Post-Trump Reflections 4: Inauguration of the King

Part 1: Dueling Moralities

Part 2: Care of the Poor in Scripture

Part 3: Turning to Assyria for Help

In the last post, we looked at God’s warning to King Ahaz not to put his trust in one god-less leader to ward off another. God promised a sign in Isaiah 7:14, a sign Ahaz said that he didn’t want but one that God sent anyway.

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.

By the time this sign emerges on the scene, Ahaz is long dead and the nation of Israel has become a small, powerless remnant. We meet Simeon and Anna in Luke 2, some of the few who remain devout in belief that God would fulfill His promise.

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,

“Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 A Light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

This baby was God’s salvation, the Light of revelation to even Gentile nations, and the glory of God’s people, the dispersed remnant of faithful believers. Jesus was later received into Jerusalem as king and then crucified by the same fickle crowd. But He rose again from the dead, defeating not just the oppressive rulers of the day but the very weapon that gave them power, the threat of death. Rulers would still oppress, but their greatest tool of manipulation, the fear of death, was defused. For true believers, death has lost its sting, the grave no longer threatening annihilation. We serve the One who has defeated the greatest threat of all.

Before Jesus returned to heaven, He gave us a new version of the same commission God gave at the Garden before death entered the world. Go into all the world. Overcome the chaos with the message of God’s kingdom. This remains our commission, though we feel a disaffected remnant in a “Christian” nation that chose a god-less leader to save them from terrorism abroad and closer to home.

We remain constrained by God’s commission. Go. Serve. Protect. Teach. Disciple.

We remain constrained by God’s instructions. Pray for our leaders. Pay our taxes. Pursue justice. Stand firm in our faith.

We do all of this under King Jesus, whose reign is now established. Other dictators have lost all of their weapons. They cannot threaten us with death, for God has overcome it, and death has lost its sting. They cannot threaten us with harm, financial or otherwise, because our God is sovereign, and we can trust His protection.

John 1
5 That light shines in the darkness,
yet the darkness can not overcome it.

Even in the middle of the fallout in Isaiah from Ahaz’s disastrous alliance with Assyria, the faithful remnant had hope.

Isaiah 26:12
Lord, you establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished you have done for us.

Isaiah repeatedly refers to this remnant, for whom God makes level paths in the middle of a treacherous landscape. God instructs in Isaiah 26:20 …

Go, my people, enter your rooms
and shut the doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until his wrath has passed by.

Go, enter your rooms and close your doors behind you. It is God’s job to bring peace, not your own, and we know that He will do it, for He cannot deny Himself.

This may be something of which you need to be occasionally reminded. But for me, it is the lifeblood for surviving not just day by day but hour by hour. As the inauguration of a leader who mercilessly mocks God’s image-bearers approaches, this must be my meditation for I am similarly tempted as Ahaz to put my trust in yet another. But the Light has come, and darkness will not overcome it. God has established peace for us, dear brother or sister in Christ. And any good that we accomplish, He is actually the one who did it for us. Hunker down for a bit as God rouses Himself to judge those who turn to idols while calling His children to lean into Him more and more. The true Name of God is secure. His glory will shine, and His word will be accomplished, not some adulterated version perverted by American nationalism but the good news of His care for those who cannot bring about their own salvation.

Luke 4: 16-20

He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

11 Responses to Post-Trump Reflections 4: Inauguration of the King

  1. Revd David A Young January 14, 2017 at 11:14 am #

    Wendy, I never comment publicly and the very last thing I would do is criticise – I appreciate your writing far too much for that. While I share your misgivings about your next President, I am just a little uncomfortable when it comes to actually calling anyone a “fool”. Are you OK with that? You say, “As the inauguration of a fool who mercilessly mocks God’s image-bearers approaches . . . ”
    Warmest greetings,
    David

    • Wendy January 14, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

      Good point, David. I think Trump meets the qualifications of a fool (see Part 3), but I am usually more careful not to actually call someone a fool. I’ll edit.

