In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, Moses foresees the day when the Israelites would want to be like other nations and have a king. While God's original plan was that He alone would be Israel's king, God was sensitive to Israel's desire for a human king (see 1 Samuel 8).
So Moses describes the requirements that this future king would need to meet. Other than the requirement that the king be an Israelite, Moses identifies 3 traps that those who lead God's people must avoid:
1. Don't be power hungry (represented by how the king must not accumulate great numbers of horses for himself - v16).
2. Don't be girl crazy (or boy crazy for women leaders) (represented by how the king must not accumulate many wives for himself - v17a)
3. Don't be money greedy (represented by how the king must not accumulate much silver and gold for himself - v17b)
It's no surprise that these 3 things -- being power hungry, girl crazy, and money greedy -- are the 3 traps that will usually be a leader's downfall.
Which trap are you most vulnerable to? Whichever one we struggle with, we must identify it, recognize it as a trap and a distraction from God's calling, and ask God for help to overcome it.
3 Ways to Grow Spiritually
Deuteronomy 17:14-20 is also a powerful and important passage on discipleship (i.e. on how to grow your relationship with God and become Christ-like disciples). Moses identifies 3 things that the king must do, and these are the same 3 things you and I must do to grow spiritually.
1. Copy down God's Word and take notes.
The first thing the king must do when he takes the throne is not to throw a party or hold a meeting, but to write down a copy of the law for himself (v18). Why? It's because by writing down the law with his hand, it helps him get the law into his heart.
In the same way, whenever you read the Bible, listen to a sermon or sit in a small group discussion, take notes. I find that when I have a pen in my hand or the notes app open on my phone as I'm reading the Bible or listening to a sermon, I always take something with me from the Word of God.
Do you take notes in service, small group and your GAME time? Even if you never look at those notes again, taking notes helps you to listen, process and remember the Scripture you're hearing and talking about.
2. Carry God's Word with you.
Verse 19a says that God's law "is to be with him". In other words, the king is to keep God's Word close to him physically. Why? It's because the closer something is to you physically the more you'll be inclined to access it and think about it. What you carry with you physically reflects what's most important to you.
That's why I encourage you to bring your Bible to church and small group. Don't rely on your neighbour to bring their Bible or the multimedia team to show the Scripture passage on the screen. When a Scripture passage is being talked about, open it up in your own Bible.
When you're standing in line or waiting for an appointment, open up your Bible. You can redeem a lot of time if you carry a Bible close to you wherever you go.
3. Read God's Word every day.
Verse 19b says the king " is to read it all the days of his life". Why read God's Word every day? It's not just to accumulate knowledge. More importantly, it's "so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God" (v19b) and "not consider himself better than his brothers" (v20). In other words, reading God's Word is not so much for the head as it is for the heart. It's to keep our hearts soft toward God and humble toward people.
Question: do you read God's Word every day?
If you want to grow deeper and stronger spiritually, start doing these 3 practical things now:
1. take notes during the sermon
2. bring your Bible to church, small group and wherever you go. Make the most of every opportunity to open it up and look at it.
3. read your Bible every day, not just for head knowledge, but to keep your heart soft toward God.