilty of the sin (like King David) or we don’t have the faith in believing in the ultimate judge and jury (God). When Jesus ordered the violent wind to cease, the disciples were left in pure awe (cf. “Who then is this whom even wind and the sea obey?” (cf. Mark 4:35-41). Stopping the habit of judging is just as miraculous as stopping mother nature. It’s miraculous.