As God anticipated, the people of Israel would one day ask for a king. God spoke this prophecy by Moses in Deuteronomy 17:18-20. One of the most notable commands, and the one that Moses centers on in this passage, was the responsibility of each king of God’s people to make his own copy of the scriptures. Here is what he was responsible for:
- He was to write for himself a copy. In the simple act of copying word for word all of the commandments, statutes, precepts, and laws of God was a humbling reminder that if he held to them, he and his kingdom would be blessed. If he forgot, neglected, or disobeyed, the curses of God’s word would come upon him and upon the people he ruled (Deut. 28-29).
- He was to cherish it. It was to be with him at all times (Deut. 17:19). The law of God is described as a counselor and a confidence. As the king had God as his Advisor and guide, he could absolutely know he was standing on solid ground.
- He was to read it (Deut. 17:19). The specific purpose was so that he could “learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes.” What the mind repeats, the mind retains. As the king was commanded to do this all his life, it was for his good.
- He was to do this so his heart not be lifted up (Deut. 17:20). Repeatedly in the chronicles of Israel, there were kings who suffered different fates precisely for that reason…their hearts were lifted up! Pride is a danger for all of us and the kings of Israel should have known that better than most!
If God wanted His king to treasure His word for the good of His people, how much more the people who Christ has made “kings and priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:5)!