INTERESTING FACTS : "SOME PEOPLE LIKE TO READ SO MANY [BIBLE] CHAPTERS EVERY DAY. I WOULD NOT DISSUADE THEM FROM THE PRACTICE, BUT I WOULD RATHER LAY MY SOUL SOAK IN HALF A DOZEN VERSES ALL DAY THAN RINSE MY HAND IN SEVERAL CHAPTERS. OH, TO BE BATHED IN A TEXT OF SCRIPTURE, AND TO LET IT BE SUCKED UP IN YOUR VERY SOUL, TILL IT SATURATES YOUR HEART!" --CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON
DAILY READING : DEUTERONOMY 14 - 16; 17 - 20
TEXT : Deu 18:15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; Deu 18:16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. Deu 18:17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. Deu 18:18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. Deu 18:19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
THEME : THE MESSIAH
We continue to read instruction upon instruction as we examine the Book of Deuteronomy. Israel is given thorough exhortation so they will not depart from the Lord which, in the course of time they do. One interesting appeal given to Israel is on the subject of asking for and appointing a man to be king over them. Again, we see the prophetic nature of the Bible as God tells Moses that they will ask for a king to rule them - having tired of God's theocratic reign and government, wanting to be "like the nations around them." This is always an evil indication for God's people. That is, when we get our eyes off God and look to join the world to the Church. Remember, compromise with the world is always bad for the Church. It rarely affects the world one way or another, but always affects the Church negatively.
Still, God gives the details of what their king can and cannot do. Again, a fascinating observation when you examine the instructions concerning a king is that Solomon - the third king of Israel, does exactly what God said not to do. No doubt he knew the command of God written here.
Deu 17:14 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; Deu 17:15 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. Deu 17:16 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. Deu 17:17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. Deu 17:18 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: Deu 17:19 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 G od, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: Deu 17:20 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.
On this subject, Matthew Henry writes -
"God himself was in a particular manner Israel's King; and if they set another over them, it was necessary that he should choose the person. Accordingly, when the people desired a king, they applied to Samuel, a prophet of the Lord. In all cases, God's choice, if we can but know it, should direct, determine, and overrule ours. Laws are given for the prince that should be elected. He must carefully avoid every thing that would turn him from God and religion. Riches, honours, and pleasures, are three great hinderances of godliness, (the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life,) especially to those in high stations; against these the king is here warned. The king must carefully study the law of God, and make that his rule; and having a copy of the Scriptures of his own writing, must read therein all the days of his life. It is not enough to have Bibles, but we must use them, use them daily, as long as we live. Christ's scholars never learn above their Bibles, but will have constant occasion for them, till they come to that world where knowledge and love will be made perfect. The king's writing and reading were as nothing, if he did not practise what he wrote and read. And those who fear God and keep his commandments, will fare the better for it even in this world."
Solomon - except that he was not a foreigner, broke most of these commands of the Lord. Though exceptionally wise, he nonetheless turned his heart from the Lord in a most dramatic way. At the end of his life he writes in the Book of Ecclesiastes of the futility and emptiness of a life lived in sinful disobedience to God. "Vanity of vanity, all is vanity and vexation of spirit," he wrote. Solomon, a broken and depressed man led Israel astray as well as him self. For, after his son Jeroboam takes over the kingdom, it is hopelessly torn in two. More than that, for years to come the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, with the exception of a few kings, could hardly find any godly leadership at all. What a high price to pay for turning to the world's way of doing things! Such is what we find in the Church today. As the Church looks to the world around Her to emulate its ways, we are paying the high price of deception through disobedience to God's plain teaching in Scripture. The result is the lack of love, joy and peace etc. in the professors of Christianity. Instead we find a growing swell of anxiety and depression that is drowning us in its wake instead of the fruit of the Spirit. Indeed, what a high price to pay in desiring friendship with the world! Remember, we cannot serve two masters, and to be friends with the world is to be an enemy of God. [Matt. 6:24; James 4:4]
Israel, a much smaller nation in numbers than the nations around them is told not to fear the enemies they will fight. In most cases they will be outmanned and outnumbered. However, they will not be at a loss for victory over the powerful nations of Canaan. God will fight for them. Therefore, the priest is to announce before a battle the warriors of Israel must not let their hearts be faint or fear. Again, God guarantees the, victory because He is going to fight for Israel as we read below.
