Deuteronomy - Lesson 24

The King as Righteousness Embodied - Deut. 17.14-20

Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.

Daniel Block
Lesson 24
Watching Now
The King as Righteousness Embodied - Deut. 17.14-20

The King as Righteousness Embodied (17:14-20)

I. Introduction

II. Mosaic Charter for Kingship

A. Request for a king

B. Conduct of the King

C. Significance of the king’s action

D. Why these actions are important

III. Significance of This Text

IV. Lessons on Leadership

V. Role of Godly Leadership

  • The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.

  • Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)

  • God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.

  • Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.

  • The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.

  • With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.

  • God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.

  • The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.

  • When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.

  • The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.

  • God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.

  • Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.

  • How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.

  • When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.

  • The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.

  • Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.

  • “What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.

  • Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.

  • As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.

  • The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.

  • This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.

  • In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.

  • A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.

  • Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.

  • Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.

  • Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.

  • The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.

  • Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.

  • Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.

  • Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)

  • This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.

  • The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.

  • This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.

  • At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.

  • This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.  

The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)

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The King as Righteousness Embodied - Deut. 17.14-20

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] Our text in this session is Deuteronomy 1714 to 20, and our theme is the burden of leadership. The King as righteousness embodied. We have to set the context for this text. It is. It comes right in the middle of a larger section, which some people think of in terms of a or as Israel's constitution. Because from 1618 to the end of Chapter 18, Moses is dealing with the various offices in Israel, in their society, that are that develop or are assigned roles in keeping this nation going. It gives political structure to the nation and it gives spiritual structure to the nations. But in my estimation, the current concern throughout is the common concern is the current is is the issue of righteousness. We mentioned yesterday in one an earlier session that if there is a key text or a text, that is the key to the third address, it is chapter 16, verse 20. Righteousness only righteousness. You shall pursue that you may live and possess the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Again, I mentioned that our translations all have. Almost all of us have justice, just as usual. Pursue. But that for the way we use that word today, it focuses focus. Is it much too narrowly? But that verse comes right before this long section. A stop or it comes at the introduction to this long section Righteousness, the righteousness you shall pursue. This is the goal. And so what we have in this introduction are instructions concerning the guardians of righteousness, which I see here as judges. You shall appoint judges as guardians of righteousness. And at the end, prophets as guardians of righteousness, the way they guard righteousness differs. But on the other hand, this is what's happening here.


[00:02:56] Then we have instructions for Leviticus priests who are also guardians of righteousness, but in a different way. In 17 8 to 13, the Leviticus priests as a sort of court of appeal for insoluble cases or difficult cases, and then the medical priests and the instructions concerning Leviticus priests as cultic officials address to the people, all of these are addressed to the people, then it's not the instructions for the king are not given to the king. They're given to the people. So the people might know what sort of king they are to have or how he should behave. And all of these are addressed to the people that they have a communal understanding of how righteousness is to be promoted in this nation. And right at the middle, you have instructions concerning the king of Israel as the embodiment of righteousness. So guardians of righteousness and embodiments of righteousness, well, we can see how this command works. 16, 20 Righteousness, righteousness you shall pursue. These are the various dimensions of righteousness that we see represented in the third address, actually, all the way through this book. Sadak and said that car. And so we will see that right after this. He says, you shall, you shall appoint judges for yourself at the first kinds of issues he's talking about our vertical. It's not social justice we're talking about, it's vertical righteousness, no other gods, ritual fidelity bearing the Lord's name. Then there will be tax on coveting and remaining pure. That's personal internal righteousness, and then finally horizontal righteousness towards our environment, towards the members of the family and the communities in which we live. Righteousness in all its dimensions. So that when we translate this as social justice, we're boxing it in there. It's much bigger than as we understand it.


