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Deuteronomy 17




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.

Posted by Josh Boles with

Deuteronomy 16





SCRIPTURE:  Deuteronomy 16

BY: Jeremy Witt

This chapter deals with three holidays or festivals that the LORD calls for the people to celebrate.  The first is the Passover in verses 1-8, the second is the Festival of Harvest in verses 9-12, and the Festival of Shelters in verses 13-17.  The last three verses deal with leading and governing the nation.

The Passover is a celebration to remember how the LORD led the people out of bondage in Egypt.  It was to be set in the spring each year.  This was a celebration that also required a sacrifice in a specific place set aside by the LORD.  This was so that the people would follow God’s instructions and to prove their obedience.  If they celebrated wherever they wished, they would be like their neighbors who sacrificed (worshipped) in a variety of ways.  God desired His people to be different and to do things according to His ways and not their own.  The components of the Passover meal required a sacrifice and every component of the meal would remind the Israelites of their time in Egypt and how God led them out of that land.  Notice the lack of yeast, and remember how Jesus would use yeast as references to bad things in the New Testament.  (For those of you who would wish to dig deeper, you should investigate yeast and its references in Scripture.)

The Festival of Harvests or Festival of Weeks required a freewill offering to the LORD from the harvest 7 weeks from the beginning of harvest.  Notice in verse 11 how it was meant to be celebrated as a family and with any servants as well.

In verses 13-17 we come to the Festival of Booths 7 days after the harvest of wheat and grapes are gathered.  This celebration was for 7 days and also done as a family and all servants as well. 

Verse 16 calls for all males to come before the LORD and bring an offering with them as he is able.  This was a way to give back to the LORD but also to remind the men who they are serving.  As a man, we can easily become focused on our work and neglect who blessed us, who equipped us, and who leads us.  This was a way for men to be reminded that they must submit to God and give back to Him.  I would call it a perspective reminder or a way to refocus from being consumed with self.  

These last few verses do not seem to fit into this chapter.  We have been instructed on three holiday celebrations and suddenly we are shifted to ruling the people.  What would God be saying this here?  Just my thoughts here, but in the midst of celebrations we can lose focus, control, or even time at some points.  We need people in positions of authority to keep us centered, but they need to be people of honesty, integrity, and trust.  Ironically, we just voted Tuesday, and I pray we have people in office who fit this mold.  The instructions in these verses call for honesty and not partiality.  People who seek to meet the needs of the greater good rather than their friends, family, self, or political party.  Leaders need to be wise to stay above the bribery and corruption, but need to be able to stay above it all.  But not only this, but spiritually to follow after the LORD and His commands and not follow the ways of the world. (the asherah pole and sacred pillars)

Let’s remember our context as well.  Moses is telling the people what to do when they get into the Promised Land.  God has given him the words to protect them from the upcoming dangers.  If they (we) will trust God and follow His instructions then they will be succeed. 

Something to think about.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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