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June 3, 2014

Not Lifted Up

“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” –Lord Acton

In the book of Deuteronomy, the Israelites are instructed about what they should do if they get to their promised land and decide they want a king. God knew their hearts and that they would decide that they wanted a king, someone who they could look to for all of the answers and needs that would present themselves. We humans seem to be inherently desirous of handing over responsibility and liberty in return for full bellies and leisurely lives.

There is a whole laundry list of things that they should look for in their leader.

One of the most striking is that the king must write out his own copy of the Torah, make sure it is accurate by having it reviewed by the scribes, and then read it and meditate upon it daily. We learn best by repetition, by going over something through our own effort and pains-taking attention.

Copying the entire Torah correctly would be a huge challenge, a tedious discipline. The purpose was to keep him from getting too full of himself – “That his heart not be lifted up above his brothers!‘

As I was reading it, I thought about our own leadership in our nation. Granted, we do not have a king (I’m pretty sure of that!). What if the president was required to write out the Constitution in his/her own hand, copying it down word for word? We could require the Declaration of Independence for good measure as well. Then the accuracy of the founding documents would be reviewed and approved. What if he/she was instructed to read from them daily?

Anyone in a position of authority would do well to take this advice and continually tether themselves to founding principles so that they do not find themselves feeling so high and mighty that they believe that they are above the law. The safety and peace and security of a nation, a state, a community, and a home depends upon it.

1 Corinthians 8:2-3, The Message (MSG):

Freedom with Responsibility

We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions – but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all.

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