[00:05:21] Social justice. Righteousness only righteousness. Well, let's start at this text, this text on kingship in Israel. I call this under the influence of World Kaiser, Israel's Charter for Kingship. The Mosaic. Charter for Kingship. But notice how it begins quite naturally. And this again, this is not the style of legislation. This is the style of an orator. A preacher. He's back to preaching. When you enter the land that Yahweh, your God, is giving you and you have taken possession of it and settled in it. And you say the legislation doesn't talk that way. Now he is introducing an interlocutor. He quotes what people are saying. It looks like it's a collective saying, but it's all singular. Let us set a king over us like the nations have around us. That is the nature of a regress. We want a king. Under that we have to notice, first of all, the context. When you enter the land and the law and you have taken possession of it, then you will say you are inclined to say, you know, I'd like a king. We've been operating okay until now, but we really do need a king and we have to interpret this text in the current context of ancient near Eastern views of kingship. I mentioned in an earlier session that in the ancient world, this ancient world kings had primarily three roles and they related to a nation's relationship, to its deity, to fellow citizens, and to the outside world in relationship to the deity. It was the duty of the King to be sure that the national patron, God was happy. The Kings functioned as the patron of the cult to keep the gods happy. Secondly, Kings were there to see to it that the citizens were kept happy through the good, just righteous administration of issues that arise in any community.


[00:07:59] And then finally, it was the duty of kings to ensure the security of our country by keeping enemy nations at bay. And he would particularly or specifically he would serve as the leader of the military forces so that the duty around a mystic historian to can talk about in the at the time of year when kings go out to war. That's the springtime when things go out to war. Well, it's not only kings going out to war, it's there at the head of an army. So Moses is anticipating, you know, we're going to be settled in the land and you're going to be worried about the security issues. Let's have a king. Given our understanding of Moses, who has a perpetual scowl on his face. We would expect him to say, let's set a king over ourselves. He says, Stop it right there. You have no business asking for a king. Look at the kings out there. But he doesn't do that. After the declaration of the request, let us say the king over ourselves, like the nations. Go ahead. Get yourself a key if that's what you want. But then he will draw some boundaries on what they expect in the opening of this and comparing the style and tone of this text with what we saw in chapter 12. When you live in your towns and you say, I would like you to eat meat at home, I don't want to wait until I go to the central sanctuary. I'd like to eat meat at home. I crave meat and here. But the pattern is the same. When you come to the land that the Lord God is giving you and you process, you say, I'd like to install a king. He introduces the interlocutor and the first thing suggests, he says, Go ahead, eat meat.


[00:10:08] All that you desire, whenever you desire, if you want me to go for it. And here he said, you may indeed set a king over yourself. But then he adds some qualifiers whom you wield your God will choose a king from among your brothers. You shall set over yourself. You may not put a foreigner over you who is not your brother. So here they say, Give us a king like the nations. That's actually ambiguous, is it? Give us a king like the King's The nations have. Or is it? Give us a king. The way the nations arranged for getting kings. It's quite ambiguous here. But Moses doesn't doesn't qualify that. He doesn't quibble at the way they ask the question. But he the assumption here is we need a king to defend us against foreign threats, to defend us against internal threats and to defend us against divine threats. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God. And so all you want to keep the gods happy. That's how the ancients thought. But of course, that raises for us the question is kingship God's will for Israel? Well, as it turns out, despite the effect of kings and their overwhelming responsibility for what happened in. In 722 and 586. The demise of the nations because of the kings whom you chose. Despite that. From the very beginning, the Divine Program anticipated Kings, Genesis 17 six and 16. I will make you exceedingly fruitful. God tells Abraham I will make you into nations. A goal is by definition, a group of people with a king at the head. That's what I established in my dissertation in another millennium. That's the difference between an ego and an arm. An arm is a social group, an intimate social group.


[00:12:37] But a goy is a formal, legally identified group with a king at the head, which is why kings and nations are often parallel. So a goy is an is is a group of people with a king at the head. So give us a king like the nations. Reflects an inferiority complex. We don't quite measure up to the nations. We need to have a king. And so give us a king like the go ye. Well, here I will make you intonations being shall come from you. And then in verse 16, I will bless her Sarah, whose name means princess. And guess what? She will be a princess because I will give you a son by her. I will bless her. She will become nations. Kings of peoples shall come from her. And you have it again in 3511. There's another Genesis text, Jacob's Oracles concerning his descendants in Genesis 42 910. The Scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet until tribute comes to him. To him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Also, numbers 24 seven. This is Bayley. I'm the foreign prophet. Talking water shall flow from his buckets and his seed shall be in many waters. His king shall be higher than Agag and his kingdom shall be exalted. He looks over Israel. This is that pagan prophet whom the more boys had hired and to curse the people. And this is what he says. Verse 17 I see him, but not now. I behold him, but not near a star shall come out of Jacob and a scepter shall arise from Israel. It shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Schiff. So kings are in this picture. And of course, you know, Balian was a false prophet.


