Deuteronomy 17: Lessons on God’s Divine Justice

God is just and fair and uses believers to implement His divine justice1

Introduction: God cares deeply about any injustice in the world (Ps. 45:6; 50:6; 72:1; Heb. 1:8). Every believer is part of His holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). He further uses believers as His “avengers” to administer justice (Rom. 13:4). Thus, He commands that every believer pursue what is just and right in their own lives and in the world around them: “[D]o justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8). “[L]earn to do good, seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow.” (Is. 1:17; Dt. 16:20). In Deuteronomy Chapter 17, Moses describes seven guiding principles for every believer seeking to pursue God’s divine justice. First, divine justice requires that you first honor Him. Whether you rule over a house, employees, or a governmental body, you must make your life a “living sacrifice” for Him. Second, divine justice depends upon leaders who thoroughly investigate and address wrongs. Because God is just, He also cannot ignore sin. Third, divine justice depends upon leaders who protect the rights of the accused. You must never judge people based upon gossip or spread gossip yourself. Fourth, divine justice depends upon submission to Spirit-led authority. Rebellion is only allowed when a leader tries to contradict God’s Law. Fifth, divine justice depends upon Spirit-led obedience to His Law. You cannot expect Him to reveal His truths to you if you are living in rebellion. Sixth, divine justice depends upon leaders who resist coveting. If you give in to covetousness, you are living by the flesh and not the Spirit. In doing so, you hinder your ability to hear the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Finally, divine justice depends upon the constant study of His Word. His Word can only be a light to your decisions if you constantly read and study it. These principles of divine justice still apply today.

1. Divine Justice Depends Upon Spirit-Led Leaders - Be a “Living Sacrifice”. Dt. 17:1.

  • Give the best that you have to offer in life to God and He will take care of everything else. Divine justice cannot exist within a nation if its leaders fail to honor God. Thus, before listing the rules for divine justice, Moses reminds the leaders that must offer the best that they have to God: “You shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep which has a blemish or any defect, for that is a detestable thing to the Lord your God.” (Dt. 17:1). Throughout the Torah, God required that any sacrifice be without defect (e.g., Ex. 12:5; Lev. 1:3; 1:10; 3:10; 22:20; Nu. 29:8; Dt. 15:21). The sin offering without defect foreshadowed Jesus. He was the “lamb unblemished and spotless ” who died for us (1 Pet. 1:17-19). By faith, your sins were transferred to Him through no merit of your own (Mk. 14:24; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2:24; Is. 53:4-5, 10, 12). He further perfected the need for any further physical sacrifices with His death on the cross (Heb. 10:14). How then should this command be fulfilled today? If you wish to be a leader for God, you must make “spiritual sacrifices” to Him that are without blemish or defect: “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5). This includes praising God in all that you do: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15). This also includes presenting your body as a living sacrifice for Him: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Ro. 12:1). If you seek first the kingdom of God, He will give you the wisdom to be a Spirit-led leader: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33). Are you honoring Him with your lips and the best of your life? Are you electing leaders who seek to honor Him in all that they do? If you elect leaders that don’t follow His will, can you expect His justice to reign in your country?

2. Divine Justice Requires that Wrongs Be Thoroughly Investigated and Punished Dt. 17:2-5, 7

  • God’s requirement to investigate allegations of wrongdoing. Divine justice also cannot exist where leaders fail to investigate allegations of wrongdoing or where leaders show favoritism:  2 If there is found in your midst, in any of your towns, which the Lord your God is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, by transgressing His covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, which I have not commanded, and if it is told you and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire thoroughly.” (Dt. 17:2-4(a)). God is impartial in His justice (Dt. 10:17-19; Acts 10:34; Ro. 2:11; Gal. 3:28). He also expects His leaders to be impartial: “You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.” (Lev. 19:15; Dt. 1:17; 16:19; 25:1-19; Ex. 23:3-6; Jo. 7:24). Among other things, divine justice requires that all allegations of wrongdoing be investigated “thoroughly.” (Dt. 17:4(b)). If there are allegations of wrongdoing in your company or in your family, are they investigated thoroughly and impartially? Are your government leaders sheltering the rich and the powerful from investigations of wrongdoing? If so, divine justice is absent.

