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 any 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 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 over a long time over his kingdom in Israel.
8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from your enemies.
"The Lord declares to you that the Lord will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will neve be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.
In the past few weeks, we’ve been studying foundational truths about what the Bible has to say about mission. We’ve learned that God’s original mission was to create a people who would glorify Him in all spheres of life. When the first humans rebelled against God, sin and death entered the picture and God’s mission changed. Because of this new reality, the mission shifted to include the notion of redemption. Because of sin, no human being can please God. If we cannot please God, then our lives are futile and our death means eternal separation from the One who made us. So, God promised to send a new Adam, a person who would fulfill the original purpose for humanity: Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. Because Jesus lived a life where He glorified God in all spheres of life, something impossible for the rest of us, by His death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, He became our Savior and Redeemer. Those who place their trust in Him are redeemed in the eyes of God.
This redemption had its beginning in the person of Abraham, through whom God established a treasured people out of all the people on the earth. Through this group, the whole world would be blessed. Out of the Jewish people, Jesus was born.
This week, we’ll look at the need for a leader who makes it their mission to help others follow God’s mission. In our passage today, the current leader of Israel was Moses. But, there would come a time after the Israelites were settled in their land when they would desire an earthly king to lead them. And so God gave Moses criteria for the people to think about when this king was chosen.
Thank you for taking the time to do this Bible study. When we dig deeper into God’s word, He promises to bless us. We follow in the footsteps of King David, who wrote in Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
This guide will provide a weekly framework for spiritual conversations with friends or family. We encourage you to reach out to a friend or two, pick a time to get together each week, and work through this guide together. This Bible study can also be a good tool for families, perhaps coordinated with mealtimes.
The chapter in focus is part of a large section in the book of Deuteronomy that lays out Moses’ last words to the people of Israel before his death. The Israelites were on the verge of entering the Promised Land. God led Moses to state His truths to the people and thereby keep them from sinning against Him. In this speech, Moses covers a wide range of topics. We’ll look at what he had to say on the subject of kings.
Read Deut. 17:14–20.
What does Moses predict will happen in Deuteronomy 17:14? There is a clue in this verse that the people’s motive for wanting a king was not entirely pure. Can you see it? Read 1 Samuel 8 which records how Israel got her first king.
What are the restrictions set by God for Israel’s king in Deuteronomy 17:15-20? We’ll divide the teaching up into two categories: 1) Instructions for the nation 2) Instructions to the appointed king: a) what not to do b) what to do.
Instructions for the nation:
“Be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses” (verse 15).
How were the people to know who the Lord would choose? One clue lies in the sections before and after the present one. In Deuteronomy 17:8-13, Moses describes the role of the judge and the priests in ruling the people. At that moment, Moses was the judge who settled differences between people and gave direction. He was also a prophet who heard from and spoke on behalf of God (see Deuteronomy 34:10). The next leader would be Joshua. The book of Judges lays out the many people, both men and women, who were the judges and prophets over Israel.
The verses that precede the instruction about kings make it clear that the judge or prophet over Israel was to work in tandem with the priests. This is why it is interesting that following the requirements about a future king, Moses gives instructions about providing for Israel’s priests in Deuteronomy 18:1-8. In these passages, the roles of prophet and priest are key in the way God wanted Israel to be ruled. Soon a king would be added.
There is a great balance and accountability in this 3-fold approach to leadership. Usually, these roles would be appointed to three different people. But, in Jesus Christ, we see all three in His Person and work. In His earthly ministry, He was a Prophet who, like Old Testament prophets spoke God’s word to the people, foretold future events, and performed miracles. Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1). Jesus is also our High Priest. He served as a mediator between humans and God. He is our Mediator and our High Priest (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 4-10). Jesus is also King. He is the ruler over all (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 15:3, 17:14, 19:16).
So, how would Israel determine their king? God’s choice would be made known through the prophet in place at the time. He would then be inaugurated with the priestly oil. Our Old Testament’s King David is a good example of a king who valued and listened to wise prophets and priests during his reign.
“He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite” (verse 15).
This seems to be a reasonable and logical restriction. From our biblical account, it seems that Israel obeyed both of these requests.
Now we come to the 2-part list of things the appointed king must do and not do.
What are the things the king should not do, according to Deuteronomy 17:16-17? These boil down to issues of power and greed. The Lord’s king should be careful not to fall prey to these very human inclinations. In the circumstances of that day, power was connected to military might and horses were most valuable in battle. Marriages were many times arranged for political purposes. Wives could represent alliances with other countries and with these agreements came the gods of the wives which they brought from their homes. King Solomon was especially susceptible to following after the gods that his many wives introduced to the nation. Accumulating large amounts of silver and gold points to greed. This bad quality reveals selfishness and even fear and a lack of faith that God would not provide what the nation needed.
What are the things the king should do, according to Deuteronomy 17:18-20? What should the king write himself? What do you think about this idea? What else is the king to do with the law of God and why? What should the king look out for in verse 20? What is the reward if the king does as God requires in this section?
It is perhaps hard for contemporary ears to take in these instructions for a king, especially those who live in countries where there is no king. But, we do have leaders, both in and outside of the church who can follow the same principles. How many times do we hear of failures from our leaders as a result of either striving for power or retaining their power at all cost? How disheartening it is when they make alliances with the wrong kinds of people and are then influenced by their ways. How destabilizing it is when we recognize greediness and its effects.
But, we know that our human leaders are just that, human. We’ve been learning in this series that God’s mission is one of redemption. This is because we need redeeming. Christians are also called to be a part of this mission. One way we can be a part of God’s redemptive activity when it comes to our leaders is to make our voices heard. We can vote. When voting is not an option, we can use other forms of communication to make our concerns known. All the while, we can bring everything to our God in prayer, which is our most important asset.
When we are discouraged we can look to Jesus. He is the King who will never fail us. He is sinless. Moreover, He holds ALL power, even over our earthly leaders. Take in and meditate upon these powerful words about our King in 1 Timothy 1:17:
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
God is on mission to redeem a people from all peoples who will reflect His glory in all spheres of life. God’s mission shapes the world. The Bible describes and confirms this mission from beginning to end. Woven into the creation of Adam and Eve, the mission extended to all nations through God’s promise to Abraham. It was embodied in a covenant people called Israel who were to be a light to other nations. Upon His arrival, Jesus took up this same mission and taught it to His disciples.
God is on mission to redeem a people from all peoples who will reflect His glory in all spheres of life.
God’s mission shapes the world. The Bible describes and confirms this mission from beginning to end.
Woven into the creation of Adam and Eve, the mission extended to all nations through God’s promise to Abraham. It was embodied in a covenant people called Israel who were to be a light to other nations. Upon His arrival, Jesus took up this same mission and taught it to His disciples. Equipped by the Spirit of God, the disciples were to go into all the world and make more disciples. Today, those who follow Christ take on His mission to redeem a people from all peoples. We were designed to reflect His glory in every sphere of life, not only in this present life but in the life which is to come. In heaven, we will see the culmination of God’s mission and join with a multitude of worshipers from every tribe, nation, and tongue who gather before God’s throne .Until then, will you give your life to God? Will you join in His mission?
» September 17-18
Jesus and God's Mission | Lead Pastor Josh Laxton
» September 24-25
MADE FOR MISSION | Mission and Education | Executive Pastor to the Lead Pastor Derwin Anderson
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