Today’s reading underscores the importance of daily Bible reading.
We are introduced to THE LAW REGARDING KINGS.
Moses predicts the time when Israel will give in to “King Envy”. During the time of the prophet Samuel the people of the covenant preferred to have a king like all the nations around them, rather than the King of the Universe.
Here again we have an example of there being both a “will of command” and a “permissive will” in the sovereign will of God.
God had expressed His desire for a covenant relationship with Israel in which He would be their God and they would be His people. He was to reign over them in all things, but they rejected His will (see Micah 4:9).
God’s “permissive will” is based on what is foreknown of their future rejection of His “will of command” pertaining to kings, which will come to pass in the time of the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 8).
Therefore, in Deuteronomy 17 God gives laws that will help Israel to see that His original plan for the Kingdom of God will not be thwarted by their disobedience (Deut 17:15-17).
In this section of Deuteronomy, Moses is given laws for the Anointed offices of “King” (Deut 17:14-20), “Priest” (Deut 18:1-12), and “Prophet” (Deut 18:14-27). These three offices will be combined in the Messiah, the Anointed One, who will restore the kingdom of God to man.
According to the law, the King should have the Word with Him always (Deut 17:19). This prophetic picture will be fulfilled in the One who embodies the Word, and has the Word with Him at all times, the Word made flesh (John 1:14-18).
The Priest will stand and minister in the LORD’S name ALWAYS (Deut 18:5). This prophecy is fulfilled by Jesus whose ministry is not limited to a number of days because He ministers in the power of an incorruptible, indestructible, endless life (Heb 7:3,17).
The Prophet will be one to whom all are to listen and to whom ALL will one day be held accountable (Deut 18:19; Heb 1:1-3; John 5:25-30). The New Testament will make clear, with the witness of God the Father Himself, how Jesus is the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:15-19, the prophet like unto Moses to Whom all are commanded to listen! (Matthew 17:5).
“Behold a voice out of the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!” Matthew 17:5 (NASB)
THE KING AND THE WORD
The King is commanded to write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll. This was not something as easy as pressing a “print” command on a computer! He is commanded to read it all the days of His life (Deut 17:19). This was not a command for the priest, but for the head of state, the king!
The five stated benefits for this daily intake of God’s written word were:
That he may learn to fear the LORD his God (a heart of worship)
That he might put into practice all the words of this law and these statutes (a heart of obedience)
That his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen (a heart of humility)
That he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left (a heart of discernment)
That he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel (a heart of peaceful assurance)
There is a great benefit to reading the Word, hearing the Word, writing the Word, meditating upon it, discussing it and practicing it with fresh obedience.
The priests were to hold the king accountable for writing a copy of the word, having it with him, and reading it all the days of His life (Deut 17:18).
A future king, David, wrote in the Psalms:
11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You. Psalm 119:11 (NASB).
Later we will see how King David, Solomon, and others failed to keep the law of kings. There is a king who takes these laws to heart. The King of kings, Jesus Christ will fulfill the law of kings perfectly.
Our reading today in Psalm 72 relates well to the subject of the king’s relationship to the Word of God:
1 Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king’s son. 2 May he judge Your people with righteousness And Your afflicted with justice.
Psalm 72:1-2 (NASB)
Other highlights from today’s reading in the Old Testament are:
GOD’S COMMAND TO CELEBRATE JOYFULLY
God wants to have His children joyful. And we need to know where our joy comes from. The Feasts of the Lord remind us of this.
The three seasons of celebration highlighting three great reasons for rejoicing.
The Spring Festivals– (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First-fruits) the finished work of Christ
The Harvest Festival (Pentecost)- the gift of the Holy Spirit
The Autumn Festivals (Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles) – our blessed hope, the second coming of Christ
These feasts are designed to prompt their memory with the joys of their experience of redemption, provision and a divinely ordained destiny, a hope and a future.
Our joy comes from the One who purged us from the leaven of Adam’s sin and was sacrificed as our Passover.
7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 1 Corinthians 5:7 (NASB)
Jesus was raised from the dead on the day after the Sabbath that followed the Passover, the Feast of the First-fruits
Our joy comes from the Holy Spirit. We rejoice that our salvation is mediated to us by the Holy Spirit. He regenerates us, sanctifies us and when that sanctification is completed at the return of Christ, will glorify us.
The Feast of Pentecost is Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, coming 7 weeks (a week of weeks) or 49 days after the Feast of First fruits (Resurrection Sunday). It was a celebration of the ingathering of the early barley harvest, the first fruit of what was sown in the earth. (Deut 16:10-11; 1 Cor 15:20). We died in Adam. We are risen in Christ!
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 1 Corinthians 15:20-21 (NIV)
Shavuot also commemorated the giving of the Law at Sinai and the laws to leave crops for the poor and foreigners (Gentiles). How fitting that the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost to write the law of God on our hearts and to extend the gospel to the nations.
