The King’s sins: Deuteronomy 17

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“Are a king’s sins different than mine?”

Moses was a prophet. He was supernaturally gifted by God to look into Israel’s future and see the dangers that threatened them. Prosperity was one such danger, but the greed of kings was another. Though Israel would not have a king for another 400 years, Moses saw clearly how future rulers, especially Solomon, would be undone:

“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.’ He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.” Deuteronomy 17:16-17

Horses, wives, and gold. What makes these three so dangerous? Lust lies at the root of them all, whether lust for power, pride, possessions, or pleasure. They hearken back to the garden of Eden, where Satan used these same temptations on Eve:

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; Genesis 3:5-6

The fruit was good tasting (pleasure). It was good to look at, creating a desire to have it (possession). It promised to give one wisdom similar to God (pride). Solomon fell to the same temptations, multiplying wives for pleasure (and perhaps pride), gold for the greed of possession (and perhaps power), and horses for the pride of power. The apostle John rang these same three bells of temptation near the end of the Bible, driving home the point that began with Eve:

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 1 John 2:16

The lust of the flesh speaks to pleasure, the lust of the eyes to possession, and boastful pride speaks for itself. So we and kings are not so different. The same temptations or lusts lead to the same sins. You might think, “but look how much greater the degree of the king’s sins.” Even there we are more alike than different, for the degree of our sin depends more on whom we sin against than what sin we commit. Whether king or pauper, the degree of our sin is infinite because we sin against the infinitely holy God.

In short, a man must be set free from the sin he is , which makes him do the sin he does. — George MacDonald

Repentance of the evil act, and not of the evil heart, is like men pumping water out of a leaky vessel, but forgetting to stop the leak. Some would dam up the stream, but leave the fountain still flowing; they would remove the eruption from the skin, but leave the disease in the flesh. — Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish for spiritual things then it is sin for you, however, innocent it may be in itself. — Suzanna Wesley

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4 thoughts on “The King’s sins: Deuteronomy 17

  1. “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Mark 2:7

    If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:23

    Yes, it would seem that the forgiveness of sins is God’s charge. Why is he extending this power to the apostles? Can we not appeal directly to God for forgiveness? Why so soon after the resurrection, is Christ giving this divine power to mere men?

  2. Pingback: Bible Daily Devotional – The King’s sins: Deuteronomy 17 | ChristianBlessings

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