  • Idolatry is a capital offense in heaven. If a thorough and impartial investigation reveals evidence of wrongdoing, divine justice requires punishment. At the time of the settlement and conquest of the Promised Land when the land was polluted by idolatry, idolatry was punishable by death: “Behold, if it is true and the thing certain that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then you shall bring out that man or that woman who has done this evil deed to your gates, that is, the man or the woman, and you shall stone them to death.” (Dt. 17:4(b)-5). “The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” (Dt. 17:7). “He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the LORD alone, shall be utterly destroyed.” (Ex. 22:20). “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, that person was also to be put to death.” (Dt. 13:6-8). For a number of other crimes against God, the punishment was death (Dt. 17:5; 21:21; Lev. 20:2; Nu. 15:35; Ex. 31:14). Although these penalties no longer apply on Earth, they foreshadow the penalty for the unsaved who appear before the Great White Hall Throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). Those who have rejected Jesus to pursue after other gods, including themselves, money, or the lusts of the flesh, will face an eternal punishment. To give us a picture of how painful the punishment will be, God gives us the analogy of death by stoning. Yet, Jesus describes an eternal place that is far worse than death by stoning: “In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out.” (Lk. 13:28; Matt. 8:12; 21:13; 25:30). If you have made money, the flesh, drugs, alcohol, or yourself an idol, you would be guilty of this same punishment in His Court (Jer. 17:5-10). He impartially judges and gives the same punishment toward the rich and poor (Jo. 7:24; Ex. 23:3-6; Lev. 19:15). You were saved from this punishment only because of His sacrifice. What are you doing with your life to show your appreciation? (Ro. 12:1-2). If you are openly sinning, how thankful are you? Are you seeking to save others from judgment? (Matt. 28:19).

God will always ensure that justice prevails, but in His timing2

  • By the same standards you judge others, you also will be judged. Today, the duty of judging sin falls solely upon God. Because mankind is compromised by sin, it lacks the moral authority to judge sin. For this reason, Jesus pointed out that none of the men who had accused the woman of adultery could cast a stone in judgment: “But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”’ (Jo. 8:7). “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matt. 7:2; Mk. 4:24). “Therefore you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” (Ro. 2:1). Instead of judging, you are called upon to restore a fallen brother or sister in love: “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1). If he or she will not repent, you are called to separate yourselves from those who are wicked and refuse to repent: “But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” (1 Cor. 5:13). Are you judging people around you? If someone is sinning, are you trying to restore that person out of love?

3. Divine Justice Depends Upon Leaders Who Protect the Rights of the Accused. Dt. 17:6.

  • God’s requirement for due process and more than one witness for serious crimes. Divine justice also requires that the accused be protected from false accusations: “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.” (Dt. 17:6). The rule that a person could not be convicted of a serious crime without two or more witnesses is repeated throughout Scripture: “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.” (Dt. 19:15). “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.” (Matt. 18:16). “Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true.” (Jo. 8:17). “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.” (1 Tim. 5:19). “This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (2 Cor. 13:1). The existence of two witnesses, however, does not relieve a leader to still conduct a “thorough” investigation (Dt. 17:4). Jesus was convicted in a trial based upon the false testimony of two witnesses (Matt. 26:60). In the United States, the only law requiring the testimony of at least two witnesses is treason (Const., Art III, § 3). Yet, during the Cold War, leaders felt that this was too high of a standard. To get around this, the U.S. Congress later passed laws allowing for similar acts of “espionage” to be punished without two or more witnesses. Thus, God’s standards of due process are greater than the standards that Americans celebrate. If a leader seeks to follow divine justice, he or she must not make accusations without proper evidence. For serious offenses, the accused should be considered innocent without two or more witnesses. Likewise, if you are seeking to confirm God’s direction regarding a matter that is not addressed in Scripture, you should look for two or more signs to confirm His will. Are you judging others based upon the accusations of one person? Are you spreading false allegations through rumors and gossip? Do you have the patience to look for God’s confirmation through two or more witnesses in important matters?