Our joy comes from the Father who has ordained a plan for redemption, a new creation and glorious consummation. THE AUTUMN FESTIVALS- give us reason to rejoice in the hope of the gospel- the second coming of Christ- the Feast of Trumpets (the summoning of the saints to reign with Christ), the Day of Atonement (the appearance of the Lamb who was slain to satisfy the claims of Justice and God’s heart of mercy), and the Feast of Tabernacles (Rev 21:3).
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, Revelation 21:3 (NASB)
THE PLACE THAT THE LORD CHOOSES
It is important again to note the repetition of the phrase “in the place the LORD your God chooses”. We have already learned that this phrase points to Christ crucified, risen and glorified.
It is important to remember that YAHWEH JIRAH was a name given to a geographical place. It is not specifically the name of God, but a place named by God which contains His Name. It was the place of the altar where the father (Abraham) would place his son (Isaac) as a self-sacrificial offering of obedience given in faith of God’s power to raise him from the dead in order to fulfill his promise to bring forth a nation (Gen 22:1-14).
It is ‘the place of which God had told him’ (Gen 22:9). It is the place where “God Himself will provide the lamb” (Genesis 22:8).
God speaks to Abraham of “one of the mountains of which I will tell you” (Genesis 22:3). Throughout the Bible, God tells of this mountain. The place where Abraham offered Isaac, from that time named, “Yahweh Jireh” is the same place that David purchased for the temple, the threshing floor of Araunah (2 Sam 24). It is the same place where God Himself would provide the sacrifice of His Son upon the altar, as Jesus is crucified on Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, on Mt. Calvary (pictured here).
“The place the Lord would choose to establish His Name” (Deut 16:5, 11) would be on the mountains of Moriah. ‘Moriah’ literally means, ‘seen of God’. We might translate it, “center stage”. God has the gospel on “center stage” throughout the Bible. It is there that we learn of Jesus Christ and His cross and the gift of the Holy Spirit given at Jerusalem, the city on the hill. It is there that Jesus Christ will return as the trumpet sounds, as Israel looks upon the one who was pierced and repents (Zech 12:10). It is there that Jesus will establish His kingdom.
In 628 BC when Josiah discovered the Book of Deuteronomy and read these passages, he was convicted of his sin. In deep repentance he put into practice these laws (2 Kings 23:1-25).
King Josiah called for the celebration of the Passover in his eighteenth year of rule.
22 Surely such a Passover had not been celebrated from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the LORD in Jerusalem. 2 Kings 23:22-23 (NASB)
25 Before him there was no king like him who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him. 2 Kings 23:25 (NASB)
THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
The laws of God call for justice. People are to be guaranteed a fair trial with established witnesses with testimonies determined to be reliable. No one is to be put to death on the evidence of only a single witness (Deut. 17:6).
To help ensure that correct verdicts are rendered, appeals can be made to the appointed Levitical priest or judge.
The terms of the verdict are to be declared “from the place which the Lord chooses”. We should seek to reflect the mind of God’s chosen One, the Lord Jesus, in all our decisions.
NEW TESTAMENT READING: Luke 9:7-27
Jesus was becoming a hot topic of discussion, even in palaces. Herod the tetrarch was concerned that he had another John the Baptist on his hands, and made efforts to see Him (Luke 9:9).
Jesus continues to preach about the kingdom of God and fulfills the Messianic prophecies by curing those who had need of healing.
Once again, they are faced with the problem of what to do with the crowd, who by this time, late in the afternoon, would be needing food and perhaps lodging (9:12).
Jesus challenges the disciples to give the people something to eat (9:13). Other gospel accounts bring out that Jesus already knew what He was going to do, but was testing the disciples. They took into account what food was at hand (5 loaves and 2 fish) and what was in the treasury (200 denarii). But they knew it was insufficient to feed 5000 men plus women and children.
Jesus takes the existing supply of 5 loaves and 2 fish and he looks to heaven, he blesses them with thanksgiving and breaks them. A previously non-existent supply is created. God has a way to meet the need- Christ. It makes no difference the amount of people in the crowd, money in the kitty, or food at hand. Obey Christ and the will of God will be done.
The seating of the crowds in groups of fifty remind us of Pentecost and communities of the Holy Spirit. God has a plan to meet our needs. And that plan is to gather us into local churches where His miraculous provisions can be administered if we adopt a position of rest- seated in smaller companies- assured of our position in Christ and our provisions coming from His hand.
Satisfaction is the result felt by all. There is even enough left over for ‘take home’ bags for each of the twelve disciples!
JESUS PREDICTS HIS DEATH, RESURRECTION, OUR EXPERIENCE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND A PERSONAL CROSS.
