Deuteronomy 31 A Devotion
In Deuteronomy 31, we read about four types of leaders and a group of people making one community. Moses, who was about to die, and Joshua are the leaders called and commissioned directly by God. God set aside the priests from the tribe of Levi to lead the spiritual life of the Israelites. Since Israel was the only true theocracy, they lead the spiritual life involved civic leadership, too. The elders helped instill and keep civic laws that came about from God’s laws. They were the wiser and sometimes older people of the community. The officers generally were the ones who led bands of men in armies, but they could also be the keepers of peace in the towns, cities, and countryside. These sets of leaders led groups of people.
Moses directed a portion of chapter 31 to the leaders, but he directed his speech to the tribes of Israel, too. He reminded them to remain faithful to the LORD God. He encouraged them to stand strong and be courageous; the LORD was with them. In this chapter, too, Moses reminded them what God said in the doorway of the Tent of Meeting. The LORD foretold their future unfaithfulness to Him and their covenant with Him. This, He said, would result in His anger being kindled and evil falling on them.
Were any of these groups of people not accountable to God? No, there were not. All of them individually were accountable to God for their own faithfulness to God and their covenant with Him. God, though, created a distinction between the leaders of people and the individual people. They led the people to follow the will of the LORD as laid out in His Law. Besides that, they were accountable to God for teaching His Law and encouraging the Israelites’ faithfulness to Him and His covenant. Both groups of people – individuals and leaders – God held accountable to Him individually. The leaders had the greater burden of being accountable to God for education and encouragement to faithfulness of other people.
Today is the same. Today when you are a child of God, a Christian, you individually are saved from your sins, enter into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and are given eternal life when you earthly life is done. Besides that, we are part of the priesthood of the believer. We are commissioned by Christ to go tell other people about Him and God’s salvation plan – the Gospel. Jesus told us to go make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Making disciples is not a once-off event. This requires teaching, encouraging, mentoring, training, and much prayer. God holds us accountable to go tell and to disciple. Discipling and encouraging helps a person not rebel and turn away from God. This makes us like the priests, elders, officers, Joshua, and Moses.
Just as the Israelites one by one began to turn away from God and then the nation turned away from God, this happens today. The LORD set up leadership back then to teach, train, and encourage people to stay true to Him. Today each of us as “priests” (messengers and teachers) for God are accountable. The leaders back then were to help keep the nation strong and faithful to the LORD. We, too, can do this. We are accountable to the Lord as Christian and as priests/disciples called out by God to help our brother or sister in Christ remain strong in the Lord. Yes, God wants us to go out and tell the Good News. He also wants us to disciple and strengthen the people who are already Christians.
We are accountable as individual Christians, disciplers, and preachers who tell the Good News.
Have you fallen back on one of some of these roles? You are accountable to God for each of them.
Turn back to God and let Him lead you to be leader and individual – one who cares for God, his brother or sister and Christ, and one’s self.
What will you choose to do and be?