4. Divine Justice Depends Upon Submission to Spirit-Led Authority. Dt. 17:8-10; Ro. 13:1-7.

  • Divine justice requires competent courts and a system for appeals. God had previously directed the people to set up local courts to resolve disputes (Dt. 16:18). Here, He advised that divine justice requires both a specialized court and a system of appeal for resolving disputes that could not be handled at the local level. This also required the submission of local judges to a specialized central court. “If any case is too difficult for you to decide, between one kind of homicide or another, between one kind of lawsuit or another, and between one kind of assault or another, being cases of dispute in your courts, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the Lord your God chooses. So you shall come to the Levitical priest or the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall inquire of them and they will declare to you the verdict in the case. 10 You shall do according to the terms of the verdict which they declare to you from that place which the Lord chooses; and you shall be careful to observe according to all that they teach you.” (Dt. 17:8-10). In Jesus’ time, there were three different courts. For towns with between nine and 120 men, a counsel of three heard disputes called the “beit din” or “House of Judgment.” For towns with more than 120 men, a counsel of 23 heard disputes called the “Sanhedrin ketanah” or “small court”. For disputes that were complex or if an appeal was needed, a counsel of 70 in Jerusalem called the “Sanhedrin Gedolah” or the “Great Court” heard disputes. Jesus’ trial was held in Jerusalem before the Sanhedrin Gedolah. The Sanhedrin, however, failed to follow the Law in convicting Jesus. They give an example of a misuse of God’s system of justice. Yet, the principle still remains. When the early believers needed to resolve a dispute in Antioch about whether new converts needed to become Jewish, the local council of elders in Antioch decided that the dispute was too difficult for them to resolve on their own. Thus, they referred the matter to a greater counsel of believers in Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-33). We are all prone to make mistakes. Any wise leader or government must be willing to submit his or her decisions to the review and approval of others (Ro. 13:1-7). In some churches today, the pastor is not accountable to any higher body for review because all authority is decentralized or the church is not part of any larger organization. If you or your church make a mistake or have disputes, you or your church must be willing to allow persons to appeal decisions to a high body to correct any errors that might exist.

Jesus’ justice and mercy and fulfilled through Spirit-led leaders3

  • Submit to Spirit-led leadership. God expects order. He commands that we submit to His appointed leaders. His leaders are His “avengers” against injustice (Rom. 13:4). They also are supposed to “watch out for your souls.” (Heb. 13:17). First, you submit to Him through his Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14), His Word (2 Tim. 3:16), and His church leadership (Matt. 18:17-20; Heb. 13:17). Second, you submit to Him through your civil authorities (1 Pet. 2:13-14; Rom. 13:1-2). Third, you submit to His family order (Eph. 5:22-25; 6:10). Only when your authorities refuse to follow His Word can you ignore them (Acts. 4:19).

  • Satan’s attacks on Spirit-led leaders. Satan’s goal has always been to break down authority through rebellion. His goal is to create chaos and misery. He first led a third of the angels in rebellion against God’s rule (Rev. 12:3-9). He then led Eve to rebel against God’s rules (Gen. 3:1-4). He then led Adam and Eve to rebel against each other (Gen 3:16). He led 12 rebellions to depose Moses as the leader of the Jews. Jesus once quoted a prophecy: “I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” (Mk. 14:23). Upon His arrest, the disciples scattered. Once you believe your leader to be illegitimate, you may refuse to follow that leader (Neh. 9:26). Peter says that the corrupt “despise authority.” (2 Pet. 2:10). Satan’s goal has always been to break down authority through rebellion. As a part of God’s priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9), you cannot function as God intends if you refuse to obey orders from His Spirit-led leaders (Heb. 13:17). Are you rebelling against any leaders that God has appointed over you?

  • A Spirit-led leader in turn submits to those under his or her authority. For many, the word “submit” is a demeaning term. Yet, God required His Spirit-led leaders to submit to others: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:25-28; also Mk. 10:42-45). A husband, for example, must submit to his wife the way that Christ submitted to the Church (Eph. 5:21-32). Are you submitting to the needs of your spouse, your children, your employees, and those around you?

  • Guide those who serve under your authority. If you have children or employees who serve under your direction, you must also provide them with instruction or supervision. The shepherd carried a staff to keep the sheep together and safe from predators. If you don’t use your staff with your children, can you expect them to stay by your side? (Prov. 23:12).

