I bet if people were asked to think of a current crisis right now, at least in North America, many of them would talk about American Politics. And the state of the union in the United States of America.
The notion that Trump could actually be elected President seems to qualify the nation as a nation in a state of crisis. That there is a large group of people who actually want him to be president is utterly baffling to me. It reminds me a little bit of when the nation of Israel asked for a King.
When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel…But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”
Okay, I would just like to point out here that trouble had been brewing for a long time. Samuel knew his sons were up to no good. The elders of Israel were right to be concerned. Who wants their land to be ruled by judges who are corrupt!? Let’s at least acknowledge that something had to change. Israel was in a crisis state. But this crisis state did not just instantaneously, out of the blue, arise at one point in time. No. The trouble had been brewing for a long time, and Samuel had not addressed it obviously. Instead, he created a flawed succession plan.
Trouble has been brewing in the U.S. for a long time. Trump has outed, or perhaps loosed, the racists and bigots in the country by the very fact that he is one himself. We have recently seen how deep that issue runs through the fabric of the nation with various shootings in various areas and unexpected responses to those shootings. That is just one of the problems that has come to light to show that the nation has not been healthy for quite some time. And the troubles have been swept under the rug in an attempt to maintain an image of a sort of holiness or perhaps rightness is a better word. But the fact that Trump is where he is did not create the crisis. The crisis has been created over time – trouble has been brewing for a long time. And people are right to want a change from a political system that has been corrupted over time. But the people have allowed a mostly prosperous experience to blind them to the issues needing to be addressed. Now the system is flawed and the crisis is coming to a head.
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. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them do.”
Makes me just want to shake Samuel. Like what were you thinking, Samuel?? But God tells him it is God that Israel is rejecting as king. Now this gets a little confusing. But the notes in the Bible with regards to this say that the offence was not that they asked for a king, but rather the type of king they wanted. Perhaps a king like the other nations? Their reasoning is flawed.
In the U.S., the people who are backing Trump are playing on the desire to get someone to shake up the system. It is not wrong to want to get someone in there to shake up a flawed system. But two wrongs do not make a right. Shaking up the system is not enough – it has got to be shaken up right. The people are focusing primarily on shaking up the system without regard to consequences and outcomes. Critical thinking and the ability to reason is pretty important.
Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 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[c] 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.”
Wow. Here’s the king they were asking for. One who would enslave their children. One who would steal the best land from his people. One who would steal the people’s servants and livestock. One who would enslave all the people. The people were warned.
The Republican presidential candidate has been forthright about various agenda items. Here is a good little writeup on Wikipedia (normally not used as a reference, but in this case, it is a step up – check out the full writeup from which this came here):
Trump’s populist positions in opposition to illegal immigration, various free trade agreements, and most military interventionism have earned him particular support among blue-collar voters and voters without college degrees. Many of his remarks have been highly controversial and have helped his campaign garner extensive coverage by the mainstream media.
Trump’s disdain for what he considers to be political correctness has been a staple theme of his campaign and has proved to be popular among his supporters, although mainstream commentators and some prominent Republicans have viewed him as appealing explicitly to racism. Trump’s most polarizing and widely reported statements have been about issues of immigration and border security, especially his proposed deportation of all illegal immigrants, the proposed construction of a substantial wall on the Mexico–United States border at Mexican expense, his characterizations of many illegal immigrants traveling over the Mexican border into the U.S. as “criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”, and a temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the U.S. (which he later modified to apply to people originating from countries with a history of terrorism against the United States or its allies).
Trump is a self-confessed racist with little regard for humanitarianism or even treating people with respect, much less with the dignity with which God calls us to treat all people. Trump would like walls built. Trump views people from other nations as “less than”. And this is the president the people want? The whole foundation of the United States is based on immigrants. (Gosh, there are so many other roads to go down here, but can’t do it.) The people have been warned.
So what happens?
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. The LORD answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”
Seriously? Read the previous little bit of scripture one more time to get that incredulous feeling. All those bad things the king is going to do? And they come up with “Okay, bring it on.” Honestly, we can see their flawed reasoning today, can’t we?
And yet, with all the ridiculousness that Trump brings to the table and all the ways he comes up against and violates values long established in the history of the U.S., including Christian values, he is now the Republican candidate for the presidency. Even if political correctness is the thing to battle (and personally, I don’t think it is the big war or the hill to die on), two wrongs don’t make a right.
The nation of Israel got King Saul – a very flawed leader who did the nation no good. God gave the people what they asked for. Will he do the same in the U.S.? I pray not.
Crisis of this sort does not all of a sudden happen. Trouble brews for a long, long time.