A Useless, All-Important King?

Scripture Reading — Deuteronomy 17:14-15, 18-20

“Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.” — Deuteronomy 17:20

In the game of chess, there is something curious about the king piece. It can only move one square at a time. It can barely defend itself, and it is often unable to attack opponents. The bishops, rooks, knights, and especially the queen are far more capable.

And yet there is a paradox at the center of the game: the king, though fairly useless, is the all-important piece. The whole game is about defending the king. The final move in the game is “checkmate,” meaning the king is dead.

Yesterday, when we looked at God’s instructions for Israel’s king, we focused mainly on what a king should not be or do. So today let’s speak more positively. The king must lead the nation in absolute loyalty to the Lord and his covenant. A new king is required to write out his own copy of God’s law. That was a task that would ­often take a careful scribe a year to complete. What a seemingly inefficient and useless task for a new king!

But God’s ways are surprising and don’t always make sense to us. They point us to the beauty and wonder of Christ Jesus as King. By worldly standards his kingship may seem useless, but by God’s standard it is all-important. Christ’s gift of his own life for our sake, followed by his rising again from death, turns out to be God’s surprising victory for us all!

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, lead us to know and love God’s Word and ways so that our every move may be in service for your kingdom. Thank you for saving us, Lord! Amen.