Friday, January 15, 2016

Kings and Presidential Candidates (Why I Don’t Support Donald Trump)

I admit that I am not an expert on politics.  Many people follow politics much more closely than I do.  However, I have spent a lot of time studying the books of 1 and 2 Kings in the Bible.  Last year, from August through November, I preached a sermon series on Kings.  This gave me an opportunity to spend a lot of time reading, rereading, praying over, and studying these two wonderful books in the Bible.  It turns out that these books teach a principle which can help us to choose presidential candidates.

In the two books of Kings, the Bible tells the story of each King of Judah and Israel from King Solomon to King Zedekiah, over a period of about 400 years.  What’s important for our purposes is that God gives an evaluation of each king.

A study of how God evaluates each king quickly reveals that there was one main criteria for God’s judgment.  God did not seem to care how rich or charismatic they were, or whether they were successful in building cities.  There was one issue which God focused on with great clarity and consistency.  That issue was what each king did with respect to Israel’s “sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1).  For Israel, that national sin was various forms of idolatry.

The kings which got the worst reviews from God were the kings who added to idolatry in their own lives and in the nation.  There are many examples, including: 1 Kings 11:6-7; 1 Kings 12:31; 1 Kings 16:30-31.

The “pretty good kings” did not worship idols, but also did not remove all the idols.  Examples can be seen here:  1 Kings 15:14 and 1 Kings 22:43.

Two kings received the greatest praise from God:  King Hezekiah and King Josiah.  In the stories of both of these kings we read how they did not worship idols and how they actually worked very hard to remove idols throughout the land (beginning in 2 Kings 18:3 and 2 Kings 23:4).

Idolatry was a common sin in the time of Israel’s kings.  Idolatry was “normal”.  It was widespread.  If you had lived in Israel in the time of the kings, very likely many of your friends, family members, and neighbors would have been involved in, and would have supported and defended, idolatry.  Are there sins which are widely accepted and practiced in America today?  Of course.  Baal and Asherah are not popular these days, but homosexuality, abortion, unfaithfulness to families, sexual immorality, and greed are widespread and thriving.

What’s important to God should be important to us. So I do not want to support any candidate who, over their life so far, have promoted (by example and word) our national idols rather than resist and work to remove them.   No candidate is perfect (and neither am I), but just as there was a real difference between the kings of Israel with respect to idolatry, there are real differences between the presidential candidates.

This is why it is very unlikely that I will ever vote for a democrat.  The Democratic Party has consistently defended, and even promoted and celebrated, several “national sins” including abortion and homosexuality.

This principle is also why I do not support Donald Trump for the Republican nomination and why I urge my brothers and sisters in Christ who do support him to reconsider.

Here are a few specific areas where Trump has been entangled by these sins:

1.  One huge area of sin which is devastating our nation is fathers and husbands who are not faithful to their wives and families.  Donald Trump is on his third wife and he has not always been faithful while married.  This is a terrible example to our young people.

2.  A related area of sin is sexual immorality.  Donald Trump wrote in his own book:

Oftentimes when I was sleeping with one of the top women in the world I would say to myself, thinking about me as a boy from Queens, "Can you believe what I am getting?"

(This quote is from Trump’s book, Think Big:  Make it Happen in Business and Life).

3.  Greed and materialism are also widespread national sins.  Russell Moore writes about Trump:

He is, after all, a casino and real estate mogul who has built his career off gambling, a moral vice and an economic swindle that oppresses the poorest and most desperate. When Mr. Trump’s casinos fail, he can simply file bankruptcy and move on. The lives and families destroyed by the casino industry cannot move on so easily.

You can read Moore’s entire article, which is excellent, here:

Finally, I want to point out that it is not only the books of 1 and 2 Kings which teach us that a person’s character and moral example are the most important factors when choosing leaders.  In 1 Timothy and in Titus, Paul gives us guidelines for choosing leaders in the church.  The main criteria is the moral example and character of those being considered.  Paul writes,

NIV  1 Timothy 3:5 If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?

While choosing a President is not exactly the same as choosing a pastor or deacon, I think it would be reasonable to ask:

If a man has repeatedly not been faithful to his own wife (or worse, wives), why should we trust him to faithfully serve as our nation’s leader?

I pray that God will give us all wisdom as we choose our next President.  And I pray that He will have mercy on us and bless us with a President who is better than we deserve.

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