Israel’s nomadic days are nearly over. And a nation with land lives differently than a wandering one. So the people listen as Moses relays God’s intentions for the leadership and foreign policy of the new nation-state.
If the people decide they want a king like the other nations, he must be an Israelite, and he must not take many wives or accumulate great wealth. He is to make his very own copy of God’s laws, keeping it by his side and studying it all his days, yoking his heart to God.
Since the people are too scared to hear from him directly, God promises to raise up a prophet for the nation once Moses dies. A false prophet is easily identified—what he says won’t come true. Liars who dare to speak for the Truth are to be put to death.
Battles are to be fought in faith by men who have enjoyed a good life. God commands that the fearful and fainthearted be sent home from the front lines—God’s warriors are to have lionhearted trust in him.
The King’s Heart
When the Israelite army was outnumbered and overpowered, God commanded the priest to proclaim to the army: “Do not be fainthearted or afraid . . . For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory” (Deuteronomy 20:3-4).
God knows that sometimes our enemy’s size blocks our view of him. He knows we forget his presence, his power. So he ordered a faith-filled, sight-correcting reminder to be called out in the face of fears.
“Shout it over your life,” he commands. “Don’t let your vision trick you—I am with you! The Sovereign One, the King-Raiser and King-Deposer, the Army-Toppler, the Future-Decider—I am fighting for you!”
Sometimes we need to shout faith to our souls. We need a reminder that while the obstacles we face may be bigger than we are, they are never bigger than God. There is no need to be afraid because we are his. And no foe stands a chance against him.
According to Deuteronomy 19:15, no one is to be executed on the testimony of only one witness. In John 8:1-11, religious leaders bring a woman caught in adultery before Jesus. The men stand ready to stone her as the law requires (see Leviticus 20:10). But Jesus pricks their consciences, and one by one they leave. Jesus is alone with the woman—the lone witness. She is guilty of adultery, yes. But there are not enough witnesses to condemn her. Jesus meets the requirements of the law and simultaneously shows her grace.