FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9
SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 17
BY: Josh Boles
Just in case you need a refresher, the primary purpose of Deuteronomy is to prepare the Israelite people to enter into the promised land. It has been a long, long journey in the wilderness and Moses is doing everything in his power to ensure that the Israelite nation actually makes it this time, even though he will not be allowed in.
A lot of what Moses has talked about up to this point has concerned Israelites past, and dealt with how they should worship, and not worship. This chapter is a bit unique in the midst of all of this. In this chapter Moses gets into qualifications for governing officials. It has been a long time since Israel has had to have an actual government, because they have not had much to govern.
When the nation of Israel was enslaved in the land of Egypt there governing system was very minimal. To that point, all they had were a few Elders as you can see in Exodus 3:18. In the wilderness years things were a bit different, but they still did not have a complex governing system. Moses had tribal officers who helped him make decisions. Also, each tribe of Israel had a leader, as well as about 70 elders who helped Moses oversee the spiritual realm.
This basic organization was sufficient for the wilderness days, for the nation of Israel was basically a nomadic nation at this point. The fact is however, this way of governing would not cut it once the Israelite people had their own land, and infrastructures once again. For starters, Moses would no longer be with them to give them these pep talks and to help them understand the Law of God. Also, each of the twelve tribes of Israel would live in their own designated land. They would no longer live in one place all together. They would once again establish themselves as a great nation, so there must be a better way to govern.
As you read through Deuteronomy 17 you will begin to see these qualifications. We see the qualifications for competent judges in the end of 16 and the beginning of 17. They should have Godly character, devotion to God and have the wisdom of God. Next in 14-20 we see the qualifications for Godly kings.
Most of this chapter is very informative, but there certainly is spiritual application for us. It is no coincidence that we get to talk about government just a few days after a major election. If we take an honest look at our system it is clear there is division all around us. We have big problems, so what is our answer to that?
For me, my answer is always to run as far away from anything political, and I believe the Lord has convicted me of that today. I am not saying that I wish to be a political person, because I do not wish to be. I do think however, that Christ followers should be involved. We should vote, and we should let our voices be heard, just not in an arrogant, or angry way. After all everything we do, we are to do it for the Lord, out of love and respect.
In the book of Romans, chapter 13 we read that the authority for government comes from God and that those who serve in public offices are ministers of God and accountable to Him. I think this statement changes our involvement in politics. It is very clear that not all, or even most, elected officials do what they do for the Lord, but it is Him who they are accountable too, not us. How does this change our involvement? Just like any other aspect of our faith, it should bring us to our knees in prayer for ALL of our leaders and our nation. Our position should never be that of chastisement and slander but of love and prayer.