GOD THE JUDGE
PART 2: THE “DIVINE RESTRAINT” AND “GOD’S RESTRAINING ORDERS”
I HAVE BEEN VERY EXCITED BY LISTENING TO, AND READING, THE WORK OF DR FRANCIS MYLES ON “RESTRAINING ORDERS FROM THE COURTS OF HEAVEN”. THE INSPIRATION (AND MUCH OF THE CONTENT) OF THIS SECTION OF OUR STUDY ON “GOD THE JUDGE” COMES FROM HIM.
You know, it is SO good to remember always that God is our Loving Father in Heaven. But it is SO good to remember also that he is “The Judge of all the earth” and He is the King of the Kingdom of God and He is the maker and giver of the Law of God. It’s like the first is His “relationship” with us; the second is His “day job”.
And it is SO good to remember that although it is right to have a reverent fear of The LORD Almighty, yet we have the privilege of coming before the Judge of all the earth with hope and confidence – for He is the righteous Judge, the perfect Judge and the Judge who bases all His decisions on Love, Compassion, Mercy and Grace – for “God IS Love”!
JUDGES AND THE LAW
Judges INTERPRET the Law and make judgements on the Law…right?
Well…yes. However, in our country the following is true:
England and Wales has a common law legal system, which has been established by the subject matter heard in earlier cases and so is the law created by judges. (Law stated as of 1st December 2019)
God is the “Judge of all the earth” yet He is also the giver of the Law. He made the Law and gave it to Moses for the good of all the world (Galatians 3:19 for example).
So, God made the Law which is seen here to be a “Divine Restraint” to ensure that we do not do what we should not do – the things that will harm us. The Law is evidence of God’s great love for us. We are expected to live with the Law written on our hearts and must accept that there are always consequences to choosing to break this “Divine Restraint”.
GOD THE JUDGE AND THE COURTS OF HEAVEN
In the Spiritual realm God is Judge of all the earth and sits on His throne in the courts of Heaven – not just at the end of time but right now!
Look at what is said in Daniel chapter 7 and verses 9 and 10:
9 ‘As I looked,
‘thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.
And it can be seen that there are two areas in which He has and will issue restraining orders:
AREA 1: GOD THE JUDGE AND HIS “DIVINE RESTRAINT” ON ME
Dr Myles tells this personal story of when he was travelling home in his car from a meeting. As he reached traffic lights, he got a distinct feeling that God was telling him to turn right at the crossroad and take the longer way home. But he ignored this “order” and went straight on – and was promptly hit from behind by a lorry being driven by a man with no licence and no insurance. He learnt a lesson that day as God said to him “when I give you an order don’t ignore it!”
Let’s have a look at some Biblical examples of this:
- Right at the beginning of the Bible we see the Judge of all the earth issuing “Divine Restraint” on His creation. In Genesis 2: 15-17 we read this:
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’
God, as is His right, conferred authority to man to be responsible for the earth. However, there was a “Divine Restraint” in operation here – man was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why, oh why, did God then allow that tree to be in the garden!? It was bound to be a source of temptation. The answer, of course, is that where authority is given, there has to be restraint. It’s like telling your teenage son, “I’m going out for a while – I’m leaving you in charge, but DON’T let anyone into the house while I am gone”. Authority always comes with responsibility.
And poor old Adam failed…and the consequence – cos there is always a consequence?
Now the snake was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’
2 The woman said to the snake, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”’
4 ‘You will not certainly die,’ the snake said to the woman. 5 ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. [and God said to Adam]
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.’ (Genesis 3: 1-6, 19)
The consequence? Death!
- In Judges chapters 13 to 16 we are told the story of Samson – a man chosen by God to lead the Israelites against the Philistines. God gave Samson divine strength but gave him this restraining order – that his “head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb” (Judges 13: 5). His uncut hair was the symbol of his obedience to the order of the Judge of all the earth. And when he allowed the secret to be known he suffered the consequence: his hair was cut and his strength was lost – because his strength came from God whose order he was to obey.
- In 1 Samuel 13 (some time after the story of Samson) we are told of Saul – raised by God to be king over Israel. Yet Saul was told that he was to act as warrior king and not as a priest – whose job it was to sacrifice to the Lord. This was the restraining order on Saul. But, he failed to obey God, panicked at the threat from the Philistines, and broke the restraining order and made sacrifice. The consequence was that he was killed in battle and his place was taken by David. There are always consequences to breaking God’s restraining orders on our life.
Now, the devil KNOWS this – and so will do all he can to get us to break these restraining orders on our lives. It has been called “the Delilah spirit”.
To understand what this is, let us go back to our story of Samson. Who did God use to wheedle out the secret of his strength? Delilah! The devil will always try to send into our lives people or situations which will tempt us in one way or the other to break our promise to abide by God’s restraining orders.
