Who is our true King? And Biblical Kingship
“When you enter the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and you take possession of it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will appoint a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’ you shall in fact appoint a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses. One from among your countrymen you shall appoint as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves, anyone who is not your countryman. In any case, he is not to acquire many horses for himself, nor shall he make the people return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’ And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, so that his heart does not turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.
“Now it shall come about, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this Law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, so that he will learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully following all the words of this Law and these statutes, so that his heart will not be haughty toward his countrymen, and that he will not turn away from the commandment to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may live long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel. (NASB)
Hopefully we can all agree that God should be our true king. And the same was true for the people of Israel. So, if that is case why did God give instructions in today’s passage for something he did not and clearly did not intend to happen?
God knowing human weaknesses made allowances to accommodate the desire his people would have for a visible, tangible ruler. However, God was recommending a king; he was merely permitting one as a possibility. God clearly did not want the people to reject him in the process of putting a man on the throne, but gave them the choice to do so in order that they would see the hope that was coming. And that leads us into to the next question that we should asking ourselves: why would God limit what a king could acquire?
God knows and understands that power and wealth can and will ensnare a ruler as well as anyone else and lead him or her away from the law of God. He or she might want to make foreign alliances or marry foreign husbands or wives—both of which would erode his or her love for the Lord. Here the king is instructed to be humble, reading the law at all times so he will remember that he is a servant of God. And that leads us into the next question we should be asking ourselves: why should a king do the work of a scribe?
In the minds of some this command is not viewed as the king writing out the law himself, but rather him receiving his own personal copy that had been prepared by the priests. Whether the king was supposed to write out the law or he was supposed to be given his own personal copy to study, the ultimate point of this command is clear: Any ruler needs to depend on God’s law for success. And that leads us to the ultimate question we should be asking ourselves today: Has any human being ever fulfilled all of these requirements for true Godly kingship?
The answer to that question is that there has only ever been one human being to fulfill all of the requirements for Godly kingship and that one person is Jesus. For you see when God laid out his requirements of true Godly kingship, he knew that none of Israel’s rulers, whether they were past, present or future would meet his requirements. And God knew when laid his requirements for Godly kingship that none of our rulers past, present or future would meet his requirements either. So, the question that we must then answer is the same one that Jesus asked his disciples in Luke 9:18-20 and we must respond in the same manner.
While he was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They answered, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, that one of the ancient prophets has come back.”
“But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” (CSB)
Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:
Deuteronomy 18-20, Luke 9:28-50, Psalm 73:1-26 and Proverbs 12:10