Respecter Of Persons
by Connie J. Horn
“Neither doth God respect any person: yet doth He devise means, that His banished be not expelled from Him” (II Samuel 14:14).
Being a respecter of persons was prohibited by Moses in order that impartial judgment could be administered among those who came to the rulers to have their causes heard (Deuteronomy 1:15,16). Even Proverbs teaches: “It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment” (Proverbs 24:23). This type of “respect” is looking at the outward appearance, or the “face” of an individual. It is even referenced in the New Testament: “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). And yet, our text verse promises that God will “devise means” to save us. It was this means that Peter spoke about in Acts 10:35: “But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.” God had “respect unto Abel and to his offering” (Genesis 4:4) because it was a sacrifice that pictured Christ’s atonement. God remembered the children of Israel in Egypt and “had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:24,25).
The key is in the original meaning of the word “respect” as it is used in Genesis 4 and Exodus 2. When God has respect to mankind, He is being faithful to a promise He has made. As in the case of the Abrahamic Covenant, it rested on God’s ability alone to keep it (Genesis 15). When God has respect of persons, He is not recognizing the person for what they have done. It is that God always “abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself” (II Timothy 2:13).
“Respect” is more commonly translated “know” in the Old Testament: “And what can David [or any of us] say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant” (II Samuel 7:20). CJH