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A Judge and the Sabbath

A Judge and the Sabbath
Court of Appeal judge David Magara was recently interviewed by Kenya’s Judicial Service Commission to become the President of the Supreme Court. He explained, “It would be very difficult for me to sit on a Saturday to hear a case. I would rather talk with my colleagues in the court to accommodate me and exempt me from sitting if the hearing extends to a Saturday.”

Magara is a Sabbath-keeping Christian who feels that “only a matter of life and death can make” him “miss church on Saturday—for instance, an accident happening on his way to church in which case he would stop to help the victims.” He also explained that his experience made him capable of leading the Judiciary and that he “was an independent judge who could not be influenced by outside forces.”

Of course, one outside force has turned into an inward belief for Magara—obedience to God’s law. The Ten Commandments are the guiding influence in his life. While the Bible encourages us to be subject to governing authorities (see Romans 13), we are to uphold God’s law above human law if they should ever come into conflict. As Peter and the apostles once stated, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

How lasting are God’s commandments, including the Sabbath? “The works of His hands are verity and justice; all His precepts are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness” (Psalm 111:7, 8). What does the Bible say of those who refuse to keep God’s law? “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).

Many churches and Christians are quick to concede on keeping the Sabbath, freely setting it aside if it is inconvenient or conflicts with their wishes. So how inspiring to hear of a judge—a leader who represents the laws of the land—who will stand for his personal religious belief to follow God even though it may cost him a promotion.

Let’s remember to never compromise in obeying God’s law and keep in mind the promise of which David wrote: “Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:11).