Daniel 2:19-21 (NIV) “During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said: ‘Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.’”
There’s a great scene in the movie “A Man for All Seasons.” Thomas More is asking Henry the Eighth why he is obsessed with divorcing his wife Catherine, who was first married to his deceased brother Arthur. The King says, “It’s because of Leviticus 18:16 (KJV)
‘Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness.’” Then Henry the Eighth says “I’ve never seen the hand of God more clearly in my life! It’s because I’ve sinned that God won’t give me an heir!”
Well. Seeing the “hand of God” is a challenging undertaking. More than a few “prophets” and preachers have been certain of the mind of God and His ways in what we see in our world. More than a few have been entirely discredited. It is downright dangerous and subject to all kinds of false certainties. But … at times…we have heard from Him thru circumstances and in prayer. I have heard from Him. Dramatically and just a few times. Can I prove that? Not to the satisfaction of most people. So, those uneasy with this blog thus far can sign off right now. No offense.
Nothing special about me. But I do remember prophesying from the pulpit at Cornerstone before the election of November 2000. The Lord seemed to show me that Mr. Bush would win “by one.” I had no idea what that meant but, in fact, he won by one. One state. One electoral vote, one Supreme Court Justice. So … that kind of Divine insight is occasionally given. The same thing happened before the 2016 election when I joined many others certain that God would not let America be governed by a candidate who would bring about the killing of more unborn children. When I told a very few people that Mr. Trump would be elected, I was laughed out of the room. Now … this is not about me but something far more important. The will of God. In short, what all the political experts never factored in was the idea that God might have ordained the candidate that they despised … to be President. But He did. Not because of personal virtue or Godliness. But He did. In my view because of two things: murder in the womb and Israel being prepared for the Lord’s return.
Let’s consider the way that worldly people might look at this idea. Namely, the will of God or the hand of God. Can we expect them to believe in its reality? No. Picture this. We have four very bright people who make their living watching politics and analyzing what is happening. They are really very good at this. Which of course is why the idea that Trump could win was beyond impossible …. arguably absurd. “Can’t happen!” I was told. He would have to weave an impossible electoral path. (Which he did.) One in 99 pundits thought he might do it. I understood why they viewed it that way. Theirs was the sensible view of the matter. Indeed, the shock on the faces of much of the cable media proved the point. One could gather their responses into one horrified question: “How can this be happening?” I did not hear even ONE of them suggest that the election was the result of … the hand of God. With that in mind, let’s examine four views of God held by most of the people who study and write about politics at this time in our society. Picture four chairs all occupied by the smart people we hear from in the media including cable TV.
Seated in the first chair is the man/woman who believes there is no God. Period. End of discussion. For that expert, all talk of God is ridiculous nonsense and entirely irrelevant to our discussion. They will never bother looking for God’s hand because there is no God, in their view. Settled.
Seated in the second chair is an agnostic who thinks there may be a God, but no one can know. In any case, that expert is certainly not looking for evidence of His hand in human affairs.
In the third chair is a believer in God but, like most Americans …. he or she is a Deist. He believes that God exists and is Holy and a Day of Judgment will come. But here and now God is uninvolved. He made the world, but he is “hands off.” Like a great clockmaker. He wound it up and set it in place and now He just watches.
In the fourth chair, we find a real anomaly. He or she believes in God and that God is involved in human affairs. That’s the exceptional part. But, when it comes to explaining the Trump victory, God could not possibly have ordained that such a man, with a collection of wives and a history of profligacy and godless talk, to be president! This analyst believes God simply would not put such a man in the Oval Office. This analyst “knows” how God works and is amazed if anyone suggests otherwise. To repeat, in his mind, God could not have APPROVED of the Trump victory! This expert is sure that if God put His hand into the mix, out would come a perfect role model and a thoughtful, God-fearing gentleman. Not Trump.
Each of these experts has a point of view. But all of them, including the fourth one, fail to see that God often uses the least likely characters to do His will. Nebuchadnezzar was a violent and godless man but God used him to punish the wayward Israelites. God even called him “my servant!” In the same way that God used a wicked High Priest named Caiaphas and a mid-level governor named Pilate to bring about the Crucifixion of Jesus. Consider what Peter preached to some of his fellow Jews:
Acts 2:23 (NIV) “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”
Here is the truth of the matter if we can accept it. God willed that Jesus be Crucified. He had His own reason. And he used foolish and sinful men to bring it about. It was His hand.
All the experts have offered up explanations for Trump’s victory. It was Russia; It was voting machines. It was the idiocy of fifty million ignorant, racist fools who voted for him. None seem able to accept the Biblical truth that God ordained the man for His own reasons. But …. we evangelicals need to keep in mind that God also ordained every president from Mr. Obama back to Washington. To say nothing of Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler and all the fiends back to Caligula. God is sovereign and as Lincoln said, reflecting on the carnage of the Civil War “The Almighty has His own purposes!”
Keep looking for His hand in the next two years. Should be interesting. And pray.
Blessings! Pastor Alberta