Read Deuteronomy 17:1-20
A theocracy is a “form of government in which God…is recognized as the supreme civil ruler” (http://m.dictionary.com/?q=theocracy&submit-result-SEARCHD=Search ). That is essentially what Moses wanted the Israelites to adopt in these final warnings he extended to them before he passed from the scene and they crossed into the Promised Land.
He wanted them to identify God’s rule over their personal lives as they surrendered to Him daily. Similarly, His hope was that they as a nation would ultimately submit to His ways…in three specific areas mentioned in today’s reading.
Punishment of idolatry (vv. 2-7)- Provided that a person’s worship of another god was validated by eyewitnesses, the person was to be put to death! You see, God was serious when He told His people “no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3). He calls His people to devote to Him exclusive and complete love “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5). To be clear, the Church’s commission today is not to execute those who are idolatrous. Instead, it is to call idolatrous unbelievers to full devotion to Christ (Acts 17) and to admonish believers to keep first things first!
Submission to the judicial system (vv. 8-13)- In that day, the judicial system consisted of priests and judges. These were people familiar with the Word of God and able to provide judgment on difficult cases and interpersonal conflict. But rather than setting up a system of appeal or simply ignoring the counsel given, those who were impacted by the decisions were to act in accordance with the godly instruction they had received. To whom do you turn when you need some help through the difficult situations and relational tensions of life?
Movement towards a monarchy (vv. 14-20)- As stated earlier, God wanted all to submit to Him. Ideally, they would not need a human king because He would be King over them. But the Father also knew that they would one day reject Him as their King and yearn for a king like all of the other nations. (See 1 Sam. 8.) When that day came, the people were to carefully select the man of God’s choosing. This man was to be more concerned about the benefit of the nation than his own gain. He was to be a man who placed high value on the word of God.