Earl & Diane Rodd
September 1987 93 Great Ryrie St.
Heathmont, Victoria 3135
Phone (03) 879-4082
The next FHC meeting will be:
While we often find the search for curriculum a complicated task, God can bring crystal clarity to our search. What is presented below is a very simple, yet powerful, concept for training our children to be "kings" in God's Kingdom. What is presented came out of considering what the Bible says about how we are to train ourselves in His ways. The concept comes from the Old Testament, and I Corinthians 10 :11 points out that the things that happened then are an example for our instruction. Our purpose here is not to establish a law but to learn from the examples God has given us as New Covenant people who belong to Jesus.
Most Christians know the story of King Solomon and the glory of the Lord that filled the temple that Solomon built for the Lord. Solomon's reputation in the earth for his wisdom and his wealth reached every nation, and he was visited by many kings and queens to see if the stories they had been told were true. The queen of Sheba said this
It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. Nevertheless I did not believe the reports, until I came and my eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. You exceed in wisdom and prosperity the report which I heard. How blessed are your men, how blessed are these your servants who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom. Blessed be the Lord your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel; because the Lord loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness. I Kings 10 :6-9
In this passage we see the ruler of a pagan, polythestic nation acknowledge and bless the One True God. Many Christians would be so grateful if we could have such a testimony from humanistic political leaders. Solomon's kingdom achieved such great heights that we often overlook the rebellious seeds he was sowing at the same time. His disobedience to God's laws would divide the kingdom. Most Christians point to his accumulation of foreign wives as the root cause of the downfall of his glorious kingdom. However, his numerous wives which helped him to worship foreign gods and his move into idolatry are both symptoms of a much deeper root problem. Solomon, like much of the visible modern church, presents an inconsistent message to those who are observant. Solomon was not alone in his disobedience. Every king, including David, failed to obey the written word of God which He had prescribed specifically for kings.
In Deuteronomy 17 :14-20 we read God's exact standard of behavior which he set down for a king. Lest we think God's standard was designed only for the kings of Israel let us first examine the New Testament writers to see that God's standard for kings also applies to us. Paul told the Corinthians,
You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and I would indeed that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you. I Corinthians 4 :9
In this passage we see that Paul wanted them to be kings, but he knew they were not functioning in the pattern of true kings under the KING OF KINGS. Paul's desire was to see the Corinthians be kings who could join him in true rulership. Paul aligns this true ability to reign with the ability to endure. In II Timothy 2 :12 he says, "If we endure, we shall also reign with Him."
God's plan for humanity is best seen in the last book of the Bible . Here God reveals His ultimate intention concerning His true kings. Revelation 5 :8-10 shows us how God's kings are to reign and where God's kings are to reign. Notice that prayer and intercession marks the true priests of God who rule on the earth. The whole passage says,
And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou has made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
This same idea of being priests who know how to reign is mentioned again in Revelation 20 :6 which says,
Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
The last scriptural reference to the ability to reign shows that it is something that is necessary for eternity. Revelation 22 :5 says,
And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and forever.
If hometraining parents believe the above quoted verses to be God's intention for His family, then the examination of God's patterns for the kings of Israel takes on a different significance and meaning.
Deuteronomy 17 :14-20 says,
When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, `I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,' you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, `You shall never again return that way.' Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself. Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or to the left; in order that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.
In this passage we see God's foreknowledge at work. He knew Israel would eventually reject Him by rejecting His established rule of the prophets. However, in this passage we also see God's foreknowledge of HIS KING who would fulfill every one of these requirements. When God decided to allow Israel to have a king, he set down very strict guidelines for that king just as he also set down very strict guidelines for the priests of Israel. Both serve as types of Jesus who was the perfect prophet, priest and king. But we must also remember that these guidelines also serve as a spiritual guideline for those who would follow after Jesus to be God's prophets, priests and kings. Jesus fulfilled all three of the governmental principles of His Father. He was the perfect prophet, priest and king. However, God's true church is made up of individuals who are prophets (who speak forth the clear word of God); priests (who seek God's face and intercede for those who do not know Him); and kings (who know how to endure and rule over situations and circumstances through prayer and right choices).
In this passage of Deuteronomy we learn the following:
A study of the kings of Israel beginning with Saul all the way down to the last king, Zedekiah, proves most interesting. The Bible does not record any of them obeying God's first law for kings. There is not one Biblical reference to a king writing out in his own hand the laws that God set forth. Even though there are kings who read God's law when it was rediscovered, we find huge gaps of God's law that David is considered to be the best Old Testament example of a king who followed God with his whole heart. (Acts 13 :22) Yet David had many wives which was in direct violation to God's commands concerning the behavior of kings. A study of the kings shows rediscovery at various times of portions of God's laws and commandments. Thus we see the restoration of the passover, the priestly service, cleansing of the temple, etc. under the more obedient kings. However, each king always had a problem that eventually ensnared him. Because no king had obeyed God's laws for kings as set down by Him through Moses, no king ever ruled God's people as God had desired. Jesus Christ was the first King to show mankind how God's kings were to rule and to reign on earth.
In the process of the restoration of all things which must occur before Jesus returns (Acts 3 :19-21), there must be a return to the word of God. Jesus' title as KING OF KINGS implies He desires to have righteous kings who are capable of ruling under Him.
