In today’s verse, we read about the small and great alike. Deuteronomy 1:17 says, “Do not show partiality when deciding a case; listen to small and great alike. Do not be intimidated by anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too difficult for you, and I will hear it” (CSB). This verse is referencing the importance of listening without being partial — the importance of listening to small things and great things equally to get as much information as to make a decision using good discernment. Some translations say poor and rich instead of small and great.
The truth is that people would certainly try to intimidate and use their position to get a person to rule in their favor. There could be some biases, known and unknown, that could cause you to listen more to the small or the the great (rich or poor) as well. It’s always murky water when mentioning biases. The defense system goes up. Some people will admit they know they have known and unknown biases. Some people will put their hands up and say, “Not me.”
I am not trying to start a big argument (please see 2 Timothy 2:23). To me, an argument on this matter is foolish. Why? Each of us has things we are drawn to, things we like a little and like a lot. Things that cause us pleasure, enjoyment, comfort, etc., will be things that we will choose above other things. This is true even when it comes to certain people. The Bible tells us not to have favorites (James 2:1) and not to show partiality because we do. It wouldn’t need to be brought up otherwise.
There’s no reason to be up in arms over the truth. Instead, we work through what the Word is telling us — listen to the small and great alike. This means that we should always attempt to give our attention to both the small and the great (rich and poor). We should listen to both. Establishing the truth, making a judgment, has nothing to do with being small or great. It always has to do with the listening in the hope of getting to what is right and true. Whether you are judging between two parties, trying to choose a candidate for a job, selecting which of your children to give the car keys to for the night, deciding who to cast your vote, etc., remember to listen to each person, small and great alike. Everyone has something to share, and if you discredit someone without even listening, you may end up missing out. More importantly, in closing your ears, you decide to bestow grace upon one, but not the other. God pours out His grace to all. Let us follow suit. Today, be intentional to listen fully to each person with open ears and open hearts. You may be surprised at what you hear.