Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Hear and Obey

'When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite.

The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.

When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.' Deuteronomy 17

This is a spectacular passage of Scripture.

 It is a passage for the church today.

 God instructs the people of Israel that if they want to set a king over them like the nations around them here is what the king should look like. He is to be one of them to keep them as a distinct and peculiar people that they may continue to show the nations what it looks like to worship YHWH.

The king is not to build a great army and seek revenge.

The king is not to be full of lust for many woman.

The king is not to desire great wealth. 

In other words the king is not to be full of violence and greed. Most peculiar for a king.

This is a foretaste of what the One True King looks like, YHWH made flesh, Jesus Christ.

So what is the king called to do then? Meditate on God's law.

That is his calling. Read it. Hear it. Obey it. Worship God.

The same is true for the church.

In the midst of endless conferences, entertainment, 'relevant'services, God calls the church to meditate on His word that we might hear and obey the Word made flesh. Too many of our churches neglect the public reading of Scripture. We might read out a couple of verses for the sermon, but that is often it. We need to read great chunks of Scripture out in our worship together so that God would shape us through it, by His Spirit rather than us trying to shape Scripture according to our favourite topics and trying to be 'relevant'.

The Gospel quite simply is relevant and God will do what God does. By allowing Scripture to be heard we can then hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. When we ask 'what do you want us to do God?' We can reply, with Israel, 'Do whatever you see YHWH doing.' Or as Jesus said, 'I only do what I see my Father doing.' Scripture enables this to happen for the church.

May the King of Kings, YHWH made flesh, Jesus the Word of God, speak to us by His Spirit as we hear and meditate on Scripture. And may we obey His voice. Amen.

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