The church has been most proud in pointing out the Jewish propensity to have a Messiah who would place the Jewish nation at the top of the political nations and squash all others. There have been numerous explanations asserting that the Jews missed the first coming of Jesus because he came as a servant rather than as a king. Most of the church is absolutely convinced that the second coming of Jesus will be to establish his Kingship. However, a close examination of God's requirements for a king shows that Jesus fulfilled all those requirements when He made his first appearance. The pride of the church has blinded her, just as it once blinded the Jews, from seeing rulership and kingship from God's perspective. The earthly, worldly demonstration of kings and rulers has almost obliterated the perfect pattern that God established thousands of years ago. If we look back at Deuteronomy 17 :14-20 we can see the following behavior in Jesus that establishes Him as God's true pattern and example for all of God's kings to emulate. We see:
It is most obvious from this list that Jesus was the first man to perfectly obey God's law for kings. Yet this is not the way the world or the church wants to view kings or rulers. However, we who are hometraining our children and also retraining ourselves in the ways of our God, need to take this list most seriously. Even though Jesus was the first man to obey the law for kings, God clearly set these laws down for human beings to obey and not just for the Son of God. God intended the kings of Israel to demonstrate to the world a nation whose rulers were so separate from the ways of the world that all ungodly nations would desire to run their kingdoms by the same principles. However, Israel failed to follow the will and purposes of God. Now the church is being asked by God to represent the same godly standard for the rulers of the world. However, the modern church, like Israel, has adapted the worldly view of kings and has patterned her rulership like the nations around her rather than the other way around. The church is the first place where righteous kings should be found. This is the pattern the world should see:
David had many wives, and also committed murder and adultery. Thus he diverted from God's laws. Solomon had many horses from Eygpt, had many wives, accumulated much wealth and committed idolatry. An examination of the kings shows that not one walked consistently as God had required. An examination of the problems of each king is merely a study into symptoms and does not deal with the root causes. The prophets whom God would send over and over again to His people beginning in Judges 6 :8 always had the same message, "You have not obeyed Me." It is not adultery, idolatry, fear of man, love of money etc. that ensnared the kings of Israel and is today ensnaring the church. Man's root problem is not that complicated. From the garden of Eden to the present moment man refuses to obey explicitly what God has said. We have no record of any king of Israel writing out God's law in his own hand on the first day he sat on his throne. How many of God's people today have accepted their kingly roles in God's kingdom and also have neglected to obey the first command God set down for His kings. We have excuses, explanations, strategies, structures, Bible studies, seminars, seminaries, etc. that conveniently replace what the Lord has set down for His kings to obey. By doing so, we continually help one another disobey the written word of God. If we want to be part of God's restoration to the whole earth, if we wish to be kings who rule and reign with rightousness and justice in every situation and circumstance we face in life, we must take God's word to kings most seriously. We must be willing not only to take the time to read God's word, but we must also find the time to write down God's word with our own hand so that we can walk on this earth as Jesus walked. I John 2 :3-6 says,
And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
The inconsistency of Israel's kings and the inconsistency of the church's witness to the world must be dealt with at its roots and not at the symptom level.
Many Christians have tried to walk as Jesus walked. Thus we have had healing evangelists, teaching ministries and deliverance ministries. All these ministries are valid expressions of the deeds Jesus did while on the earth. However, we have seen many of these same ministries bring reproach to the name of Jesus by accepting the flattery of men, living extravagantly like the world, and often falling in adultery and the idolatry of self-worship. This all comes out from pride. We have seen this compromised witness to the world but have not fully understood where the seeds of rebellion first occurred. The kings in the Body of Christ have fallen into the same pattern as the kings of Israel. We have not written and read the word of God. We have not obeyed the law of God as set down for kings, and thus we see all the same sins flagrantly evidenced in the life of Israel reoccurring in the life of the church. As we do take the time to write and read the law of God which he set down for kings, the Holy Spirit has the opportunity to teach us how to fulfill the whole law. Galatians 4 :14 says, "For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, `YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'
Deuteronomy 17 :14-20 makes the contrast between rebellious kings and that of Jesus so obvious. Because Jesus came as a true king and obeyed the law of God no one recognized him as a king. Because the Israel nation had been so deceived by the lavish lifestyle of Solomon and the military might of David they expected the Messiah to come with power and wealth to overthrow their captors.
The church today is in the same danger of missing its calling to be like its true king. Deuteronomy 17 :20 clearly describes the life of Jesus when he came as King of the Jews. Jesus was humble not proud. He never turned aside from the Father's commandments. Even in Gethsemane, He willingly embraced the Father's perfect will for Him. Jesus obeyed the word of God that was first set down for human beings. We hometraining parents cannot excuse ourselves and say, "Jesus could do it, but we can't." In our concern to find Bible-based curriculum, it may be wise to pause in our search and carefully delve into the Father's curriculum and His methods of inculcating His truth which He knows are perfect. These requirements for kings were set down by God for kings, and God never asks a human being to do something without enabling that person to obey that command. What was that enabling power for human kings that God knew would help them be a consistent testimony for Him? What was it that Jesus did that enabled Him to walk humbly with His God? How can we obey the prophet Micah who says,
With what shall I come to the Lord and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my first-born for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6 :6-8
The answer is quite simple - Jesus obeyed Deuteronomy 17 :18 through the power of the Holy Spirit. Because we see verse 19-20 of this passage fulfilled in the life of Jesus, because we know He feared the Lord and not man, because we know Jesus was humble and not proud, because we know He obeyed His Father in deed and word, because we know He never deviated from the will of the Father, then he must have done what the word says in Deuteronomy 17 :18. Jesus must have written out His own copy of the Law of Moses in the presence of God's priests. Perhaps it was done in the presence of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Jesus must have studied the first five books of the Bible diligently so as to understand not just the letter of the law but also the spirit of the law. His parents must have helped Him to do all that was necessary to have the true fear of the Lord operating in His life.
Earl & Diane Rodd
*For those who are using the Spalding method of phonics, spelling, writing and reading, God's pattern of writing the law fits in very nicely. How grateful we are to know that God is truly teaching us to understand how "learned" men and women can be trained effectively in the home for the glory of God.