Bible reading for June 12.
"And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them..." (Deuteronomy 17:18-19)
NATIONAL LEADERSHIP. [This topic begins in 16:18.] The priests, judges, and kings were expected to rule with justice according to God's law. Abominations (highly offensive things), such as idolatry, witchcraft, and sexual sins were to be purged from the land. Blemished sacrifices were also considered an abomination (v 1; cf Mal 1:6-8). The leaders were called to act with integrity. Moses speaks of a future king (vv 14-20) and some have felt this contradicts 1 Samuel 8, where the people asking for a king were viewed as rejecting God. Yet there we see the request for a king is coming from wrong motives (1 Sam 8:5, 20), that is, to be like other nations. It was always God's plan to raise up a king from the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10), which would eventually result in the reign of Messiah (Isa 9).
ACCOUNTABILITY. Lex, Rex was a book written by Scottish Presbyterian minister Samuel Rutherford in 1644, subtitled "The Law and the Prince". It opposed the absolute right of monarchs and paved the way for constitutional republics in the years that have followed. All rulers were themselves to be submitted to a law higher than themselves. The king of Israel was to be a student of, and submitted to, Scripture (vv 18-20). The tragic irony is that western democracies have largely rejected any higher law -- or any absolute other than human will, conscience, or preference. So now we are faced with either chaos (Deut 12:8; Judges 17:6; 21:25) or totalitarianism, as brute power rather than truth will rule the masses. The Bible teaches that there is no authority in this life that is absolute, except that of God. All people, and all earthly authorities, are accountable to God's standards.
TAKEAWAY. With these truths in mind, how should we pray for our nation today?
"O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." (Psalm 104:24)
GOD'S CREATION. The previous psalm (103) is a song of praise for the many blessings that we have from the Lord. Its focus is upon redemption. Psalm 104 is a song of praise for God and his creation. It is a beautifully poetic description of the Lord's care for all his creatures. Leviathan (v 26) refers to some large sea creature, perhaps a whale. See Constable's notes in the NET Bible. We may think of the Holy Spirit's ministry to be solely restricted to God's people, but here we see, like in Genesis 1:2, that it is God's Spirit who gives life and breath to all creation (vv 29-30). This does not mean that the Holy Spirit indwells creation or sanctifies animals, but it does mean that creation and redemption alike come from one God, and we are all dependent upon him for life.
TAKEAWAY. Do I praise God for his creation, and thank him for his wise providence over all? How should this affect our stewardship over creation and over the environment?
Image credit: photo of a whale mother and calf near Maui, by guille pozzi on Unsplash.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The NET Bible is a free, online resource, and a ministry of bible.org.