For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. (Deuteronomy 10:17)
God Cannot Be Bribed
Bribery is one of the oldest criminal enterprises of humankind. A bribe is an act of exchanging favors, whether in the form of money or possessions, to influence a person’s behavior in authority. To bribe a judge is to seek a judicial outcome favorably for a certain individual. Bribing business officials tries to put the best contract in the hands of a specific group of investors. Government officials worldwide are notorious for using bribes to gain favors or extend favors to others. In some cultures, bribery is the grease that moves the wheels of life through its paces. It is a way of life. Businesses, courts, governments, and individuals all face bribery risks to some degree. There are many laws in place that seek to punish individuals charged with bribery. Companies employ risk assessment management to continually seek out situations that may compromise the honestly of business dealings.
Under the Law of Moses, bribery was forbidden. Anything that would impair the impartial administration of justice, particularly giving and receiving gifts or bribes, to pervert judgment, was forbidden. The law commanded no bribe to be taken, less it blind the discerning and perverts the words of the righteous. Samuel was one of Israel’s greatest judges, but his sons, Joel and Abijah, judges in Beersheba, turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. In Isaiah’s time, the land was filled with the love of bribes and seeking rewards for themselves. The fatherless and widows were abused in the corrupt system of bribery. Amos would decry the poor’s treatment when the good people were given up by taking bribes and depriving the innocent of justice in the courts. Ezekiel spoke of the hired murderers, loan racketeers, and extortioners everywhere during the days of bondage. The people of God allowed the sin of bribery to corrupt and destroy their nation. Ahab took the vineyard of Naboth by dishonest men bribed to testify against the righteous man, and the Jews found two false witnesses to testify against Jesus, no doubt paid in full for their treachery.
There are two things certain about the problem of bribery. First, it is as old as the world and will continue to plague the soul of man until the final day. Secondly, no man can bribe the Lord God Almighty. This does not suggest that men have not tried to bribe God, but He cannot and will not be tempted by the notion of changing His judgment for the betterment of men. The Lord reminds all creation that heaven belongs to Him and the highest heavens belong to the Lord and that all the earth is His. He is God of gods and Lord of lords. The nature of God is mighty and awesome. He will no show partiality because of a person’s standing in the world or their monetary wealth. What man among men is greater than God to impose his will upon his Maker? Who among all men can possess the God who holds the universe in the palm of His hand? How can man imagine he has the power or insight to bribe the Lord God Creator? This is impossible. God alone administers justice to the fatherless and the widow and shows kindness to the stranger. He is impartial and unbiased by the whims of men.
No man could bribe the Lord to change His mind about destroying the world in the days of Noah. When God told Noah what he was going to do, it never entered Noah’s mind to bribe God to change His mind because it would not be done. Great men failed miserably, and they never tried to suggest God be more merciful to them than others. Moses disobeyed the word of the Lord and was refused entrance into the promised land. He held no special favors to bribe God. The man after God’s own heart, David the king, committed adultery, deceit, caused a man to be drunk and finally murder. There was no bribe to lessen the punishment. David felt the full wrath of the Lord with mercy. A terrifying realization that a man will face is when all men stand before the Lord God Almighty, and there will be no bribery or plea bargain to lessen the punishment of eternal Hell. He cannot and will not be challenged in His righteous judgment. Men can be bribed. God will not. God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome.