IS JUDGEMENT UPON US?
I've heard it said that God judges a nation by giving them the leadership they deserve. Is that what is happening to America? Is God judging America, pouring out His wrath upon us, by giving us the political leadership we wanted? This is a fair question to ask. God gave rebellious Israel the king they wanted, a king that would essentially make them slaves (1 Sam 8:17). Moreover, Romans chapter one shows us that God's wrath comes in the form of giving mankind what they want. Because of mankind’s idolatry:
God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity (Rom 1:24)
God gave them up to dishonorable passions (Rom 1:26)
God gave them up to a debased mind (Rom 1:28)
In other words, God judged mankind and poured out His wrath by giving us exactly what we wanted. Inevitably, our self-indulgence becomes self-destruction. There is no need for fire and brimstone when our rebellious hands produce our own calamity.
So is God judging America through its new president? Who knows. First, there is much uncertainty. Trump’s presidency could be good. It’s at least possible. Let us pray that it is. Second, God has made no covenant with America. I’m not entirely sure how He deals with us. Regardless, there is something we can learn from Israel. We are never to trade a Divine King for an earthly one.
In 1 Samuel chapter eight, we see Israel rejecting God in favor of an earthly king. They wanted to be like other nations by having a man to judge them and lead them into battle (1 Sam 8:19-20). And this highlights a great sin of many today. We would rather trust in political leadership than our heavenly father.
So how do we know if we have traded in a Divine King for an earthly one? Ask yourself the following three questions. You will know your true king based on your answers.
1. ARE YOU SPEAKING PROPHETICALLY INTO CULTURE?
God told Samuel to obey the people and give them a king but also to warn them of what would come of it (1 Sam. 8:9). We are to do the same. We are to honor our government, to be good citizens, and to warn them of what will come of their ideologies and behavior.
Regardless of who is in the White House, whether it is a form of judgment or not, the followers of Jesus Christ must declare His word to this world. When we are silent, it is a good sign that we do not trust in God, and that we fear man more than Him. Speaking prophetically into culture is a good indication of allegiance to God.
2. ARE YOU RESISTING THE TEMPTATION TO BE LIKE THE WORLD?
The Israelites were done living as God would have them. They wanted to be like other nations and be judged by their standards. Is that true of you? Are you tired of resisting the moral pressures of our culture? Do you just want to fit in? It is understandable. Living as an outsider is not easy. But when you give in and begin to live like the world, you have traded in one King for another.
Regardless of the moral pressures stemming from government, the followers of Jesus Christ must be seen living an alternate vision of life. We must be a community bearing witness to the power of the Gospel and the fruit of Christian living. Along with hearing the Gospel, the world must see it in action. The world must be shown a better way.
3. ARE YOU ALLOWING GOD TO LEAD YOU INTO BATTLE?
Your king will determine which battles you fight and how you fight them. The Israelites wanted an earthly king to pick the battles and lead them in war. Many today want to follow an earthly king because his battles match our selfish, idolatrous inclinations, and his tactics gratify our sinful indulgences.
Regardless of the schemes and ambitions of government, the Lord is our God and we must follow Him where He goes. We must resit what He resists and promote what He promotes. We must call holy what He calls holy and call sin what He calls sins. And we must be willing to engage with love and the tactics that are inline with being a citizen of Heaven.
BE IT JUDGMENT OR NOT
Whatever this new presidency means, let us remain faithful to our true King as we pray for our political leaders. Let us recognize that we are citizens of heaven and our battles are not the normal battles of this world. Let us seek peace whenever possible, speak truth in love, and may we live well.
If this is judgement, so be it. We belong to a good God that uses all things for the good of those who love Him. And if it is not judgement, we know there awaits judgment for those who reject God. Therefore, let us all use this political season to examine our hearts and see where we have placed our hope. May it rest solely in the sovereign King of all creation.