Rather than ask Samuel (who had been judge over Israel) to find some honest helpers after his two eldest sons turned out to be untrustworthy, the people asked for a king “like all the other nations” (I Samuel 8:4b, NLT). Samuel consulted the Lord about this and God told him, “Do everything they say to you, for it is Me they are rejecting, not you” (I Samuel 8:7, NLT).
God, being all-knowing, had long before spoken to Moses and told him to tell the people: “‘You are about to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you take it over and settle there, you may think, ‘We should select a king to rule over us like the other nations around us.’ If this happens, be sure to select as king the man the Lord your God chooses’” (Deuteronomy 17:14-15a).
The Lord also gave Moses specific instructions about how a king was to conduct himself: “The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord. And he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself’” (Deuteronomy 17:17). As we saw yesterday in only two examples, these two commands were certainly not upheld. But these are minor infractions compared to what else they neglected:
“When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).
If you look over in Second Chronicles 34, you’ll see what took place during the early years of young King Josiah. When he ordered the restoration of the Temple, “Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord that was written by Moses” (II Chronicles 34:14b). The Law of the Lord had been neglected for so long that neither the priests nor the people even knew where it was!
Reminds me of the Bibles that gather dust in people’s closets. Or book shelves. Or stay in the car from Sunday to Sunday.
God Himself told Moses to make sure the king kept a “copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives.” Do you read your Bible daily? If you do, it shows. If you don’t, that also shows.
Regularly spending time in the Word of God helps the believer to “learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying.” Matter of fact, regular reading “will prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way.” And as to “his descendants,” they’ll have a genuine example of faithfulness set before them.
Nothing in this life guarantees that your children or grandchildren will stay on the right pathway even if you’re fully faithful to the Lord; but your consistently God-centered example will: (A) give them a good one to follow; (B) free you of guilt should they make the wrong choices; and (C) fill you with peace, hope, and encouragement as you wait for your prodigals to turn to Jesus.
“When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy.” (Corrie Ten Boom)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates