“A divine sentence is in the lips of the king; his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.”
Much discussion is currently going on in the public arena about judges in America ‘legislating’ rather than ‘ruling’ from the bench. Until recently, the accepted expectation of judges was for them to decide on cases according to established laws, then afterwards to pronounce a sentence for the accused. That standard seems to be changing as more in the judiciary are revising the role of judge to include the writing of laws.
Webster defines a judge as, “a public official authorized to decide questions brought before a court.” The decision is generally made after a careful weighing of the evidence presented. Rulings should also be founded upon the framework of a solid understanding of existing laws. Any judgment which deviates outside the confines of established law into the realm of arbitrary new law, undermines the very definition of judge.
While the role of judge should be confined to deciding law, that of a king is vastly different. Monarchies can vary, but historically kings are synonymous with sovereignty and thus possess, “supreme political power.” (Webster) Judges pass sentences. Kings can issue decrees. At their discretion, kings can function as both judge and law-giver.
The passage above refers primarily to any king acting within his sovereign powers to judge. By his own mouth, sentences are issued and this role is not delegated. You get the sense, by the emphasis of the ruling being a ‘divine sentence,’ that whatever a king decides is what will be. End of discussion!
Monarchs can rule however they want. In the verse above, God makes it clear how He prefers they rule: “…his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.” Another version says it this way: “…he must never judge unfairly.” (NLT) Throughout history, kings have come and gone but the ones who have grabbed God’s attention are those who are wise; a wisdom that is made evident by how they rule. Passing fair judgments cannot be done by relying solely on intellect. Kings who make their mark in history are ones who use their God-given power to rule in a way that is guided by principle, even if they are not fully aware of Who is the guiding force behind their decisions.
Ultimately, there is no earthly judge or king who rules with absolute perfection. The only flawless judgment comes when a ‘Divine sentence’ is decreed. God is the perfect law-giver and the only fair judge because He judges in righteousness. Once His Word is spoken and has gone forth from His lips, it will always be proven fair and true. His Word cannot be appealed or revoked. As the only Wise King, His rulings are always above reproach.
We do have an enemy who would like for us to for us to question this ‘Divine sentence’ and the trustworthiness of our King. The devil has his own set of decrees he would love to issue over us. Unfortunately for him, the Judge of all created beings has already issued a sentence concerning Satan. His ‘day’ is coming. God has promised us that we will one day get to watch this ‘accuser of the brethren’ cast away forever. The mouth of the King has spoken it, so it will be! Hallelujah for that day!
What both intrigues and encourages me about this ‘divine sentence from the lips of a king’ is the hint of something that goes beyond a mere reminder that God is a fair and perfect judge. When God speaks, and His Word has gone forth, it is both powerful and final. Another passage of Scripture reveals this same idea:
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)
After a decree leaves God’s lips, He will not change His mind. Earthly decrees can be overturned because human kings and kingdoms are temporal; thereby, subject to change. God’s Word will never change. The encouraging thing for us is that this certainty of what He has determined applies not only to His commands but also His promises. Specific promises, which are spoken directly into our hearts and confirmed through His Word, are given to us by the King of Kings! The guarantee of their fulfillment came the moment He issued their decree!
It is like God is saying to us:
‘Everything which I have purposed for you has already gone forth out of My mouth. It will all be fulfilled. It cannot be altered or overturned because a Divine sentence is in the lips of a King!’