In 1 Samuel 8, Israel wanted a king like the other nations around them. They were not satisfied with God’s plan for how they should be governed. But what they were really saying is that God was not enough for them; they wanted a strong man – just like the other nations have. So God gave them Saul. In giving them what they whined for, God warned them that this king would treat them badly. They wanted him anyway.
Evangelicals celebrated the election of Trump as God’s answer to their prayers. They wanted a strong man, not a namby-pamby like his predecessor, but a strong man, admired much in the same light as the strong dictators the world has known. They were not satisfied with how they were being governed; they wanted a no nonsense man, a strong man that speaks his mind without fear of God or man. So God gave them Trump? They saw the signs and were warned about what this strong man would do, but they wanted him anyway.
Now evangelicals own this. Sometimes you have to get what you want to learn that is not what you need.
Not all answers to prayers are blessings (even though in this case it is more likely not an answer to prayer, but an example of the consequent will of God). Just because God may allow something doesn’t mean that he approves. Jesus said that divorce was allowed because of the hardness of the people’s hearts. The stubbornness of evangelicals demonstrated by discarding all moral restraints in reversing their demand that a leader must have a moral character) and embracing Trump, is an example of heart hardening.
Evangelicals are morally culpable for the moral, ethical and ungodly carnage that has been unleashed upon America, and consequently, the world, by virtue of America's moral leadership. They watched an immoral man boast about his immorality, and voted for him. They watched him mock the disabled, and voted for him. They watched him scrape the bottom of the indecency barrel with disgusting references to women, and voted for him. They watched him stoke racial prejudice, and voted for him. They watched him lie over and over and over again, and voted for him. They watched him promote violence, and voted for him. They watched him advocate for human rights violation, and voted for him. They watched him dismiss God, and voted for him. Evangelicals own this.
As of today, January 31, 2017, just ten days after being sworn in, he has managed to diminish America’s moral authority in the world to the point of making the nation and its citizens much less safe than they have been since 2001. In just ten days he has managed to make America’s troops serving abroad much less safe than they have ever been. Now, America’s word means virtually nothing to the rest of the world that it is supposed to lead for the good.
Franklin Graham lauds Trumps as one who will listen to the voice of God. But what does that mean? Can we say from what we have witnessed so far that this is the case? David Brooks seems to disagree as he wrote in the New York Times: “But if the last 10 days have made anything clear, it’s this: The Republican Fausts are in an untenable position. The deal they’ve struck with the devil comes at too high a price. It really will cost them their soul.”
Evangelicals were warned by many good Christians about selling their souls in abandoning godly principles and godly consciences for short term political gains. They were warned of being charmed by one who will tell them what they wanted to hear. They were advised to abide by the word of God and not be mesmerized by the offer of worldly gains. Instead, they believed and embraced a liar. They wanted him. And neither God nor man nor conscience could persuade them otherwise.
Staying with Brooks, his observations from a conservative perspective serve to highlight Trumps actions so far as antithetical to Christian values, and brings in to serious doubts that Trump listens to anyone but himself. Brooks writes “…the Trump administration is not a Republican administration; it is an ethnic nationalist administration… even if Trump’s ideology were not noxious, his incompetence is a threat to all around him. To say that it is amateur hour at the White House is to slander amateurs… it is hard to think of any administration in recent memory, on any level, whose identity is so tainted by cruelty… The Trump administration is often harsh and never kind.”
Is that what God wants? Acts of cruelty and unkindness? Where is the “bowels of mercy”; or compassion; or humility? No, that is not what God wants or told Trump to do. It is, however, what the evangelicals asked for, and got. They got Saul.
Saul was a disaster because he represented a choice above God. “But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king” 1 Samuel 8:6-7, NIV.
Evangelicals, do not try to pin this on God. You own it. And that is unfortunate for the Church. If indeed, Trump is God’s answer to prayer, it is because evangelicals rejected God. Now we have Saul, and disaster is already on the way. “When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day” 1 Samuel 8:18, NIV. There is a gospel song in which this line appears: “If we never needed the Lord before, we sure do need Him now!”
And how! God have mercy on us and forgive us of this sin.