Ennobling the Earthly, or Making Sacred the Secular
2 Chronicles 19:5-9
And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city,…

Jehoshaphat made his reign over Judah a continuous act of Divine service. For while that reign was not without blemish and mistake, the king was evidently ruling "in the fear of the Lord," and was trying to bring his people into willing and loyal subjection to their Divine Sovereign. In taking the measure be now took he acted with great intelligence. For nothing would be so likely to lead the people to discontentment and rebellion against the existing order as a sense of prevailing injustice, of wrongs unredressed, of rights that could not be realized; nothing, on the other hand, was so fitted to infuse a spirit of loyalty to the administration and to Jehovah himself as a well-regulated system of justice, extending over the whole land. The piety which Jehoshaphat was thus illustrating he exemplified in detail by giving the instructions he delivered to the judges (vers. 6, 7, 9, 10). In these he showed that the ordinary act of judgment in secular matters might and should be made a true and sacred service rendered unto God, an act of piety. For he charged them to do everything in their courts, as we should do everything in our homes and in our houses of business -

I. UNTO THE LORD. They were to do all "in the fear of the Lord" (ver. 9); they were to judge "not for man, but for the Lord" (ver. 6). This is an anticipation of the instruction given by Paul in his letter to the Church at Colosse, where he bids the slaves serve their masters "not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;" whatsoever they do, doing it "heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men (Colossians 3:22, 23). There is nothing in which we are engaged, of the humblest kind and in the lowliest sphere, which we may not do and which we should not do for the Lord" or "unto the Lord," by acting "faithfully and with a perfect heart," in such wise as we are assured he will approve, and with the distinct view of pleasing and honouring him; thus doing we "make drudgery Divine," as George Herbert tells us.

II. WITH HIS FELT PRESENCE AND HIS DIVINE AID. The Lord "is with you in the judgment" (ver. 6); "the Lord shall be with the good" (ver. 11). If we can but feel that God is "with us," that our Divine Master is by our side, with his sympathizing and sustaining presence, then we are satisfied, then we are strong. The position we occupy may be very humble, the situation may be a lonely or a perilous one, the opponents may be numerous and their opposition may be severe, the duties may be very onerous; but Christ is with us, his smile is upon us, his arm is working with us and for us, his reward is in his hand; we will go happily and cheerily on our way.

III. IN HIS OWN WAY. "For there is no iniquity with the Lord our God" etc. (ver. 7). They were to judge even as God himself did, in the same spirit and on the same principles; as impartially, as righteously, as he did. And our Lord calls upon us to elevate our earthly life, to make every part of it sacred and noble, by introducing into everything the spirit and the principles which are Divine. "Be ye perfect," he says, "even as your Father in heaven is perfect, "Be ye holy, for I am holy;" "As I have loved you, that ye also love one another;" "Follow thou me." It is, indeed, a very excellent and positively invaluable enlargement and ennoblement of this human life that every hour and every act of it may be spent and wrought as God is spending his eternity and is ruling in his Divine domain. The very same principles of purity, righteousness, and equity, the very same spirit of unselfishness and love, of gentleness and considerateness, which he displays in his government of the universe, we may be manifesting in the lowliest paths in which we walk from day to day. As he is, so may we be. His life we may be living. There need be nothing mean or small about us, for we may be everywhere and in everything "the children of our Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:45). In every walk of life we may be closely following Christ. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city,

WEB: He set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city,

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