Leadership and Authority

from the Deuteronomy reading plan

Deuteronomy 16:18-22, Deuteronomy 17:1-20, Deuteronomy 18:1-22, Philippians 2:3-4

BY Jasmine Holmes

By the end of this year, I will have three little boys—ages five, three, and a newborn. As is already the case with my older two, I imagine that I’ll have a lot of disputes to mediate and a lot of catastrophic disagreements to mitigate. Already, my five- and three-year-old come to me with lips pursed in outrage, chubby fingers pointing at one another and insisting the righteousness of their cause. 

My sons could not be more different. One of them resembles a younger version of me—tender-hearted, quick-tempered, and full of big emotions. The other resembles a younger version of his father—tough-minded, resilient, and calculating. And yet, as their mother, I would never be able to pick a favorite. I love them both fiercely, whether they’re piling into my bed every morning for our ritual “snugs” or bickering in their room that same afternoon, looking for a referee. 

In our current cultural climate, thoughts of justice can bring up all manner of emotions. A word and concept that is mentioned countless times in God’s Word has taken on very partisan, rather than biblical, connotations. Whether we’re arguing about social justice, criminal justice reform, or seeking justice for the persecuted, for many of us, the word conjures up ballot boxes, picket lines, and picket signs rather than the impartial God of the universe. 

One thought that helps preserve the beauty of justice in my mind is the fact that our God is the patient Father of His earthly children. Though it doesn’t seem possible to me, He loves us infinitely more than I love my thumb-sucking little prizefighters. Like a tender parent, it is His desire to see His children walking in unity (Psalm 133:1). Like a wise parent, as Israel makes her way out of Egypt and towards the promised land, God is making provision for this unity through earthly mediators whose job is to echo His lovingkindness. 

He requires righteous judgment (Deuteronomy 16:18), not hampered by partiality or bribes. He requires righteousness (Deuteronomy 16:19), and a pursuit of His justice alone, not personal glory or gain. And to ensure that justice and righteousness are the only pursuit of the judge, the accused, and the accuser, He requires single-hearted worship of Him alone (Deuteronomy 17:2-7). This call is even higher for the Levitical priests, who are called to mediate in especially difficult cases because of their close walk and relationship with the Father (Deuteronomy 18:1-8). 

We live in an age so different from that first trek into the promised land, but God shows us in Philippians 2:3-4 that the heart of His calls for justice still ring true: we are to be looking out for the interest of others. Whatever our blood relationship, familial bond, party affiliation, or political views, we are to see one another as more important than ourselves—as family—as sweet, lisping children, if that’s what it takes to show the tender mercy God requires. 

Post Comments (28)

28 thoughts on "Leadership and Authority"

  1. Andrea P says:

    Beautifully said. ♥️

  2. Kristen says:

    When reading Deuteronomy 17, I thought of a teaching about Solomon having many horses and wealth. They were not to have that many horses, and they were also to never go back to Egypt . Solomon had an alliance with Egypt and took the king’s daughter to be his wife. These Scriptures stating that they aren’t to multiply horses and why are explained at this link:

    God gave these limits for a reason. May we be quick to obey!

  3. Sissy Watson says:

    Wow…so good. Thx for sharing!!!!

  4. Alicia M says:

    Yes, Christina! My church has been studying Kings and it struck me how even the “good” kings in Israel and Judah’s history failed to follow God’s law perfectly. Only Jesus is the perfect King who followed God’s law perfectly and served His people even to the sacrificing of His own life.

  5. Dorothy says:

    Has anyone noticed in most of scripture readings it continues to say “21 Do not set up an Asherah of any kind of wood next to the altar you will build for the Lord your God, 22 and do not set up a sacred pillar; the Lord your God hates them.” Moses unfortunately has to keep repeating these instructions. It make me think do I have idols I put ahead of my Lord and Savior.

  6. Victoria E says:

    Thanks so much ERB for all this great research!

  7. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    The instruction that Moses gives for kings is truth we can and should heed today – read it (God’s word) all the days of our lives … that our hearts may not be lifted above our brethren… (Deuteronomy 17:19-20). Staying in God’s word will keep (the king) and each one of us humble! It is when we fail to be in His word regularly and fail to remember what we have learned, that we allow pride to take root in our hearts.

    Through this whole recent election and pandemic, I have seen pride rear its ugly head over and over again. I’m often very surprised and saddened to hear such prideful remarks, especially recently concerning covid-19, the whole pandemic, masks and vaccines. Christians attacking other Christians, making them feel less than holy if they got the vaccine – and on the other side of that – accusing remarks towards those who haven’t gotten the vaccine, thinking “because I got the vaccine and you didn’t – you are in the wrong”. When did we lose sight of God’s word and what He instructs us? How is any of this banter putting others before ourselves, or esteeming others better than oneself? Are we really looking out for the interests of others? Or do we just need to be right and everyone must agree with us?

    Father God, forgive us for letting such non-eternal issues cause bitterness, anger and division among us. Teach us to love as you love, to not show partiality, to love others as ourselves and to put everyone else before us. Help us not to be judgemental, forgive our prideful hearts. Help us all to show the same tender mercy that You show. In Jesus Name Amen

    A blessed weekend to you all!

  8. Erica Chiarelli says:

    I thought the very same thing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *