It is to be with him

God anticipated the day when Israel would reject Him as their king. God had not given the Israelites a king, but instead had Himself been the king of the Israelites. Instead, they had prophets who would speak to the people on God’s behalf, as Moses did, as well as judges, who would judge the disputes between the people.

This was the governmental system that God set up for the Israelites. It was intentionally unlike the systems of the other people that surrounded the Israelites. God intentionally did not give them a king, specifically because His people were a people that were to be set apart. They were to be a people that looked to God as their king, not a man.

And yet God knew that the people would eventually reject Him. He knew that the hearts of the Israelites would be drawn away from God and instead would be lured into believing that they should be like the other peoples. They would want to worship the other “gods” and they would ask for a king who was a man, just like what the other nations around them had. They looked and saw that this is what the other peoples did, and so they decided that this is what they wanted as well.

This wasn’t God’s desire, but He anticipated this eventuality, so in speaking for God, Moses told the Israelites the conditions under which this would happen. He said that this person should not be a foreigner, but must be an Israelite. He said that this person must be a king that God will choose. And God said that this person shouldn’t seek wealth, power, nor unlimited pleasure through “many wives”.

But this was the part that hit me as I read this today: God said that this person must start their reign in this way:

When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests.

Deuteronomy 17:18

God wants the Israelites to keep Him at the highest place before them individually and as a community. However, he knows that they will reject Him and will ask for a king. So he says that when this happens, God will choose the man that He wants them to have.

But if the Israelites have a king, where will their law come from? It should come directly from God. This king should receive his law from the true King, God Himself.

You might see where I’m going with this. In a kingdom, where does the law come from? It comes from the king. The king is the sovereign in that particular territory. Whatever the king says, that is what happens. No questions.

But if and when a king is established before the nation of Israelites, he should start his rule and reign by creating his own copy of the law from the Word of God. The law isn’t a law from the king. It isn’t the king’s word. It is the Word that comes from a greater power. A law that comes directly from God. The king, therefore, should remain submitted to God, submitted to His word. This newly installed king isn’t the “sovereign”. God remains the Sovereign over His people.

We might be tempted to say something like: Yeah! Our government should be submitted to God’s Word! But let me suggest that we should start by looking at our own selves. We should start by asking ourselves, “Who is my sovereign?” Do I treat God as my Sovereign? Am I “writing out a copy” of God’s Word and following it each day? Is that what I live by? Or do I look to another source? Myself, for example? Do I do, instead, what is right in my own eyes? Or do I do what is right in the eyes of God?

These are important questions for each of us. The people of Israel went astray from God and His plan because they no longer considered God and His Word to be the Sovereign over them, over their nation. Instead, they did what they wanted to do because they considered their own ideas to be greater than that of God’s ideas. They considered their plans to be greater than God’s plans, and that is exactly why they continued downward into the ruin that they did. So now we should ask ourselves whether or not we will follow their same path, or if we will each “write out” God’s Word and have it be with us and our Guide while we walk out the rest of our days.

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