[00:14:41] But in this instance, every time he opened his mouth to speak, he spoke truth. Because God overwhelmed the evil spirit of inspiration. We could also go to First Samuel to tend where at the end of her oracle, the Prophet Hannah. In the Aramaic. Targum Hannah is identified as a prophet. And Hannah, the prophet prayed to the Lord. First Samuel two, verse one. That's the Aramaic Targum. And this is clearly an oracle. She is not speaking the way an ordinary human being speak. It's poetry. It's in an elevated register. But the climax of this Hannah's Magnificat, of which Mary's is a natural in the New Testament, the adversaries of Yahweh shall be broken to pieces against them. He will thunder in heaven. Ja. We will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed. His messiah. Here's the word. Well, of course, this. This is the introduction. This is the theme statement for the books of Samuel, which really are not the books of Samuel. That is such a misnomer. Samuel didn't write them. Samuel is not the main character. He's the first main character. Or Sam, my main character. He's the first one. It opens with his story. But it's not about Samuel. It's not by Samuel. It's not for Samuel. It's about David. So I insist that these books should be called first and second. David It's one continuous composition. In fact, I think it carries all the way through to the End of Kings. It's all about David. That's why Josiah King, at the end of the Book of Keys emerges. We're wondering at the end of Kings, what happens to David's throne? And guess what? It's still there in seed form.


[00:16:53] Well, here this is the theme. And our question after hearing this is who will this king be? And so the people will come to Samuels. They give us a king like the nations. Quoting this Deuteronomy takes for Samuel chapter eight. Give us a king like the nations. And Samuel or the Lord says, All right, you ask for a king like the nations. I'll give you a king like the nations. He gives them, Saul. Well, who saw Samuel should have told the Lord at that point when the lot fell on Saul. You can do this. Because you said the scepter shall not depart from Judah. This is wrong. But I think God is playing with him. I'm going to give the people what they've asked for. And you give them Saul, who is a Benjamin ite. And when you look at the end of the story of judges, what we know about Benjamin Knight's. They're. They're sodomites. They're the lowest of the low. And they're almost eliminated. And Saul has to be son of Kish. My theory is that Kish is one of those 600 surviving Benjamin troops. I'll give you a king like the nations. That's what you want when they give some Saul. Saul's a loser from the beginning. He can't win. But God says sometimes God answers people's prayers just the way they ask them. Let's play your game and see what happens. But this is not the person the Lord has in mind from the beginning. And when later it says, I have found the person, after the Lord has found a person after his own heart. He's not talking about he's found a person who has a heart like God's heart. It's not about David's heart. It's about their heart, men's mind.


[00:18:56] The Lord has identified the person whom He whom he has had in mind from the beginning. That's David. That's David. And so here Moses says, you shall you may appoint yourselves one, but he must be one whom the Lord chooses. God has in mind that person. You may indeed set a king over yourself, whom God will choose one from among your brothers. You may not put a foreigner on. And Saul is a virtual foreigner. In terms of his disposition. He is like the nations. Well, what are the qualifications of this king? Divine election. Whom the Lord chooses? Israelites. Citizenship. Not an alien. But of course, those are the two principal qualifications. But then he shifts into the conduct the handbook for royal behavior. But we must remember that this handbook on royal behavior is given to the people, not to the king. So that the people know what they may expect from the king and how the people are to assess the king's role. So he's talking to the people. And from the people's perspective, what is the biggest problem a king will represent? Ambition. And he gives three illustrations of how kings in that world express their political, self centered, self-indulgent ambitions. First. It's using the office for personal advantage. If you read it in this text, you will see it's very clear in the Hebrew he shall not multiply a horses for himself, nor shall he multiply wives for himself, nor shall his multiply silver and gold for himself. Well, what's the problem? The problem is that. Kings get caught up in their own status and their own position in their own power. And everything changes from being a servant of the people to the king, to the people being your servants. All the resources flow in to the king.


[00:21:32] Watch it. So. And of course, the three illustrations he has he uses here are illustrations of ancient forms of political ambition, the lust for power. On the one hand, if we lived in Kentucky, we, as we did for ten years, we saw lots of beautiful horses there. But the significance of a horse in Kentucky is entirely different from the significance of horses here. You shall not multiply horses for yourself. Or caused the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire horses. Egypt's got lots and lots of nice horses. That's where we will go. You're not to go back to Egypt because that is virtually undoing your history, your story. Don't go there. Since Yahweh has said to you, You shall never return that way again. Actually, we don't know where that is. We have no record of God ever telling Israel you're never to go back to Egypt. But it must be somewhere Moses is aware. Somewhere along the line that word or came orally from God. And it didn't make its way into the text of Scripture. Well, they're not to go there. And of course, now you can see horses were used to pull chariots. Here's an Egyptian horse drawn chariot from exactly that time. Nicely colorized. Here are Hittites. Chariot. And, of course, the Hittites were the real source of horses in those days. Because up there among the Scythians and the Hittites and around the Black Sea, they developed. They produced the nice horses. Everybody in the world wanted these. And even the Egyptian horses, for the most part, will have come from there. So ultimately, your your source of horses, the closest hand, this one is Egypt. But they came by boat from from from the north. So here's a Hittite.


[00:23:39] This is in the late Bronze Age. Here is another Hittite chariot. Notice these are all military. So you have a driver driving the horses and the archer there as opposed to this one. This here, it looks like it's a single person. But of course, this is a way to show that Ramses the Pharaoh is the big boy. He can do it all on his own. And so you have these chariots, a Hittite chariot. Here is a colorized Assyrian war chariot with nice decorations, because these war chariots are all also to be ways of proclaiming the glory of the king. Everything's advertising. Look at what a great game you can tell about my chariots by my armies. This is the problem with multiplying horses. And guess what happens when we get a king? What do you know Solomon for? Well, he was a wise king, but he is also an idiot. Very explicitly here, the way the author describes Solomon's reign. He did all of this. He did all of this. He is the he is the problem, the lust for status. So now you shall he shall multiply women for himself. Of course, the issue here is the Haram. In the ancient world, herons were not only about giving the king access to lustful experiences whenever he wanted them. Haram's war or ways of declaring to the world what a great king you are you would get. You'd have a guest to your court from another country and you'd show him your palaces and your courtiers and whatever, and you show them all the beautiful women that you have. And as a gift to the king, you might give one of them to him. Or you might say, Here, spend, spend, spend the nights while you're in town with this woman.


[00:25:52] Those kinds of if it's a matter of status. You remember. Nebuchadnezzar at the beginning of the Book of Daniel. He needs more courtiers, so he wants people who are good looking. Right. Skilled in all the literature and language of Babylon. But they have to be good looking. Why? Because every person in the court is decoration. Everything for the glory of the kid, including the physical appearance. So women here, it's not only about personal, lustful issues, it's also a status issue. He shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away. All this is the real thing. Watch its kings if you. Get lots of women into your court. They will turn your heart away. And that again, that's exactly what happened. Solomon built temples for his wives, and then finally, the lust for wealth, silver and gold. For himself. For himself, for himself. That's the problem with the way other kings operate. There's a recent essay came out on this very subject, and the the thesis of this guy who writes it and he's not an evangelical, but he argues that this is an anti monarchy view of the monarchy. This whole thing. It is counter culture from the ground up. It is totally different. He shall not use his office for his own purposes. The danger is ambition. You believe the media? You're the greatest. And that's the beginning of the end. The demand is submission verses 18 to 20. When he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself. Oh, here it is. He doesn't write for the people. He doesn't write for the subjects, the scriptures, and then read it to the Scriptures and say to the people, The people. You have to follow the scriptures.


