Obscure yet Life Transforming: Reflections on a Cool August Night

Deuteronomy 17:19 – “And (this book) shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes.”


A cool breeze was blowing through the outside camp shed, which wasn’t highly unusual except that it was the first August.  That made it highly unusual and the text that the speaker read was highly unusual as well.  In fact it was a very obscure text, Deuteronomy 17:14-20, which is the instructions for Israel’s king.  A cool breeze, an obscure text and in fact a shocking text considering it was the start of revival.  You might occasionally hear a sermon from the book of Deuteronomy but lets be honest they are few and far between, especially for the start of a revival service.  It was an unusual night.


Yet  as the speaker read this text, interestingly enough the only text in the entire Old Testament that gives the king instructions for how is supposed to rule, everything became very clear.  This text tells us that the king is not supposed to be driven by power, nor by possessions, nor by pleasure.  He is not supposed to be abusive to other people, or be prideful over them.  These are the commands for the king.  Read through that list again however, a national politician not driven by power or by pride?  One whose life is not given to pleasure or to acquiring many possessions.  There is no person who is going to fit that bill is there?  Have you ever heard of a national politician like that?  In fact have you ever really heard of a person like that?  A person whose life is like that would be more rare than a revival sermon on the book of Deuteronomy.  In fact it would seem to be humanly impossible for a person to be like this. 


However the Bible makes it clear, “with God all things are possible.”  And that is when it became very clear.  Clearer in fact than an August, not a cloud in the sky, evening with low humidity.  This text is more than just commands on how a king should act, this text is more that just a prescription that we should try to measure up to.  This text is about Jesus.  He is the one who is not driven by pride, or possessions, or pleasure.  He is the one who doesn’t abuse people or puff Himself up over them.  Deuteronomy 17 is all about Jesus.  Which is shocking, but in reality it shouldn’t be, for the entire Old Testament is about Jesus.


So as I sat and wrestled with my children going to school.  As I worried because  my oldest is changing schools and my middle son has autism and this is his first year in school (yes sometimes even a preacher’s mind wanders in church), I had a beautiful realization and it is this – this text in Deuteronomy changes everything.  For Deuteronomy 17 is about Jesus, and my life is supposed to be about Jesus as well.  Of course it is not only my life but the lives of my children and the life of my family, it is all about Jesus.  Which means I shouldn’t worry, but I should trust.  I shouldn’t just pray for my boys to be ok at school but I ought to pray that God would be glorified in them and through them while they are at school.  And I should pray for their teachers and all the people at the school to see the glory of God and to have the realization that all of our lives are all about Jesus.  To God be the glory!