… Sure I know it has been 7 months since my last post. What? Your’re not busy?
“When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.
“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.
(Deuteronomy 17:14-20 ESV)
Here are a few thoughts I am carrying with me into the November Election in the US. My friend Todd mentioned Lex, Rex by Rev. Samuel Rutherford, during our men’s fellowship Todd leads. It sparked some good conversation and got me thinking. I know many people disagree with me on the issue of voting for a Mormon for president and I pray that we might disagree with godliness and not go down the road of vilification… May that tactic be reserved for more governmentally entrenched targets?
1. When setting a king (how much more a President?) over us in our voting we should remember he is to be “from among our brothers.” I take this to mean one of the covenant people of God. We ought not set someone over us who does not know God.
Rutherford talked about the role of the people in “Setting a king over” them. In Question VI of Lex, Rex Rutherford answers the argument, “WHETHER THE KING BE SO FROM GOD ONLY, BOTH IN REGARD OF HIS SOVEREIGNTY AND OF THE DESIGNATION OF HIS PERSON TO THE CROWN, AS THAT HE IS NO WAY FROM THE PEOPLE, BUT BY MERE APPROBATION.” In other words isn’t it true that it is God alone who sovereignty appoints kings? Don’t the people just show “approbation” or approval? Rutherford uses the text above to note that the people do put kings up and they have the capacity, because of the fall, to choose a king who is not “your brother.” How is this?
Rev. Rutherford answers in part:
“The assumption (that it was God alone who chose Saul and David) is also false, for the people made Saul and David kings; and it were ridiculous that God should command them to make a brother, not a stranger, king, if it was not in their power whether he should be a Jew, a Scythian, an Ethiopian, who was their king, if God did only, without them, both choose, constitute, design the person, and perform all acts essential to make a king; and the people had no more in them but only to admit and consent, and that for the solemnity and pomp, not for the essential constitution of the king.”
To say that the people simply approved of what God does, guts the command of God for the people to do the choosing and makes the king of no “essence” from the people. He later goes on to prove his argument that though Saul and David were chosen by God they were also chosen by the people. By the way if you gut this command of God, which other commands will you eviscerate?
2. This is not a reason to vote for someone who is a brother by baptism yet mocks God and hates his rule. Lex, Rex (Law over the King) is a Biblical idea, and the king must learn to fear the Lord his God. Notice above that the king is to hand write a copy of the Law so that he might not be lifted up above his brothers. He is to get the law from the priests and he is to do the copying.
Rutherford in discussing elections over hereditary assumption of the crown says this in question X
“Elections of governors would be performed as in the sight of God, and, in my weak apprehension, the person coming nearest to God’s judge, fearing God, hating covetousness; and to Moses’ king, (Deut. xvii.) one who shall read in the book of the law; and it would seem now that gracious morals are to us instead of God’s immediate designation… The genuine and intrinsical end of making kings is not simply governing, but governing the best way, in peace, honesty, and godliness, (1 Tim. ii.) therefore, these are to be made kings who may most expeditely procure this end. Neither is it my purpose to make him no king who is not a gracious man, only here I compare title with title.
And in question XIV,
“…the king oweth to God proper and due obedience as any of the subjects, and also to govern the people according to God’s true religion, (Deut. xvii.; 2 Chron. xxix.;) and in this the king’s obligation differeth from the people’s obligation; the people, as they would be saved, must serve God and the king, for the same cause.”
Our ruler is to be righteous “according to God’s true religion” if he is to rule rightly and if one has proven that he would not rule thus he is not to be king. Rutherford argued that this is the peoples power and place to exercise wisdom in this area, but exercise it they must.
More later, but feel free to comment now…