Bad kings: Trump, Hillary and God’s judgment
Behold, we are slaves today, and as to the land which You gave to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its bounty, behold, we are slaves in it. Its abundant produce is for the kings whom You have set over us because of our sins; they also rule over our bodies and over our cattle as they please, so we are in great distress. (Nehemiah 9:36, 37, NAS95)
It isn’t always flaming sulfur from the sky. Sometimes God’s judgment on a people comes in the form of a flood, an earthquake or an epidemic. Famine. Economic collapse. Invasion. One of the ways God punishes a wicked nation is with wicked leaders.
It’s a safe political comment no matter which side you’re on: “Are these really the best two candidates America could come up with?” It seems like a sort of anti-miracle, doesn’t it? – that, out of a nation of 320 million people, our choice of President may come down to a narcissistic reality TV star or a corrupt Marxist with no conscience.
I suggest that we’ll know by the end of July whether God has finally abandoned us to our own devices. If it’s between Hillary and Trump, we’ll know that divine patience has run out.
Consider this scripture: “For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest upon the land of the righteous, so that the righteous will not put forth their hands to do wrong.” (Psalm 125:3) At first it looks like a happy promise, something you might find on a calendar beside a picture of a waterfall. And it is a promise, certainly. But it’s also a warning. Have the righteous been forced to put forth their hands to do wrong in this country? Christian charities are forced to pay for abortions, Christian bakers are forced to endorse counterfeit marriage, and Christian taxpayers are robbed to subsidize all manner of self-destruction, perversion and absurdity.
So we know that a “scepter of wickedness” rests upon us. And by that we know that this is not “the land of the righteous.”
Christians have always held that a godly king is a heavenly gift to a people, and a wicked king is sent as a scourge for their wickedness. As John Calvin wrote, “…those who govern for the public good are true specimens and mirrors of his beneficence; and that those who rule in an unjust and tyrannical manner are raised up by him to punish the iniquity of the people.” This will strike some as a “heads-I-win-tails-you-lose” position: No matter how good or evil the ruler, he is sent from God. But it’s not meant to be an argument, only an explanation.
America has already suffered for our own unrighteousness. As we have coveted and robbed of other people’s property (16th Amendment, Social Security Act, Welfare State redistributions of many kinds), then allowed the murder of tens of millions of unborn babies, then officially recognized anti-marriage, we have become morally and materially bankrupt, weak and fractured.
The church has outsourced its mission to feed the hungry, sloughed off its duty to enlighten the ignorant, and even passed the buck on its mandate to heal the sick. All shifted to Almighty Godvernment. But Godvernment turns out to be one of those cut-rate deities like Dagon that can fall, but can’t get up.
Our attempts to tear out God’s law by the roots can only fail, and in failing, our nation dies.
Most chillingly, we don’t hear a loud, prophetic “STOP!” from the church. We are no longer salt and light to this culture. It’s as if God has gone silent. Evangelical leaders say things like, “I’m kinda warming up to the unrepentant serial adulterer with no coherent positions.”
I suppose I’m writing this because I still have a tiny glimmer of hope in my heart for a miracle. God has graced us with miracles before. It could happen. If we end this month with a major candidate other than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I’ll consider it a sign that God is still giving us a little more time to repent. If not, I think the “handwriting on the wall” needs no interpretation: We have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Our kingdom will be taken from us. Righteousness demands it.
The next two weeks will be historic. We’ll witness either a miracle, or the end of a once-great country.
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