- And finally, with Jesus, we come full circle – from the “first Adam” to the “last Adam”. Jesus too was issued with an order of “Divine Restraint”. In John 5: 19 Jesus declared:
‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does…’
He could ONLY do what He saw the Father doing. Now – let us recognise that Satan was constantly trying to get Jesus to break this order of “Divine Restraint” and that this came to a culmination in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was faced with His own “Delilah”. We are told in Luke 22 verse 42 that Jesus prayed:
‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’
He hoped that the order of “Divine Restraint” could be lifted from Him and that He would not have to die – even though He knew that this was the plan of God to save all mankind. However, unlike the “first Adam” in the Garden when tempted by the devil, this “second Adam”, in a different Garden, when tempted by the devil, submitted Himself to the order that He must only do the “will” of His Father. And the consequence? God sent His angels – the agents of His divine justice to “strengthen Him” (verse 43). Thank God!
THE CHALLENGE OF GOD’S “DIVINE RESTRAINT” ON OUR LIVES
Our loving Father is also the Judge of all the earth and the Lawgiver. Yes, He is the good and righteous judge who operates through compassion, mercy and grace. But, we are told to “fear the Lord” – His love is not licence to do whatever we want and there are consequences to all that we do.
So, let us check out our lives. Are we aware of God’s “Divine Restraint” on our lives? They are, generally speaking, His good and loving commandments; specifically speaking we must be aware of the “Delilah’s” that will come into our lives to deceive us and tempt us to break the orders that He has given to us.
Now this might not be the most exciting of subjects that we have spoken of recently. And it might well be “teaching grandma to suck eggs” – the blindingly obvious and well-known. However, it IS very important and it IS good to remind ourselves of this.
When my daughter was very little she was highly intelligent and very precocious and seemed to delight in testing the boundaries to see if “Daddy’s laws” were really “worth the paper they were written on”. It might not have been a “Divine Restraint” but it was definitely a “Daddy restraint” that she could be in the kitchen and help prepare the dinner but she MUST NOT touch the hot plate of the cooker. The day came when she stood by my side and looking up at me with a little “Mona Lisa smile” on her face lifted up her hand and began to bring it down towards the hot plate. My hand moved to smack her on the bottom quicker than her hand could touch the cooker. She burst into tears and cried out “daddy! You hit me!”. I don’t want you to think that I am advocating smacking – and we remember this incident so well because this was the ONLY time that I ever smacked her. But, as God says, the Lord disciplines those He loves, and I disciplined my daughter because I love her and did not want any harm to come to her.
Our loving Father in Heaven is the Good Judge and the Law-giver. And His “Divine Restraints” are given to us, whom He has made free, because He loves us and has the best wishes for us. Let us therefore strive to be like the “second Adam”, Jesus, and always do His will, rather than the “first Adam” who suffered the consequences for not delighting in God’s “Divine Restraint”.
AREA 2: GOD THE JUDGE AND HIS RESTRAINING ORDERS ON THE DEVIL
- JUDGES AND RESTRAINING ORDERS
One of the commonest pronouncements made by judges is to issue a “restraining order” – or, as it is often called in the UK, an “injunction”.
According to the CPS….
These orders are intended to be preventative and protective. The guiding principle is that there must be a need for the order to protect a person or persons. A restraining order is therefore preventative, not punitive.
It is the responsibility of the court to decide if an order is…
necessary to protect the persons named in it from harassment or conduct that will put them in fear of violence.
Explaining the consequences of breaching such an order, the CPS declares…
If the defendant breaches an order…without reasonable excuse, she/he will be guilty of a criminal offence. The penalty that may be imposed upon breach of the new section 5A restraining order is identical to that which can be imposed under section 5.
On conviction on indictment, the defendant may be subject to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or a fine, or both.
The judge is responsible for enforcing these restraining orders – usually through use of the police in the case of a breach. The person that the order is given to has to abide by the terms of that order. If they breach the terms then they can be arrested by the police, taken to court, and the judge may imprison them.
- WHAT THIS LOOKS LIKE
How many parents can relate to the story of the little girl who comes to her father and says “daddy, will you tell Tommy to stop hitting me on the head with his toys cos it hurts me so much?” Now a good father will not say “stop telling tales on your brother!” or even worse “if he does it again just hit him back harder – that’ll stop him!” No! A good father – the family “judge” will go and sit down with little Tommy and issue a “restraining order” on him – “Tommy, you must not hit your sister again. If you do then there will be consequences”.
I have worked with a number of teenagers whose story of being witnesses of domestic abuse or victims of physical child abuse is all-too-common. It usually goes like this….
Tommy lives with his mum and dad in a bad area of town. Dad has a bad temper – a quick temper – and fuelled on drink has begun to come home and get rapidly into a row with mum and has begun to hit her. Oh! In the morning he is so sorry and has never hit Tommy – though he has pushed him roughly out of the way when Tommy has tried to stop dad hitting mum. But this has been going on day-after-day now and the bruises and cuts are beginning to appear with increasing frequency on mum. Unable to take any more she has gone to court for protection and the judge has issued a restraining order that says that dad cannot come within a mile of the family home and can only have supervised contact with Tommy while he receives support for his anger and violence. The family is now protected by a restraining order.
