A Servant Leader

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Deuteronomy 17:18-20 (NIV)
When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 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 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 17:18-20 (MSG)
This is what must be done: When he sits down on the throne of his kingdom, the first thing he must do is make himself a copy of this Revelation on a scroll, copied under the supervision of the Levitical priests. That scroll is to remain at his side at all times; he is to study it every day so that he may learn what it means to fear his God, living in reverent obedience before these rules and regulations by following them. He must not become proud and arrogant, changing the commands at whim to suit himself or making up his own versions. If he reads and learns, he will have a long reign as king in Israel, he and his sons.
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“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, so that he may learn to fear [and worship] the Lord his God [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect], by carefully obeying (keeping foremost in his thoughts and actively doing) all the words of this law and these statutes,so that his heart will not be lifted up above his countrymen [by a false sense of self-importance and self-reliance] and that he will not turn away (deviate) from the commandment, to the right or to the left, so that he and his sons may continue [to reign] for a long time in his kingdom in Israel.” -AMPLIFIED

In Deuteronomy 17 Moses, who was in communication with the All-Knowing God, gave the people a prophetic word on what would happen in the future once the people had settled in the land. Moses said to them, “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us…” -Deuteronomy 17:14 (NIV)

When you get to the land that God has promised to you a time will come when you will insist on having a king; just like all the other nations. When this happens Moses tells the people, “…be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite.” -Deuteronomy 17:15 (NIV)

Moses warns the people they needed to be sure to appoint only the king whom God choose to rule over them. Notice, God, Himself, would hand-pick the man who would rule over His people.

Moses instructs the people that when all of this happens, when this king takes the throne, he was to write for himself a copy of the law for himself. This king would write this copy in the very presence of the priests. This was so there would be no deviation from the God-given Law; it would be an exact copy. This copy of the law would then stay with the king and he should read it every day of his life. This was so that the king would continually learn God’s way of doing things. It would also teach him to fear and show reverence to the Lord God.

Then we find Moses giving a warning to this future king, “He must not become proud and arrogant, changing the commands at whim to suit himself or making up his own versions.”; hence why he was to copy the law in the presence of the priests. There was to be no changing of God’s Law; it was to be true and faithful to the original text.

This future leader was to be a man of faith and humility. He was to carry out his royal duties with righteousness, honor, fairness and respectability. He was to be a servant to those that he ruled over, not the other way around. And he was always to remember the he was not above God’s Law, any more or less than the poor man or the lowest of his subjects.

All of these leadership qualities bring to mind Jesus; who is our perfect example for leadership. Paul pointed to Jesus as the perfect servant leader to the Philippians. Paul said, “Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.” -Philippians 2:5-8 (MSG)

If any of us are in a place of leadership we too must be careful that we are not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to. Let us constantly be reminding ourselves that we are only vessels used by God for His purposes. The best leaders have a servant’s heart, just like Jesus did.

My Prayer:

Lord, help me to always have a servant’s heart; just as you did. You are my perfect example to follow and I want to become more like you. Help me to remain humble as I serve others; I do not want pride to tarnish my leading. Let the reading of your Word be significant in my daily life; so that I am grounded and continually learning of you and your ways. I am yours, Lord, use me for your purposes.

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