  2. A J MacDonald Jr January 14, 2017 at 11:30 am #

    You should read and review Keith Gile’s new book “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb”. It will be available January 20. Jesus Untangled – Q&A with Keith Giles https://youtu.be/ackr89-pSNo

    • Wendy January 14, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

      That sounds intriguing!

  3. Helen Louise Herndon January 14, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

    In my humble opinion, we are in a very hard place as Christians in our society and political arena. Some mock image-bearers of God and others are for the killing, even slaughtering, of image-bearers of God who aren’t even allowed to see the light of day. Oh! What a hard place we are in. At the same time there is much that goes on in the Church and Kingdom of God itself that can and does cause us to ache. It causes me to think of the song:

    “God and God alone created all these things we call our own
    From the mighty to the small the Glory in them all is God’s and God’s alone
    God and God alone is fit to take the universe’s throne
    Let everything that lives reserve it’s truest praise for God and God alone
    And the best and worst of man wont change the Master’s plan it’s God’s and God’s alone
    God and God alone will be the joy of our eternal home
    He will be our one desire Our hearts will never tire of God’s and God’s alone”

    • Wendy January 14, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

      Thanks, Helen.

  4. Alistair January 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm #

    Theoretically, would you have articulated a similar response had Hillary Clinton won? I think what you are saying applies both ways, but sometimes it takes a particular manifestation of godlessness to provoke an understanding and walking out of godly principles.

    • Wendy January 14, 2017 at 6:15 pm #

      Right. There are 2 things at play here. 1) I know many conservative Christians (re: Franklin Graham) that think Trump is some kind of respite from the perceived (and some real) evils of democratic administrations. And there are the statistics that evangelicals helped elect him. Conservative Christian support and rejoicing in the election of Trump’s wickedness is distinct from a potential Clinton win. Maybe Clinton is Syria and Trump Assyria in the Isaiah example. The issue is that Christians shouldn’t look to either as savior. But I saw no groundswell of Christians looking to Hilary as savior, so it seems a moot point. Obama maybe, but not Clinton. 2) The other issue is that Trump represents a specific kind of evil and foolishness. Hilary was a lot of things, but a fool wasn’t one of them. Though we could strongly argue that she doesn’t respect the life of the unborn, you can make a strong argument that she does better than many advocating for the dignity of the born. Even when she made the comment about “deplorables,” she quickly apologized, recognizing that talking of people that way wasn’t ok.

      This is why I think the lessons from Isaiah are so applicable. God called Ahaz to resist the wickedness of the Northern Tribes, Syria, AND Assyria. Instead, he embraced one type of wickedness to ward off another and ended up being consumed by the very thing he looked to rescue him.

  5. Alistair January 15, 2017 at 5:38 am #

    Wendy, I still believe your analysis is very good and your application of a biblical narrative is spot on – I do think it ruinous for Christians to look to Trump as saviour.

    My belief is that the current delving into the Bible is a blessing that has come from this election result. I seriously doubt whether a Hilary presidency would have caused this amount of searching of the Scriptures. It’s taken a jarring fool to cause Christian leaders to take a fresh look, but without standing in solidarity against evil on *all* sides, I’m unsure of how widespread the treasures from that digging will go.

    • Wendy January 15, 2017 at 6:42 am #

      Yes, I agree that Trump’s election has jarred many of us. And at least for me, it has caused serious Biblical study to understand what I am seeing and how to respond.

      I also see serious introspection among democrats and renewed vigor among pro-life democrats in particular to no longer give the party away on that issue. Louisiana elected a pro-life democratic governor, which is good. As more with a pro-all-of-life ethic turn to the democratic party on social justice issues, I hope something big changes.

  6. Keith Giles January 19, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    Wendy, love what you’re saying. My book, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb” touches on a lot of this.

    Anyone who wants to download a few sample chapters may do so here:
    https://bookgrabbr.com/books/49431-jesus-untangled

    And more info is available at: http://www.JesusUntangled.com

    Also: The book launches on Friday, Jan. 20 (Inauguration Day) at Amazon.

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