Appointing a King
by Mary Kate Hipp
Our reading from today comes from Deuteronomy, where we find many of the laws and customs the Lord lays out for the Israelites. The Lord recognizes that His people will want a king and lays out how a king ought to rule and orient his life. We know from other accounts in the Old Testament that Israel does demand kings and many of those kings fall short. In the Ancient Near East, there were a plethora of kings and kingdoms all with their own rules and codes for ruling. In many ways, these other kings and the Israelite kings were very similar. What distinguishes the Israelite kings though is their expectation to dwell in the Word. Though we may not be literal kings, ruling over the nation of Israel, Scripture tells us that through Jesus Christ, we are all a part of the kingdom of God. So, may we take these royal instructions to heart!
Verses 18 through 20 declare that when a king takes his throne, he is to hand copy the Word of the Lord and read it every day so that he may not stray from the Lord. Now most of the kings of Israel did not do this. In fact, the scrolls of Scripture were lost entirely for a period of Israelite history. Nevertheless, the expectation for the king was to know the Word of the Lord forward and backward.
Throughout school, my main method of studying was to write and rewrite my notes over and over and over and over. I had to write it to retain it. This may seem tedious and like a waste of time, but this method never failed me (literally). In fact, in my "inductive study of the bible" course in college, my professor challenged us to take up the scripture engagement method of hand copying 1 John for the semester. Turns out that my studying method also worked to imprint the Word of the Lord on my heart! Hmmm...it is almost like the Lord was on to something in Deuteronomy 17:18-20! Now this passage is certainly not saying that we all must hand copy Scripture and that is the only way we can dwell in the Word. I do believe though that it urges us, as ambassadors, to engage with Scripture, that no matter what we must bind the Truth on our hearts. When our eyes are set on the Lord, when our hearts are aligned with His Word, Scripture tells us we lack nothing.
On the topic of Scripture engagement, famous theologian Charles Spurgeon once said, "Visit many good books, but live in the Bible." As you go about your day as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, remember this: We are called to live by Scripture, to have it imprinted on our hearts. Through engaging with Scripture, we are in communion with the Lord. How beautiful is it that our God communicated with us through His Word back then and He communicates with us through His Word now!
Today I challenge you to hand-copy this passage (or any other passage). As you do, pause after writing each sentence, reread it, and offer a prayer to the Lord. Praise the Lord that we can engage with Him through Scripture. Praise Him that we have access to His Word.
For more Scripture engagement tools visit https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/scripture-engagement/