We noted this morning that the word for “judges” is actually the word “gods” several times throughout the Book of the Covenant. It is very interesting to find “judges” only used one other time in 21:22, and there it is a less common word for judge. The root of the word means to intercede or interpose. Sometimes it means to judge or arbitrate, but quite often it is the root for the word “pray.” In Exodus 21, the woman and/or the unborn child who have been harmed are to be defended by the ‘intercessors’, by those who intercede. The intercessors are those who determine justice and defend the oppressed.
Exodus 19-24 is basically a worship service. God calls his people to the mountain and tells them that they are to be his holy people (19:1-6). In order to do this they must be washed and sanctified to be in God’s presence (19:10-14). Moses ascends the mountain as their representative and God draws near to his people and speaks to them and teaches them (19:17 – 23:33). Finally, God invites the people up into his presence to display the blood of the covenant, to eat a meal with him, and receive his blessing (24:8-11).
The reason for pointing this entire context out is to recognize where the “judgments” come in the service. The judgments come as a result of the teaching and the Words. God speaks the Words and explains his judgments so that the people may perform the judgments of God. This is precisely what we have done. We have been taught by the reading of God’s word and the preaching of God’s word how to perform God’s judgments, and this we did by offering up our prayers. When the people of God intercede for the nations, for rulers, the poor, the sick, the erring, and all others, we are performing the judgments of God. Our prayers are the declarations of justice in presence of God, and we sit down here at this table on thrones judging the nations. We are the judges of the nations, and we sit here as God’s family, the sons of God renewing covenant on behalf of the world.