Lent Devotion for March 13
Reader: “Let us set a king over us,”
Response: “like all the nations around us.”
SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 17:14–20
14 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” 15 be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. 16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.
18 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. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.
Reader: "The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
God supposed in advance what the Israelites would want after they entered Canaan. They might want a king like the people whom they had just driven out had! If that situation were to materialize, Moses gave the people some guidance. Israel seemed to have an inferiority complex. Have you noticed how they continually wanted to be like the nations around them? It was as if they needed to be accepted — by the pagans no less! Knowing that trait about His people along with their penchant toward syncretic worship, God forcefully and repeatedly, reminded the children of Israel that they were to be holy, set apart from those around them. In this case of a king, Moses made clear that the king would be of the Lord’s choosing. He would be an Israelite, not a foreigner. Remember, some Egyptians came along with the Jews in the exodus. It was possible for a non-Jew to embrace the Hebrew faith. They were ineligible to be king. The next set of instructions applied to the king himself. He was to: stay away from Egyptian horses; have a stable of modest size; and limit the number of wives because they will turn his heart from the Lord. He must not accumulate large amounts of gold and silver. Interestingly, he is to keep a copy of Moses’ script by his throne and read it daily! By so doing, he would learn to fear the Lord and rule in justice and humility and “not act like he is above his fellow citizens.” If the king would follow this law, his descendants would rule for generations. The Levitical priests acted as judges and interpreted the law. Obviously, the document got lost, misplaced, or neglected when we read the account of King Solomon! I am impressed and humbled by how well the Lord knows human nature. The desire to be accepted and belong still drives our world today. Have you noticed how heavily God instructs people to remind themselves of Him daily? Here, the king is to pay daily attention. The Shema states we are to remember our walk with the Lord when we get up, when we go to bed, when we are around the house, and when we are out on the road. In short, keep the mind of the Lord before you all the time. This is one of the reasons we are involved in The Year of the Book whereby we have assigned portions of Scripture to read each day. Let me encourage you to continue the pattern of reading Scripture each day for the rest of your life. It will give you the mind of the Lord.
“Ride on King Jesus” by Robert Shaw Festival Singers (Watch on YouTube)
Lord Jesus Christ, King of the kings and Lord of lords, with joy we look forward to your eternal reign, when evil will be forever banished. When sin, sickness, disease, and grief will cease to exist, and you will reign in power and all glory. Being your subjects will be the greatest privilege we have ever known. Frankly, Lord, it is hard for us to imagine. It will be an entirely different world than we have ever experienced. Knowing you are King–providing, loving, guiding, is hard to comprehend. At best we’re only guessing what it will be like. We have read your life and heart in the Scriptures and long to see you face to face. How grateful we are for your grace, mercy, and kindness to us even now. We love you Lord and thank you for loving us. In the name of King Jesus. Amen.
- Daniel Sharp