Deu 20:1 When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. Deu 20:2 And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, Deu 20:3 And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; Deu 20:4 For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
Concerning the specifics of warfare, Adam Clarke writes -
"Directions concerning campaigns, Deu_20:1. The priest shall encourage the people with the assurance that God will accompany and fight for them, Deu_20:2-4. The officers shalt dismiss from the army all who had just built a new house, but had not dedicated it, Deu_20:5. All who had planted a vineyard, but had not yet eaten of its fruits, Deu_20:6. All who had betrothed a wife, but had not brought her home, Deu_20:7. And all who were timid and faint-hearted, Deu_20:8. The commanders to be chosen after the timid, etc., had retired, Deu_20:9. No city to be attacked till they had proclaimed conditions of peace to it, provided it be a city beyond the bounds of the seven Canaanitish nations; if it submitted, it was to become tributary; if not, it was to be besieged, sacked, and all the males put to the sword; the women, children, and cattle to be taken as booty, Deu_20:10-15. No such offers to be made to the cities of the Canaanites; of them nothing shall be preserved, and the reason, Deu_20:16-18. In besieging a city no trees to be cut down but those which do not bear fruit, Deu_20:19, Deu_20:20."
Further, regarding the nature of Israel's wars, John Gill writes -
"There were two sorts of war the Israelites were engaged in, one commanded and another permitted, as Maimonides distinguishes; one was by the order and appointment of God, as against the seven nations of Canaan; the other was voluntary and arbitrary, which was left to their own discretion and will, as they saw fit, when they were provoked or distressed, or were invaded by their enemies, or they saw reason to go out against them, and either act the offensive or defensive part, or both;"
TRUTH FOR TODAY : CHRIST IS OUR PROPHET, PRIEST, AND KING!
In chapter eighteen, we read another prophecy. This one concerns the raising of a "Prophet," who would be similar to Moses. The Israelites were to listen and obey Him and they did Moses. This Prophet was singular in nature and distinguished from the prophets of God as we find throughout the Old Testament suc h as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, etc. This Prophet would usher in a New Covenant. Again, the people of Israel were to obey Him as they did Moses.
To illustrate that the Jews understood the meaning of this prophecy, we read of the Pharisees examination of John the Baptist in John chapter one. "And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No." "And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?" [John 1:21; 25] The expression "that prophet," refers to this passage in Deuteronomy eighteen.
Although the leadership of the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah and "that prophet," the common people did not. This is demonstrated after Jesus divided the loaves and fishes. The people not only recognized Him as "that prophet," but immediately wanted him to be their king.
Joh 6:13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Joh 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. Joh 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
On the fact this prophet presented to Israel through Moses was also the Messiah, John Gill comments.
"The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet,.... Not Joshua, as Aben Ezra, not Jeremiah, as Baal Haturim, nor David (o), as others; nor a succession of prophets, as Jarchi; for a single person is only spoken of; and there is a dissimilitude between M oses and anyone of the prophets, and all of them in succession, Deu_34:10, but the Messiah, with whom the whole agrees; and upon this the expectation of a prophet among the Jews was raised, Joh_6:14 and is applied to him, and referred to as belonging to him in Act_3:22, who was a prophet mighty in word and deed, and not only foretold future events, as his own sufferings and death, and resurrection from the dead, the destruction of Jerusalem, and other things; but taught and instructed men in the knowledge of divine things ..."
Jesus is our Savior - the Messiah. Further, as such He is Prophet, Priest, and King. As Prophet, the first Christian martyr Stephen speaking of Moses words concerning Jesus said - "This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. [Act 7:37]
As Priest, the Scriptures record -
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. [Heb. 4:14 - 16]
Finally, as King, we read -
Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. Rev 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. Rev 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is c alled The Word of God. Rev 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. Rev 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Rev 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Therefore, Jesus is our Prophet, Priest, and King. Even so...Come Lord Jesus!