—Deuteronomy 17:18-20 (NASB)
Sometimes I like to work Scripture backwards to capture the teaching:
- How does a biblical leader ensure a long and healthy career? He does not "turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left". He never strays from God's path.
- How does a biblical leader stick to God's path alone? "By carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes". Note that this is not just about following the rules but being ruled from the heart because their observance of God's Word is supposed to result so "that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen". He realizes that the obedience of all who are subordinate to him is equally required of him as well.
- How is a biblical leader motivated to observe ALL of God's commands? He has learned "to fear the Lord his God"; that is, to revere and respect God for Who He is as Ruler and King, even over the earthly king.
- What is the source of a biblical leader's reverence and attitude towards God? He lives immersed in God's Word so that "it shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life".
I think it's extremely significant that the king is here directed to "write for himself a copy of this law" because it provides him with the real-life object lesson that it is God's Word alone that is first and foremost important, not his own. He is to keep and continue in what God has already spoken and not to replace it with his own.
Now re-read these points replacing "biblical leader" with "I", because it's really the same standard for everyone. There is no lessening of the minimum standards for leaders—privileges of rank that are often provided in earthly organizational constructs—but a further demand for adherence to what is required of everyone: To live in and according to God's Word.†††