5. Divine Justice Depends Upon Spirit-Led Obedience to God’s Law. Dt. 17:11-13.

  • God requires Spirit-led obedience. Divine justice is not possible if a leader refuses to obey God’s Law: “11 According to the terms of the law which they teach you, and according to the verdict which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the word which they declare to you, to the right or the left. 12 The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the Lord your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. 13 Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again.” (Dt. 17:11-13). Obedience was a command that Moses gave frequently (Dt. 6:3-4; 9:1; 20:3). Moses knew the purpose behind a particular law might not always appear clear to a believer. God requires obedience even if you do not understand. We should consider the Law to be like a treasure: “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.” (Ps. 119:14). Jesus said, if we love Him, we will keep His commandments: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (Jo. 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1 Jo. 5:3; 2 Jo. 1:6). His “disciples” were the “disciplined ones” in keeping His commandments. As bondservants or freed slaves, they were obedient out of love, not obligation. Whether you follow the law out of love instead of obligation is a test for whether you really know God: “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 Jo. 2:3). “[W]hat matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.” (1 Cor. 7:19). Obedience is a foundation upon which the covenant stands. Are you obedient to only the parts of God’s Law that you agree with? Are you teaching God’s Law to your children? (Dt. 4:9-10; 11:19; Prov. 22:6).

  • Satan’s goal – rebellion against God’s Law. Solomon said that rebellion was the sign of an “evil man.” (Prov. 17:11). According to Paul, rebellion is part of the spirit of “the prince of the power of the air.” (Eph. 2:2). Samuel also said: “. . . rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft . . .” (1 Sam. 15:23). Satan also becomes the father of those who rebel (Jo. 8:44). After leaving Egypt, the Jews’ lack of faith caused them to rebel “ten times” against God (Nu. 14:22). As a result of the Jews’ repeated refusal to obey and have faith, God eventually banished them to spend 40 years wandering in the desert (Nu. 14:34). For everything good and holy, Satan has created a counterfeit to deceive people. Twelve times, he sought to incite the Jews into rebellion. If God’s perfect government leads to peace and harmony (1 Tim. 2:1-2), rebellion only brings strife, death, and misery. When you accept Jesus as Lord, He is to govern every aspect of your life (Lk. 6:46). The Bible should become the source of your instruction (2 Tim. 3:16). Even though Jesus fulfilled the Law, if we say that the it is no longer “profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, [or] for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16), we will be called “least” in heaven (Matt. 5:19). When a society refuses to follow rules, order will break down. It is no different with God’s Law. Is your church teaching only parts of God’s Law?

6. Divine Justice Depends Upon Leaders Who Resist Coveting and Protect God’s Covenant against Covetousness. Dt. 17:14-17.

  • God gave the Jews earthly kings because they could not wait for the King of Kings. It was always God’s plan that the Messiah would rule His people. He only allowed for earthy kings because the people lacked the patience to wait for the Messiah:  14 When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses, one from among your ]countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.” (Dt. 17:14-15). After the Jews took control of the Promised land, they demanded to have a king like the other nations: “Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” (1 Sam. 8:5(b)). Justice was absent, and everyone did what was right in their own eyes (Jdgs. 21:25). “Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.” (Acts 13:21). The people then suffered under Saul’s corrupt rule. They gave up their God-given freedoms for the yoke of bondage to an earthly king. When Jesus rules in the future as the King of Kings, he “will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.” (Jer. 23:5). Until that day, God gives guiding principles to make sure that our leaders are not led astray.

  • A Spirit-led leader must be impartial. As quoted above, a Spirit-led leader must be impartial. He or she must never favor the rich or the powerful (Dt. 16:19; Lev. 19:15; Dt. 1:17; 16:19; 25:1-19; Ex. 23:3-6; Jo. 7:24). Moses also stated this principle in the prior chapter: “ 19  . . . you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.” (Dt. 19:19). The trial against Jesus was not impartial because the chief priest sought out testimony against Jesus motivated by jealousy (Matt. 26:59; Mk. 14:55). Are you honest in all your business dealings? Are you voting for leaders whose personal lives are filled with integrity?

  • A Spirit-led leader must pursue justice. In Deuteronomy Chapter 16, Moses also warned that a Spirit-led leader must pursue: “ 20 Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Dt. 16:18-20). God appointed the kings to “do justice and righteousness.” (1 Kgs. 10:9). A king is supposed to sit “on the throne of justice.” (Prov. 20:8). This means that a Spirit-led leader must care about addressing wrongs and the plight of those in need: “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” (Prov. 31:9). “Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute.” (Ps. 82:3). “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.” (Dt. 10:18). When the Messiah returns, His reign will bring “justice and righteousness in the land.” (Jer. 23:5). He is our righteous judge (2 Tim. 4:8). When you are called to account for your actions before your judge, will you be able to provide times where you were a force for God’s justice? (2 Cor. 5:10). Or, are you living for yourself?

