In Deuteronomy chapter seventeen God gives some instructions for the children of Israel as they move into the promised land. Of interest to us in this article are the instructions God gave to them for their king to follow.
God did not intend for king's to appoint themselves through clever self promotion and political positioning.
- That God would choose who got to be "in charge" a.k.a. "king"
An individual that comes from within a group to prominence in that group is much more likely to be rooted in the same soil as and compassionate toward those who were once his peers. With this perspective toward them, he will be less likely to use them as tinder to be burnt in fueling his pride and ambition.
- That the "king" or in our case "leader" would come from among "thy brethren"
Often in ministry as well as business, the accumulation of programs, facilities, and staff can lead to financial slavery or alternatively, can direct our hearts away from God and toward pride in that which we accomplish and accumulate. This is the path back to Egypt.
- That multiplication of anything that brings one into slavery or directs the leader's heart away from God is prohibited
Understanding and walking in the truth that we are under the authority of an Almighty God keeps our methods and motives in focus.
The Bible, of course, is the playbook of the Christian and is of "no private interpretation". The leader who has his own "spin" on everything very soon will find himself "spinning" all alone.
- That reading out of (and working out of) the same playbook as those you are leading is essential
- That possession of, studious study of, and adherence to the Bible teaches the king/leader to "fear God"
In the end, God told Israel that if their king followed these instructions he would "prolong his days in his kingdom" and that there would be a place for his children to follow him in leadership positions. Too many leaders inside and outside of the church have shortened their tenure in their position through pride. They and their children then are forced to deal with the consequences. May we follow these simple guidelines and put to death each day our own carnal pride. Only then will we reach our full potential as leaders in the will of God.
- That obedience to what is written in Scripture (not what we read into Scripture or take out of context to apply to our situation) will keep us "grounded" and not proudly perched above others as the "arbiter of truth"
Deuteronomy 17:14-20 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.