As I write this, politicians of all color, ideology and character are gearing up for the upcoming elections in May 2013. Whoever is elected by the people, they would be a king in their own right (governors, mayors, barangay captains) but is still subjected too someone over them.

So how should a person in authority act, a mayor,for example? Let us find out what the Bible says, after all we are “the only Christian nation in Asia” right?

In Deuteronomy 17:16-20, this is what is says, “The king must not build up a large stable of horses for himself or send his people to Egypt to buy horses, for the Lord has told you, ‘You must never return to Egypt. ’ The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord. And he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself.
“When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel.”

So if we check out what was said in the verses above, they boil down to the following:

  1. …must not build a large stable of horses (v.16). In our days, these might be luxury cars, sports cars, vans. Horses are a symbol of affluence in those days. Owning so many of them does not look good both in the eyes of God and of those who brought the “king” to power. We can look at the monarchs of oil-producing nations who collect all kinds of sports and luxury vehicles. They are not used. They are only for the satisfaction of a single person. This is not a kingly attitude.
  2. The king must not take many wives for himself (v.17). This situation is amusingly familiar. We know a few of them. God does not want a king with many wives. They just fight among themselves. Arguing who is better or who is more beautiful. They also lead the king astray with their unsound advices and tales. Remember Solomon? His wives led him to worship other Gods which led to the downfall of Israel.
  3. And he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself (v.17). Too much money corrupts as we Filipinos are so sorely familiar. If you think about how much salary a Philippine president gets, then we know that he will not be so rich after his term expires. The citizens feed him, clothe him, provides transportation and housing. He can just keep his salary in the bank and earn interest. He should not be filthy rich when he is replaced unless he is already rich, which is always the case. Let us admit it, greed to have so much more only leads to corruption.
  4. He must always keep the copy (a body of instruction scroll) with him and read it daily as long as he lives (vv. 118-20). The “king” should always read the Bible. It should guide him in the decision he makes. The passage that “regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens.” is a very important point. Only the religious (pun intended) reading of the Bible will keep the king from being corrupt and greedy for wealth, power and fame.

So that is how God instructed Moses to tell the people how a king should behave. Do you know people running for office that acts like that? Maybe you should vote for him.