Obedience – A Lesson from Israel’s History

The Bible is full of wisdom that when obeyed can save us a lot of trouble. For example, in the book of Deuteronomy, God foretells Israel wanting a king, and gives His commandment for their future kings. Few kings obeyed these instructions; as a result, Israel went astray from God and experienced judgment for their wickedness.

When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;” – Deuteronomy 17:14

This came true, and Saul was the first king. A couple verses later is says:

Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold” – Deuteronomy 17:17

So many kings disobeyed God’s commandment in this verse: Solomon, David, and Hezekiah were a few. David had a problem with “multiplying wives,” but Solomon had even more wives than his father. It is not a surprise that Solomon departed from the Lord. Hezekiah had problems with “multiplying to himself silver and gold.” If he had not multiplied silver and gold, he doubtlessly would have been a stronger servant of God. The final part reads:

 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:  And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.”

If the kings would have done this, they would have learned the fear of the Lord. This would have prevented the years of spiritual shipwreck in Israel. If you read 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles, you will notice that when there was a righteous king, the people typically did righteously. However, the reverse was also true. If there was a wicked king, the people did wickedly. This brought God’s righteous judgment upon Israel many times (see Daniel 9:14). If every king of Israel had obeyed Deuteronomy 17:14-20, Israel’s history would certainly have been different.

 So, what does this mean to us? It is a warning of the consequences of disobedience. However, it also demonstrates that we can save ourselves so much pain by simply obeying God. This will result in the blessings that God promises to those whom obey (see Exodus 19:5, Exodus 23:22, Deuteronomy 30:20, Jeremiah 7:23, Jeremiah 42:6, Acts 5:32, Romans 6:16).


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