For Friday, June 2, 2006
Proverbs 17:23

The wicked accepts a bribe in secret
to pervert the ways of justice.

Truly there is nothing new under the sun. The giving of bribes has a long history. Bribes are given to sway judges' rulings; to fix betting events; to obtain advantage over business competitors; to gain money and power. It is wicked to give such bribes, but as this proverb points out, it is also wicked to accept bribes. For the one giving bribes in one sense is not the one perverting justice; rather, he is giving a bribe to one who has the power to pervert justice. The very reason he must give a bribe is that he lacks such power.

Thus, we see the danger of power. Many "good" persons have taken positions of power in the courts and in government with the desire to enforce justice, only to be corrupted by the lure of money or other form of bribery. And we are all susceptible to bribery in our own small spheres of influence. The teacher is tempted to award "pets" in the class; the parent to favor the "nice" child of the family; the boss to favor the employee who brings snacks to work. We don't need thousands of dollars to influence the favors we bestow on others; we merely need to be made to feel special.

We are all susceptible to bribery, however great or small the bride or our power. Thanks be to God that he, the Great Judge, is swayed by nothing other than his own just character; and all praise to God that he is moved by his own mercy. Our God will always do what is right; he will always do what is for our good. We may consider that there is one "bribe" that he always accepts - the intercession of his Son who is our High Priest. He will never turn down his Son who ever pleas for us.