19 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
20 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 17:18-19)
Wednesday, we talked about how to perfect our witness. One of the text we explored was Deuteronomy 17:19, which lead us to an important point found inverse 20. In the passage, God is instructing His people on the type of king they should select to lead them.
Verse 19 says he should be one that “…reads it…”. It states that he should carry the word on him at all times that it might be his source of knowledge and wisdom. He must be one that soaks in the Word, not just rinses off. He must emerge himself in God’s Word to such an extent that it both covers and fills him and keeps him as he rules.
Then he must “…follow carefully…” His reading about God will help him respect and fear the Lord, leading him to be obedient to God’s law and decrees. He must learn the word and respect God to such an extent that His life aligns with God’s will for His life. He is to mirror God’s character, seeking to meet his approval in all he does.
And these two lead us to verse 20, which will sum up our thoughts on witnessing.
Though this king would be chosen to lead and head the Israelite people, God wanted to insure one remaining thing, that being that he would “…not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites….” Even amidst all the power he would have, God wanted to make sure he feared the Lord to such an extend that he would not loose sight of who the real King was and where the source of his power lay.
As a king, God wanted him to remember that his title was a position that came with authority, but not absolute power. He was to serve not as one that was greater than, just as one that has more responsibilities than. His job was not that people would follow or worship him, but that he would lead them in the ways of God, keeping them focused on his laws and precepts just as he would be. The Word was also to keep him humble, reminding him that he was a citizen of God’s kingdom, despite his position as king. He was to keep the perspective that he was a part of the kingdom no apart from the kingdom.
Thus I asked,
“What would your witness and worship be like if you had the same perspective?”
Most of what is translated in our witness
isn’t the boldness of our faith in Christ, when you talk to others.
It’s a condescending type of arrogance that is
overcast with sprinkles and showers of judgement
that would be described by many that have encountered us.
After reading this text, I thought, maybe we need more time in the word? Maybe we need to be humbled just a tad bit or seasoned by a constant reminder that we have yet arrived and the leather exterior we display is not a result of our own righteousness, but the righteousness of God given to us by the death of our savior and by living out the Word He has provided for us. The wisdom we display is not because we are just that intelligent, it’s because we are that discipline in our studies, which changes the way we speak, and helps us control our actions and has changed our ways. The change in our lives is not because we came to the conclusion ourselves, but that He sought to free us and change us through much patience and long suffering, marinating us in the Word, seasoning us with forgiveness long before we were served as a gourmet meal.
Even as the king bore his title and served as a representative of righteousness, he was to remember that he has been chosen, not elected, nor was he self appointed, and neither are we. God’s mercy and grace flowed upon all of our heads, as we were convicted by the Holy Spirit as to our ways, and the standard being held that we could not maintain from a God that is Holy and Pure. All of us realized judgement was inevitable, and that our case for righteousness would be a few exhibits short lest we had Christ as our sacrifice.
We all need him interceding on our behalf. We all need him to stand for us and to claim us before the throne of Grace. We all need His blood to cover us as we stand before God praying to be called sheep and not goat. Be it reminded to us as we bare witness to others that they need what we have, and what we have doesn’t make us better, it just makes us believers. The person we speak to is another of God’s creation who has yet to surrender their lives back to their creator. He loves them just as much as He loves us, thus He sends us to them to bare witness of the story of His love and His desire to be in relationship with them, just as He did with us!
In a faith where the first shall be last, and the last shall be first, the emphasis is not placed in birth order, just in re-birth. We see this even in how God was able to use Paul to impact lives and plant many churches. He was able to mentor many saints and train up many young preachers and pastors, though he himself was not an original apostle or disciple that walked with Jesus. God used him to make a great impact! He can use you and he can use the one you are witnessing to! You could be used to witness to the next Paul, so speak to them in that manner. The Kingdom needs them, much like it needs you!
Think yourself not better, but as one that is bears the honor of sharing God’s truth with the world. Like the king, remember that you too are a citizen, still growing, still stumbling, and at times still struggling. We are all a work that God is working until completion, so lets ditch the completed action, and realize that we are still in process of be being made perfect.
If we do this, I bet our witness would be much more effective!