An Unqualified Savior
“This is what the Lord says:
‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.’”
I believe many Trump followers are making the same mistake Obama followers made and that Vice-President elect followers might be making. In MGA Vol I, I wrote at length about our need to elevate our president to almost Savior status. We elect them because of a particular characteristic on the resume whether it’s race, gender, military service, business, academic or other credentials and then we expect them to solve the national debt, lower our taxes, halt pandemics, stop wars, etc. It’s a recipe for failure. Though we should have high expectations for the person elected to our highest office, many of our expectations exceed the ability of any single human to achieve. Our trust should always rest first in God and then we hope that our elected leaders seek the face and wisdom of God and surround themselves with wise advisors. Here’s an excerpt from a chapter in MGA Vol 1 entitled “Give Us a King—The Search for a Champion.
“In 2020 we see the thirst for a champion reflected in every type of media outlet. Whether that champion is an athlete being paid multi-millions to represent a team, a power-house entertainer, actor, a YouTube gamer, reality TV star, etc., there is a craving inside us to look for someone to rally behind. It seems to fill a void in our lives that, at times, even becomes idolatrous. Bonnie Tyler's song "Holding out for a Hero" comes to mind:
Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where's the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn
And I dream of what I need
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light
He's gotta be sure
And it's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life!
Larger than life (Thompson, Vol I)
In many areas of life, we are looking for a "larger than life hero," a "god," small "g" to cheer for , rely on, save the day – this includes the arena of politics. It seems that we believe if we pick the right "champion" and put him or her in office, that it will solve all our problems.
George Washington, perhaps our greatest Founding Father, was the hero-general in the Revolutionary War. What was his hero's reward? America's first presidency. Several times America has rewarded its war heroes with the office of president.
Most recently, in America's political history, we have searched for champions from a particular party, from a specific race, particular sex, or walk of life. The modern-day call for a political champion sounds like this: if we had a Republican President, a Democratic President, a young president, a successful businessman as president, a black president, a female president, someone outside the established political machine as president, etc.—all of our problems would be solved.
The champion premise is a faulty and idolatrous premise and is as old as the Bible. It's as old as King Saul. God established a system of Judges to rule over Israel, but the people wanted something else. They saw that other nations had a champion, a king, and demanded a king for themselves.”
During COVID-19 I am watching church online. I am following Pastors Reggie and Kelly Steele, of Kingdom of the Valley Church in Phoenix. I love what they said before the elections. They said, “We trust God, regardless of who is in office.” I liked that. I think part of President Obama’s problem was that he was so eloquent and such an articulate orator that people started thinking that he could solve all of America’s problems. Senator Mitch McConnell, and the Republican Party’s opposition aside, no one person can solve all of America’s problems. President Trump’s problem is that he believes he is smart enough, genius enough, to solve all of Americas problems. And many of his followers believed him! Smile.
Barack Obama is neither the answer or the problem, neither is Donald Trump or President-elect Biden. The problem happens when we look more to the man than to the God in which we pray to give wisdom to the man/woman as they make decisions that affect the safety, security, health, and economic welfare of our country.
With President Trump I saw evangelicals trying take a man who clearly wasn’t a person of faith and downplay that aspect of his character and qualifications while simultaneously touting that he was going to be God’s instrument to Make America Great Again. I think that set a dangerous precedent. I think we should always push to nominate and elect leaders that have faith in God, who demonstrate some measure of humility before God. As I have written in two previous books and in this volume, I think that bar was lowered with President Trump based in large part to our evangelical leaders’ loyalty to the Republican party and to some unmeasurable extent to the degree that they shared the same conscious and unconscious biases that President Trump does.
We love to look back on American history and boast that our Founding Fathers were men of faith. Many cringed when statues were toppled because it was pointed out that many of these heroes were former slave owners or condoned the massacres of Indians, etc. We wanted to have men of faith, character, and integrity then but not now?
I don’t have as a great a problem with my evangelical leaders support of candidate Trump in 2016 as I do with their support in 2020. If we didn’t know who he was in 2016 we certainly did in 2020. I think I could even reconcile evangelical support for the president in 2020 if there had been a balanced accounting of his character flaws and integrity lapses. I heard negative things about President Obama from the pulpit and from evangelists on national television. But with President Trump there was a lot of reluctance to do so from the one entity powerful enough to rebuke him and still support him after he corrected course. Even the church let him achieve champion status to the point that he was allowed to run unchecked, doing, saying, and tweeting things unbecoming to the Office of the President of the United States.
I am reminded of the Lord’s rebuke of the prophet Samuel in 1 Sam 16:1. It might sound harsh, but I think the shoe fits for some of our prophets today:
“The LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.’ ”
It’s hard to describe the denial and even mourning that I have seen by high profile evangelicals and “prophets” after the president lost his re-election bid. They allowed him to remain elevated to such an extent that he became the greatest threat to America’s constitutional democracy since her independence. Even after it was clear that millions of fraudulent ballots had not been cast in multiple states, the president was allowed to proceed with his baseless and disruptive claims against the integrity of the greatest democracy on earth, largely unchecked by evangelical leaders.
Where was the uproar from the president and even the evangelical community when it was clear from the vantage point of the highest levels of our national security and intelligence officials that the Russians had intervened in our election process to aid candidate Trump? Did God need the help of the Russians to put Donald Trump in office? These questions remind us of the questions that the prophet Elijah asked the prophets of Ba’al as they cried out to their god for a response that wasn’t forthcoming. I’m not calling our modern-day prophets the prophets of Ba’al. But watching some of their post-election actions evoke the same type of laughter in me as was provoked in Elijah as he mocked the other prophets’ actions to produce an outcome that was not going to happen.
The Scriptures below talk about how people can prophesy “out of their own heart.”
“Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Tell those who prophesy out of their own imagination: Hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Lord GOD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, yet have seen nothing…”
“Now, O son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them.”
It has been my personal experience that it is easy to miss it or prophesy out of our own hearts when it’s something that we really want to happen. We can desire something so bad, that the desire in our hearts drowns out the voice of the Holy Spirit. I don’t believe for one moment that many of our national Christian leaders are false or lying prophets. I do believe that their infatuation with the president, their loyalty to the Republican Party, and their desire to keep conservative leading officials in the White House has clouded their ability to hear from the Spirit of God as to what was really happening and what was going to happen. Many of these leaders put too much trust in a man and it caused them to misattribute the words and desires of their hearts to “the Word of the Lord.”
This is an important point because their actions damage the witness of the power of the Holy Spirit and the validity of prophecy. I believed continued instances like this could hasten the transfer of the mantle of Christian leadership to others. The lesson to not put the man above the One whom the man in office should be seeking, must be learned right away as 2024 will be here soon.
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