[00:28:17] No, that's not his role. He is to rewrite it for himself on a scroll. A copy of this Torah. I obviously just cut and pasted this in from my Bible works program, or I would have changed law. It's this Torah that Moses is giving in the presence of the Leviticus priests. They are a check on his abuse of power and it shall be with him. This Torah is to be his constant guide companion. He shall read it all, read in it all the days of his life. Now you have it. But he may learn, but he may fear that he may keep that he may sit longer on the throne. That's an old formula hearing the Torah, that we might learn the Torah or that we might fear your way, that we might keep all the words of this Torah by doing them. And of course, here's the motive clause. Why is it important for the King to read the Torah for himself? That his heart be not lifted up above his brother's. You forget. I'm just one of them. And that is the problem, son. And of course, we have enough illustrations of the problem that this kind of leadership raises that he not turn aside from the commandment again, I have commandment. I should have changed that to command either to the right or to the left so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children in Israel. You see what he's doing here. The dangers of ambition. The demand is submission. Submission to whom? As declared in. The Torah, of course. Notice the context. When he sits on the throne, he shall copy the Torah. Sitting on the throne is in the act of governing. When you get off the throne, that means you're suspended.


[00:30:35] Rule. But in the act of governing, acting as king, he is to write for himself a copy of this Torah. Secondly, it is to be his constant companion. Third, he shall read it all his life. When you see this and then you read the account of Solomon, you see how quickly he forgot. The significance of the King's action one. Moses recognized the Torah as canonical teaching from the beginning. This Torah that I am hereby proclaiming, I have a feeling that at the time Moses was giving his third address, he's already thinking, As soon as I'm done preaching, I'm going to put this all in print. I'll write it down on the scroll and they'll have it so the king can copy from this scroll. And so he recognized the Torah as canonical. Notice the king does not create laws. But receives the Constitution for the people from a higher authority. And he himself is subject to the laws. The same Torah that he has been preaching to the people has to be the King's Torah. He's neither above the law nor subject to adifferent law. It's the same Torah. The expression copy of this Torah implies a standard copy from which transcript is to be made. I wonder at what point David might have done this. When the David make a copy of the Torah. Maybe it's when he was doing that that he became so excited about glorifying God through his reign. I don't know. Or about worship. Whatever forth the Torah was to be copied in written form on a safe here and now. I simply have to remind you that a safer is not a book. A safer is simply a written document. And in this context, it would have been a scroll made of sheepskin or goatskin leather or whatever else.


[00:32:57] Something like we see here. It is not a book. It's not this book of the law that sends the wrong impression that it's something like this with pages that print on both sides, and there's a binding on the one side. That's not what we're talking about. It is the copied on a safer in the presence of the Leviticus priests. We've already talked about this, but it is the priests who are the guardians of the Torah, not the king. The king is the doer of the Torah, if anything. He guards the Torah by living it. Why are these actions are important? Well, for a leader. Faithful reading of the Torah is the key to a proper disposition toward your joy. The Divine Susan. This is critical. It's when Solomon's brilliance went to his head. The Queen of Sheba comes in and congratulates him and congratulates the people. Let's go. It's got to be in first. Kings. Chapter ten, The Queen of Sheba. What does she say about. About. About Solomon? It is a it was a true report that I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. But I didn't believe the reports until I came in. My eyes have seen and look. Half of it wasn't told. You exceeded in wisdom and prosperity. The report I heard. How blessed are your people? How blessed are your servants who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom? Blessed be your way, your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel because your way loved Israel forever. That's why he made you king. To do justice and righteousness. That is an awesome speech by an alien. Unfortunately, after she leaves, the narrator doesn't have a single positive thing to say about Solomon.