  • A Spirit-led leader must not covet power. A Spirit-led leader must not covet power, which Moses symbolizes through the desire to “multiply horses” for himself: “16 Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’” (Dt. 17:16). Coveting is not only in breach of the Tenth Commandment, it is one of the leading reasons for a leader to rebel (Isa. 1:23). When Korah led a rebellion against Moses he was joined by 250 “men of renown.” (Nu. 16:2). They coveted the power that Moses had and violated the Tenth Commandment (Ex. 20:17). God also condemned one of last kings of ancient Judah for his covetousness that led to his “dishonest gain” and the “shedding innocent blood and [] practicing oppression and extortion.” (Jer. 22:17). Satan’s pride also caused him to covet God’s power (Is. 14:12-15). Those who “covet” are disqualified from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:10; Eph. 5:3-6). A leader who covets can never satisfy his desires by giving into those desires. He will always want more power (Hab. 2:5). Are you content with what God has given you? Should you worry more about this sin when you struggle or when everything is going well?

  • A Spirit-led leader must not covet the flesh. A Spirit-led leader also was limited to only one wife. This also precludes mistresses or other sexual partners outside of marriage: “17 He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; . . ..” (Dt. 17:17(a)). Solomon was the wisest man alive (1 Kgs. 4:30). Yet, he coveted women. His coveting led him to take 700 wives and 300 concubines. These lusts for the flesh led him astray (1 Kgs. 11:3). His lusts also turned his heart away from God: “For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” (1 Kgs. 11:4). He then began to serve other gods and did evil in God’s eyes (1 Kgs. 11:5-6). There can be no family peace when a man has more than one wife (Dt. 21:15-17). Jacob’s family, for example, was filled with strife because his two wives and his children from different mothers all fought for his attention and love. When we long for the things of the flesh, God will eventually give us over to our lusts (Rom. 1:28). Are you chasing after the lusts of the flesh or the things of God? Are you electing leaders who lead by promoting God’s definition of morality in both their own lives and within the nation?

  • A Spirit-led leader must not covet wealth. A Spirit-led leader must also be content with what he has. He must never seek to enrich himself through his leadership for God: “17  . . .; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.” (Dt. 17:17(b)). We can see an example of how wealth can corrupt a leader through King Ahab’s theft of Naboth's vineyard. King Ahab had everything he needed as king. Yet, he coveted a vineyard that belonged to a subject named Naboth. Naboth, however, refused to give it up because the land was an inheritance for his family (1 Kgs. 21:1-3). King Ahab and his wife Jezebel then wrote a letter to the elders in Naboth’s town and told them to proclaim a fast. They then used that fast as an opportunity to falsely declare Naboth as someone who had blasphemed against God and the king. Thus, they had Naboth killed (1 Kgs. 21:8-14). They then took possession of Naboth’s land (1 Kgs. 21:15-16). God later used Elijah to severely judge King Ahab for his theft and murder of Naboth (1 Kgs. 21:17-24). Yet, it is not by itself a sin for a leader to have wealth. It is only a sin if the leader’s love of money leads to coveting (1 Tim. 6:10). Solomon only asked God for wisdom. Because he sought first God’s wisdom, God gave him riches that he did not ask for: “I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days.” (1 Kgs. 3:13). “The LORD highly exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him royal majesty which had not been on any king before him in Israel.” (1 Chr. 29:25). If money alone were sinful, God would not have rewarded him with wealth. Do you trust God by tithing faithfully, even when times are bad?

7. Divine Justice Depends Upon the Constant Study of God’s Law. Dt. 17:18-20.

  • A leader must constantly seek guidance through God’s Law. Finally, Moses commanded that leaders both read and write down God’s Law to keep it close to their hearts: “18 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. 19 It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.” (Dt. 17:18-20). “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul . . .” (Dt. 11:18). David memorized God’s word to keep himself on the right path: “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” (Ps. 119:11). “ . . . Your Law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:8; 1:2; 119:16; Jer. 15:16). Solomon also memorized the law: “Bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.” (Prov. 6:21-22; 7:3). Joshua also meditated on God’s Law: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (Josh. 1:8). Jesus also memorized the Law and quoted it from memory throughout His entire life. Although not a path to salvation, the Law, is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16). The Law will keep your ways pure (Ps. 37:31; 119:9). It will teach and admonish you (Col. 3:16). When you follow it out of love, you will also bear fruit like a tree planted by water (Ps. 1:1-3). Are you trying to memorize the Law out of devotion? Are you selecting leaders who study God’s Law and apply it?