Now let us transfer this from the human to the spiritual world. God is the Judge who sits on His throne in the Courts of Heaven. If He issues an order restraining the devil from causing us any hurt then the devil is in big trouble!
All authority is vested in God and given to the Son (Matthew 28: 18) and the devil cannot act against it.
So…CAN we come before God the Judge of the earth and ask Him to restrain, or bind, things on earth and things in Heaven? Have a look at what Jesus says in Matthew 18: 18-20 –
18 ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 ‘Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.’
Now we are not going to look deeply into this – there is so much here in what Jesus says – but it IS clear that if we bind – or ask to be bound – anything on earth then God, the Judge, will hear our cry and it will be bound in Heaven – a restraining order shall be put on the situation -both in the physical and the spiritual realms.
- SOME BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF THIS:
- In Job 1 we are told that Satan presented himself before God and accused God of divine protection around Job: “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?” (verse 10). The implication is clear – God the righteous Judge has put a restraining order of protection over Job that the devil was not able to break. What wonderful news this is! When God’s restraining orders are decreed, the devil cannot breach them.
- In Numbers 22 we are told that Balak, King of Moab, summoned Balaam to call down a curse on the Israelites who were approaching his borders. However, God put a restraining order on Balaam and told him: “You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed”. When Balaam persisted on going to do this in any case God sent an angel to block his way and, if necessary, kill him. When Balaam was STILL too blind to heed God’s restraining order God gave his donkey the ability to see (the angel) and even speak a warning to Balaam!
- In 2 Kings 6 we are told the story of the Arameans being at war with Israel. Every time they attack they are thwarted. Through investigation they discovered that Elisha, the prophet of God was hearing from God where the invasion was coming to and warned the king. The Arameans sent their army to capture and stop Elisha. His servant was terrified at the sight of such a mighty army surrounding their home. But we are told: “‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ 17 And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all round Elisha.”
- HOW THIS LOOKS IN PRACTICE:
Dr Myles tells the story of a woman in his church coming to him in great distress. She told him how her husband had left her for a younger woman. When coming to pick up the kids he would bring this younger woman with him – which caused her great distress – and would be openly rude about his estranged wife in front of her and the children. Dr Myles told her about her right to take her case to the court of the Judge of all the earth and together they asked God to issue a restraining order in three areas: that her husband should stop insulting her; that he should stop coming to the house with his younger woman; that he would allow his children to go out of state to visit their grandparents. Just 48 hours later her phone rang, and she answered it to find her estranged husband in tears at the other end the line – asking her forgiveness for his unjustifiable rudeness to her, promising that he would never bring the younger woman to the house again; and granting permission for their children to go out of state to visit their grandparents. All this WITHOUT HER EVEN ASKING HIM! This is God’s restraining orders in action!
- HOW DO WE GET A “RESTRAINING ORDER” FROM GOD?
Here I simply list the 5 steps that Dr Myles suggests as good practice when we approach the judgement seat of God to ask Him to issue a divine restraining order:
- Repent! Come humbly into His presence and “get right” before God the Judge. How can we ask God to restrain the devil if the devil (who is prowling round like a devouring lion) is accusing us before God because of our unrepented-of sin? When we repent we are turning round to follow God’s ways. This leads us nicely on to…
- Come before the Judge in the “will of God”. We pray “Your will be done” – if we are walking in God’s ways then we will not be coming to the Judge of all the earth with a plea that He is going to say is wrong? He will not issue a restraining order against man or the devil that is wrong.
- Although we are to come before Him with the right “fear of the Lord” ( deep respect) yet we remember now that He is our Father and that He is the righteous Judge and He is on our side! So, even though we come before Him with righteous fear and humility, yet we come before Him with confidence.
- Jesus is our “mediator” and the Spirit is our “advocate” – let us know and remember that they will speak on our behalf in the courts of Heaven.
- And finally, let us leave the Courts of Heaven with confidence, trust and faith knowing that if God the Judge is for us then who can be against us? And knowing that His angels will be watching over us to protect us. And knowing that when God issues a restraining order NO-ONE can break it!
- NOW, HOW WILL YOU APPLY THIS TO YOUR LIFE?
We know there are so many times when things are happening to us, when people are against us, when situations are breaking us, that are not right. They don’t feel right. They feel as if they are part of some divine battle. And this is exactly what they are!
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6: 12)
The devil is seeking to harm us, or harm our loved ones, or harm our church.
Are we just going to let him get away with it? Are we just going to roll over onto our backs like a dog in submission?
No! We know what we are to do. Paul goes on to tell us in Ephesians 6 that we are to do our part – to put on the full armour of God and stand our ground. We are to resist the devil. We are to put our trust in God…
We are to come into the courts of Heaven, stand before the Judge of all the earth, and bring our petitions to Him – asking Him to issue a divine restraining order so that the devil is no longer allowed to attack us, harm our loved ones or destroy our church! Let us do this!