The turning point in the ministry of Jesus takes place at Caesarea Philippi (Luke 9:18-27; Matthew 16:13-28; Mark 8:27-38). The Father gives His disciples more revelation as to Jesus being the Christ, the Anointed King, Priest, and Prophet, the Son of the Living God (Luke 9:20). Jesus postpones all “Go and tell” commands till after His resurrection. The disciples hear about the cross, but they were not able to understand it (Luke 9:22).
How true that is in our lives. Until the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of our heart’s understanding, we cannot begin to comprehend the cross or the kingdom of God.
Jesus gives this statement that underscores the fact that it is only through identification with Christ and His finished work on the cross, accepting our death in His, that we can have life.
We must relinquish our old life in Adam with its insistence on self-redemption, self-advancement, self, self, self. If we attempt to preserve this life, we will lose out on real life, which is fellowship with God.
23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25 For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?”
Luke 9:23-25 (NASB)
Jesus says that there are some among the hearers who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God. Jesus is pointing to the experience of regeneration by the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to “see” and “enter” the kingdom of God (John 3:3,5).
READING FROM PSALMS Psalm 72:1-20;
Psalm 72 concludes the Second Book of Psalms with verse 20, “The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.” (Book 1- Psalm 1-Psalm 41; Book 2- Psalm 42-71) The Psalm looks beyond the Son of David, Solomon, to the Greater Son of David, Jesus Christ, “who will Judge His people in righteousness” (Psalm 72:2).
The apostles proclaimed that the resurrection of Jesus Christ singled Jesus out as The One who will judge the world in righteousness:
Acts 17:30-31 (NASB) 30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
Mountains and hills are symbols of government. “May your mountains bring peace”. The kingdom of God is first established in righteousness (through the cross) and then brings peace (first to the heart). His salvation crushes the oppressors of the afflicted (the world, the flesh and the devil).
Verse 11 describes this king as the King of all Kings. “And let all kings bow down before him, all nations serve him.”
His reign is one of compassion (v.12-14). And He will both be blessed and bring blessing (v15-16).
The Psalm closes with a wonderful doxology (v.17-19).
Psalm 72:19 (NASB) 19 And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen.
READING FROM PROVERBS
Proverbs 12:8-9 (NASB) 8 A man will be praised according to his insight, but one of perverse mind will be despised. 9 Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant than he who honors himself and lacks bread.
“The Message” paraphrase is helpful: “A person who talks sense is honored; airheads are held in contempt. 9 Better to be ordinary and work for a living than act important and starve in the process.”
PRAY FOR THE NATIONS- CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Area: 622,436 sq. km
The Central African Republic is a landlocked state in Africa’s geographical center. There is variation of terrain from tropical forest in the southwest to semi-desert in the northeast.
Population: 4,505,945 Annual Growth: 1.90%
Official language: French and Sango (the trade language used by most of the population) Languages: 82
Answer to Prayer
Solid foundations are laid for developing a national-level strategy for mission and evangelism that spans denominational and organizational lines. The potential for massive church growth and consolidation exists; there is a growing interest among the churches for evangelism to unreached people groups.
Challenge for Prayer
The physical human needs of CAR are immense. The seemingly endless series of coups and counter-coups devastated the economy and infrastructure. Pray for the following needs:
- a) Peace and stability, particularly in the north and east. Constant uprisings and banditry grind down the already poor and blight the government’s efforts to restore the infrastructure. Anarchy continues to reign in the north of the country, and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes in the past few years. Pray that banditry and chaos might not prevail, and that a strong and just central government can establish peace throughout the country.
- b) The economy. The nation, although blessed with vast mineral resources, is weak economically. Pray that the government might bring to bear a wise hand in increasing wealth that enriches the entire nation and not just a privileged few.
- c) Pray for the emergence of employment opportunities for the many without work. Pray for the emergence of Christian businessmen who will be agents of transformation in the economic and spiritual spheres.
- d) CAR is another nation increasingly devastated by AIDS; HIV rates peaked at 15% of the adult population infected, although now reduced to 6%. Life expectancy is dropping year by year. Pray for programs and ministries to combat not only HIV/AIDS but also diseases that come about from malnourishment, lack of clean water, faulty hygiene and poverty.
PRAYER: Lord God, King of the Universe, we give thanks for graciously making yourself known through our Servant King, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him we see the kingdom of God manifested. Through Him we have access into the Kingdom and by Your Spirit we enter it and cooperate with Your rule. May the law of kings be lived out in us by the power of the Spirit. Lord Jesus, we confess, You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Thank You for taking up the cross and being obedient even to laying Your life down to pay our sin-debt. Our prayer is that the whole earth be filled with and submitted to Your glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. (Colossians 1:28, J.B. Phillips paraphrase)
New Life Community Church, Concord, MA 10742