Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men. – Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887
Picture it, Israel, 965 BC. King David is on his way out and King Solomon is on his way in. In just 40 years the Unified Kingdom will break into two: Israel and Judah. Over the next 200 years Israel will suffer the reign of 18 evil kings, ending in Assyrian captivity as directly attributed to their sin. Judah, on the other hand, will see the rise and fall of 12 evil kings, 6 Godly kings, and a couple whose downfall was a long life. By the end of King Zedekiah's evil reign, Judah will fall into Babylonian captivity and both she and Israel will cry to a God who predicted their downfall.
He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 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 Sam 8:11-18, NIV)
Israel refused to listen to Samuel and their reward was first Saul, eventually David, and then captivity. But what can we learn from the rebellious chosen people of God and their actions of 3,000 years ago? Quite a lot. Thanks for asking.
It has been all over the news over the last year, and a household topic of discussion since Thanksgiving. President Trump threatened to issue an Executive Order to build the southern border wall if he didn't get $5.7 billion from Congress. For their part Congress, led by now Speaker of the House Pelosi, rejects the idea that our nation needs a southern border wall and refuses to even discuss any merit such an edifice might have. One could argue the original poster child for sanctuary cities, dating all the way back to Berkeley, 1971 and the home of the Garcia Zarate's "not guilty" verdict, shares much in common with the Israel of Solomon's day. With the 5th largest economy in the world at a staggering $2.9 trillion, and a homeless crisis of near-Biblical proportions, California is representative of the success promised by America's rich history, and the abject failure wrought by the corruption and power that same success brings.
So now, nearly 50 years after that first Sanctuary City action in California, we have a President ready to use an Executive Order to get his wall, a Speaker threatening that such a precedent is a bad idea and a population that refuses to learn from Godly lessons of the past and instead demands a king, so to speak. While the media hones in on two titans, Pelosi and Trump, it's the Christians who really deserve the credit for where we are today. We were too quiet during Roe, too quiet during Engel, and yet we waited to speak for Trump v. Clinton.
We are not Israel. We are not God's chosen people. We are given the choice to follow Him and live by His decrees or not, and the only promise He has given us is eternal life, not corporeal riches. America may have resembled a Christian nation prior to Engel in 1962, but the last 60 years make me wonder if we aren't headed for Assyrian captivity, so to speak. Christian, will you remain silent while babies are murdered, immigration law is broken, despots are raised and we mere peasants are crushed under the weight of two battling Titans?
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14, NIV)
I have personally argued that God, in His infinite wisdom, raised this President to teach us a lesson. Our choice was Trump or Clinton – how can you not say God gave us a choice between bad and worse? How can you not agree we were pigeon-holed into learning this lesson one way or the other?
He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. (Dan 2:21, NIV)
So what do we do? We get down on our knees and pray for our country, for our fellow man, and for our very souls. If we are truly Solomon's Israel reincarnate, then we have just one hope of salvation for our children, our grandchildren, and our great grandchildren.
"When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chron 7:13-14, NIV)
–Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.