Scripture: Deuteronomy 17:14-20
America has a great deal of work to do to bring these words from our Pledge of Allegiance to fruition: “…one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Today’s scripture text comes from the book of Deuteronomy. In Hebrew, Deuteronomy means “words.” The book of Deuteronomy is a “repetition of the law.”
Moses is the author of Deuteronomy. Therefore, it’s known as the Book of the Law of Moses. Jesus attributed the book of Deuteronomy to Moses (Matthew 19:8). The apostle Peter, in Acts 3:22-23, credited Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 and 19 to Moses. The apostle Paul affirmed Moses as the author of Deuteronomy by quoting him in Romans 10:6-8.
But, it is clear from chapters 1 and 34, the preamble and the conclusion that an unknown author contributed to the book. The opening verse, 1:1, says, “These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordan…” (Baker, Kenneth L., John H. Stek, Mark L. Strauss, and Ronald F. Youngblood, ed., Earl S. Kalland, contributing author. “Deuteronomy.” In Zondervan NIV Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008.)
Moses prepared God’s chosen people, Israel, just before they entered Canaan, the Promised Land. This new generation of Israelites, the Lord’s chosen people, would be representatives of God in the land God promised their patriarch, Abraham. The people were admonished to live as God’s obedient covenant people in the land of Canaan.
God, through His servant Moses, led the people. Moses was chosen by God to lead the people from Egyptian slavery into the wilderness and now to the door of the Promised Land. While in the wilderness, God spoke to the people through Moses. God led His people with the visible symbol of his presence — a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. God was with His people.
Beginning at Deuteronomy 16:18 through 21:21, Moses taught a leadership workshop entitled “How to be a leader in God’s righteous kingdom.” Included was a section on how to select a king. Moses anticipated a time when the people of Israel would ask for a king. So, he gave guidance on the eventual selection of a king (Deuteronomy 17:14-20).
Israel’s first leadership structure was a theocracy, a form of government where God rules over the people. The Israelites were to remain faithful to God, their covenant Lord. There would be blessings for obedience, and curses for disobedience.
But Moses was right. A time came when Israel wanted a king. Samuel took the people’s request for a king to God in prayer. The Lord answered Samuel, “Give the people what they asked for … but give them a clear warning, telling them how the king will rule over them” (1 Samuel 8:7).
Samuel explained about the king: “He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots…he will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[c] and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”(1 Samuel 8:10-18)
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. Then the Lord told Samuel to give the people what they want. Be careful what you ask for. Some Americans wanted to make America great again. They put their hopes in President 45, who led them down a rabbit hole. He used his supporters in an attempt to overthrow democracy for autocracy.
Like Israel, America looked for her security in a human being as opposed to God. Beware of leaders who want you to serve them and their idols and believe in their ideologies. Stop worshipping politicians, pastors and preachers, priests and prophets. Stop idolizing celebrities, comedians and sports figures. Don’t transitioned away from God.
The time has come for America to transition back to the true and living God. President Joe Biden is now the 46th President of the United States of America. America has rid herself of a diabolical man who tried to become king by hook or crook.
President Biden comes with a message of unity. The people of God must continue to be guided by God. We must pray!
Let’s pray that President Biden was chosen by God, is a member of the household of faith, will move this country forward and lead us back to moral values, human decency, civility and God!
Let’s pray for the healing of our nation, the control of the coronavirus, a positive change in our economy, and an end to racial injustice. Let’s pray for God’s will to be done!
That same power that resurrected Jesus can save and unite our country! United we stand, but divided we fall! “…one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” In the name of Jesus, Amen!
The Rev. Dr. Mary S. Minor is the senior pastor of Brookins-Kirkland Community AME Church, 3719 West Slauson Avenue in Los Angeles. Call the church at (323) 296-5610.