[00:35:28] Not one thing. Not one thing. And, you know, he turns from God. He builds the temples for his wives and all the rest. It's a sad story ever told. He starts out on such a high note, but he forgot who was king in this place. The Lord is king. And God has made you king not to be king, but for the sake of Israel, whom he loves. And remember that word love, because God is covenantal, committed to Israel. He put you on the throne. His function is to keep that triangle smooth and running smoothly, keeping it greased and keeping the people on track. And his role is to embody what the Toro represents. So subject to a higher authority. Second, faithful reading of the Torah is the key to proper disposition toward his fellow members of the Covenant community. That your head be not raised above your countrymen? Or is it your heart but not raised by your. Very quickly. They thought it was about their third faithful. Reading of the Torah is the key to staying on course in one's devotion to God. Here's the critical thing. He shall read all the days of his life that he may learn to fear. Yeah. What's the first principle? What is what now? Does the Lord your God require of you? Fear the Lord, Your God. Walk in his ways. Love him, serve him and keep the commands. That's a summary statement. He may fear the Lord his God and demonstrate that fear by observing all the words of this Torah and these statutes that his heart may not be lifted up above his country and he stay on course with God. Faithful reading is the key to staying on course. For faithful reading of the Torah is the key to a secure future.


[00:37:44] With reference to the nation, it is always You shall hear the word. When you hear the word, you'll learn to fear the Lord. Then you'll obey the word. And then you will live in the land long live long in the land. He adapts that adapts that formula here to the throne. He will occupy the throne for ever. This is a very significant text for many reasons. First, it presents a revolutionary paradigm for kingship. Whereas the kings of other nations often gain power by sheer Machiavellian force that you rise to the top at the expense of rivals and subjects. The kingship will be established in response to a democratic impulse. You say We'd like a king. And the favorable response from God or head. Get yourself a cake. This is not the king putting himself on the throne, scratching his way to the top. Second, whereas other states were often governed by foreigners, use surplus from the outside or imperial overlords. The Israelites were to be governed by one of their own. Under the imperial reign of Yahweh. This is a theocracy, and the king functions as vice regent for God. The chronicler talks about sitting on the throne of Yahweh. As his designated king. Third, whereas the kings of other nations regularly use their possessions to satisfy their own lust for power, status and wealth, Israeli kings were forbidden from using their office to amass power for themselves. Don't go there. You are the servant of the people, not the other way around. Fourth, whereas other kings were perceived primarily as administrators of justice, a function they fulfilled by demanding absolute loyalty. The role of Israelite kings seemingly says nothing about that judge fairly. The call for judges happened in chapter 16, verse 18. You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers.


[00:40:17] It's assuming that the judges will emerge from the communities out of the body of elders and whatever very democratic. Now, it will be the function of kings to see to it that that happens. He doesn't have to judge everybody. But in this case, his role is not to run the court system, but this to see to it that it operates. He was to embody the divinely revealed standard of covenantal justice keeping Torah and Fifth, whereas other kings codified laws to protect their own interests, to regulate the conduct of subjects not themselves. The Israelite laws were codified by Yahweh himself. Interpreted by his spokesman who had no vested interest in kingship. And then imposed on the key. This is a profoundly new theology of leadership. Of kingship. What's the significance of this text? Well, it's a revolutionary paradigm. But here he characterized the king as a model Israelite citizen who embodied the Torah. Righteousness of the Torah for himself. He was to read. That he might hear, that he might learn, that he might fear that he might obey and that he might live, and in so doing, offer the world, his country, his citizens, a paradigm. Of righteousness. That's his job. Long before any job. There is no job description here. There's no he Deuteronomy says nothing about the King building a temple. He talks about, I'll choose a place for my name to dwell, but he never connected with the king. The issue is not what jobs does the King fall perform? It's what kind of person is he? So that the person who stands before the people may always say, Follow me. Don't do as I say. Do as I do. You want to know what Torah righteousness looks like? Watch me. That's the goal.


[00:43:05] He is the embodiment of righteousness. And of course, I've just drafted this chart of places where you hear this formula read that they may hear, that they may learn, that they may fear. It's interesting that all of these elements are found only in this text in chapter 17 with reference to the key. Otherwise, you you never have the complete set of checkmarks. Here you have it. The king is to be the embodiment. Look at the king and you'll know what it means to live. Let's now make this more general for our own world, our own time for ourselves. Whether we are the head of a household, a head in a community, a teacher of a class, a pastor of the church, a youth pastor or whatever. What lessons do we learn? First, Godly leaders don't view their positions as personal accomplishments or based on personal abilities. They are chosen by God. And this is a divine charge. It's not a personal ambition charge. As a corollary of that, I think godly leaders will often be surprised by what God puts them into. We get what we don't ask for. Sometimes it's far bigger than we know what we're getting. But that's God's problem. And he is the one to take it second. Godly leaders recognize that although they are indeed put over the people, they remain one with the people neither greater nor lesser. You're one of them. Don't forget it. Third. Godly leaders recognize that theirs is not a position of power or privilege, but responsibility. Biblically speaking, this is always true. We don't keep our thumb on people keeping them under control. We carry them. And we assume responsibility for their well-being. We don't impose our definition of their being on them. They know they exist for the sake of the community, not vice versa.


[00:45:41] Therefore, rather than using positions for personal advantage selling their souls, they are willing to give up everything, even their lives, for the sake of those they're called to lead. And of course. Paul talks about this in Carmen Christi the him to Christ. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. I mean, by definition he had the rights to everything in heaven and on Earth. But what does he do? He empties himself. He takes on the form of a servant and becomes all be obedient. To the calling, even to the point of death. This is the model. Let that mind be in you for the primary role of godly leaders is to embody the highest virtues and values of the community. Their lives are characterized by fear of God, which derives from thorough familiarity with a revealed will of God. Well, I am presently involved in a project of refashioning a seminary in a foreign country. The existing form of the seminary is exactly the problem here. The faculty. Act as if it's about the faculty. And they're making names for themselves and they have no time for the students. Hardly any evidence of any personal mentoring going on, let alone embodying this. We do stuff we're not. It is not that we are somebody. It's what we do and what we do. We want the world to be impressed with. Well, I'm sorry. That will not help the churches training pastors in that environment. So we are trying to get a new paradigm in which the character of every administrator and every faculty member and every assistant faculty member embodies the virtues that the seminary values for the church.


[00:48:06] That's the point. This is critical. Ezra set his heart. To study the Torah. And to teach the Torah to his people. No, it's not that. Yeah, as a 710. No. He set his heart to study the Torah. To apply the Torah. And then to teach it has to be in that order. Otherwise, we lack credit, credibility, integrity. It's hypocrisy. We study not to show our brilliance. But for the transformation of our lives. And that's when we can stand before people come. Follow me. Godly leaders point people upward to God by submitting to him, fearing him, serving him without reservation. God leaders recognize that God doesn't promise success unconditionally. Success is conditional depending on the leaders humility before their fellows. And if you think you got your position because you're so bright and so brilliant when you crash, don't blame anybody else. No fear. God. Obey his will scrupulously as the Son of God and the Son of David. Jesus fulfills the mosaic model of leadership perfectly. And I think that's what he's doing at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. I came not to destroy the Torah. But to fulfill it, which doesn't mean only to give you an exposition that is absolutely perfect. It doesn't mean only to talk about the significance of the Torah, but it means to embody the Torah before you. I think that's what Jesus does. Well, let's look at the difference between two kinds of leadership. On the left, you have the role of godly leaders, and on the right you'll have the lower role. You notice right off the bat the relative size of the community in the heads of the people. Where people have a twisted view of leadership, they have a tiny view of the community.


[00:50:27] Here is a godly leader. Notice the shape of the leader is exactly the shape of the community. He is a microcosm of the community. This is a godly leader. Yes, she's at the top, but not for his sake. He's there that the world may look at him and say, that's what I want to be like. The other one. This is the ungodly leader. Notice the triangle is bigger because they have a higher view of themselves and it's tipped over and this is totally unstable. It doesn't help anybody. This is a problem. The role of the ungodly leader. Well, Deuteronomy 17 is not only Moses Charter for kingship. It's Moses paradigm for leadership in the community of faith. May we be those kinds of leaders for the glory of God.