After several centuries of being ruled by judges during their initial years in Canaan, the Israelites demanded a new form of government. They wanted to be ruled by a king. The Prophet Samuel warned the people of what it would be like to have a king rule over them, however, the people insisted on a king.
“Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, ‘No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.’” I Samuel 8:19-20
Several hundred years earlier when Moses was reviewing God’s instructions to the Israelites prior to entering Canaan, he prophesied that the day would come when they would want a king. At that time Moses spelled out God’s qualifications for the king.
“When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.” Deuteronomy 17:14-15
The initial qualifications were quite basic, i.e., the king would actually be God’s choice. Further qualifications for the king included that he would be an Israelite with the same heritage, religion, culture, and ideology as the Children of Israel.
Additionally, the future king would neither seek personal wealth at the expense of his kingdom nor repeat past mistakes.
“But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt…for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’… nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.” Deuteronomy 17:16-17
And then Moses expounded on what the king must do in order to be successful.
“Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites… and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom…” Deuteronomy 17:18-20
Firstly it is noted that the king would have a copy of the same law that the judges and officers were to use in administering the affairs of the people. God’s law was to define the king’s ideology and establish his priorities. He was instructed to observe ‘all the words of the law’. The copy of the law was to be more than just a book on which the king would place his hand when being sworn in to office; it was meant to be the guide for all decisions. The consequences of not obeying the law would result in pride, i.e., the king would believe his personal attributes were the reasons for his position.
History revealed Israel’s first king Saul was established to teach Israel a lesson. Saul was subsequently deposed because he disobeyed God’s word. Recall the Prophet Samuel’s words to Saul:
“…for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.” I Samuel 15:26
As previously reported the Bible confirms the guidelines for America today are the same guidelines for Israel in the past.
Recently President Obama stated that Jerusalem’s status should be determined by future negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel. The presidential contender, however, believes that Jerusalem is the permanent capital of Israel.
During this election season a major question is whether the Christian incumbent and his ideologies will prevail over the Mormon challenger. The real question is, “Who has God already chosen, and why”?