These instructions about how any King of God’s nation of Israel should behave highlight some key issues which hint at the type of man Israel’s ultimate King or Messiah would be. He would not have lots of wives or horses or gold and silver. He would not be proud and imagine himself above his people. And he would stay focused on reading the Lord’s commands every day in order to better know and obey them. There is a huge emphasis on the king doing this himself, “he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll…and read it daily as long as he lives”(Deuteronomy 17:18,19). Jesus was not a kingly character, just like the king described in this passage below. And the reason being that the trappings of power all serve to distract and detract from the service of God and obedience to his commands. In order to serve God you must obey him and in order to obey him you must read his instructions.
Deuteronomy 17:14-20 NLT
“You are about to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you take it over and settle there, you may think, ‘We should select a king to rule over us like the other nations around us.’ If this happens, be sure to select as king the man the Lord your God chooses. You must appoint a fellow Israelite; he may not be a foreigner. “The king must not build up a large stable of horses for himself or send his people to Egypt to buy horses, for the Lord has told you, ‘You must never return to Egypt.’ The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord. And he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself. “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel.
During the last two years I have formed the habit of spending some time everyday reading the bible. When I first realised the importance of learning to do this I would read only a little bit, maybe ‘Word for the Day’ or a Psalm. Just five minutes. But very soon I found I really missed it when I left it out, and then I found that if I did it first thing in the morning my day would just seem to go better. My goal is never to change this new habit. It has made such a positive difference to me, I hope I am able to read daily as long as I live.
Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20, Luke 9:7-27, Psalms 72:1-20, Proverbs 12:8-9