The Book of Judges was a rough time in Isreal. It follows the birth of the Nation itself and takes place immediately after the great leaders Moses and Joshua bringing the Isrealites into the Promised Land.
After the initial occupation of the land, men and women who once vowed to follow God wherever He leads slowly fell away from their calling. They became comfortable with the wealth God bestowed on them and sat back to admire their own greatness. Whats more, they looked at the world around them and lusted after it, giving into their lowest fleshly desires for sex, money and power.
A nation that was founded to be holy, set apart and dedicated to God quickly became lost, turned away from God and began sacrificing to Molech and Baal, the false gods of prosperity and wealth.
Since they turned away from the God who brought them out of Egypt, disaster began to befall Israel during the time of the Judges with the surrounding nations repeatedly having their way with the once great people. Though God repeatedly raises up judges, Samson, Gideon and Barak for example to save them from this oppression, the people never really repent from the root problem that has been causing them such trouble – turning to fake gods rather then the only true God.
When things get really uncomfortable, the Israelites call out to God for help to get out of their painful position, away from the Ammonites for example, but they never turn away from the pursuit of pleasure, prosperity and wealth and seek to follow the Lord.
They just never get the fact that their success or failure is not dependent on the strength of their enemies but on whether they are following the Lord.
When things finally get really bad and the people get really tired of feeling the sting of their own sin, they come up with a revolutionary new plan. Their current structure in not working, they need to bring in someone to fix the problems.
Despite having a great prophet as their leader, Samuel who speaks directly to them from God, they decide that they need a strong leader to save them. They need a king over Israel so that they can be like all of the nations around them. The Bible says that they want someone who will fight their battles for them.
Did you catch that?
They caused the problems with their own unfaithfulness to God and their solution is to bring in someone who will take the place of God’s prophet and fight bad guys who are just a symptom of the actual problem. As an added plus, they can more comfortably put their faith in, a human king looks better marching in their parades and it makes them feel better about themselves with all of his kingly splendor. Kingly robes and titles are just more impressive than God and His prophet. Who cares that they are exchanging the One who split the Red Sea for some guy with a funny hat?
A king who fights their battles for them is also just easier. Repentance is hard. If they turn to God they have to admit that all of their troubles were their fault to begin with and they have to actually to listen to God. How uncool is that?
So the Israelites wind up choosing King Saul to be their self designated savior. His main attribute – He is taller than all of the other warriors in Israelites. He looks like he is tough and will whip everything into shape. Woohoo, he will make Israel great again!
Unfortunately Saul was just a person and a very flawed one at that. Power corrupts and great power corrupts greatly to mangle the saying. When they go to make Saul king they have to track him down as he is hiding in the baggage. He appears to understand how ill suited he is to the problems that they are facing. Within a few years, he is doing everything he can to hold onto his kingship, including trying to kill David, meeting with a sorcerer and killing the High Priest. It really did not go well for Saul or Israel.
So why bring up Saul on the day of Donald Trump’s Inauguration?
Donald Trump is not King Saul and the United States is not Israel. There are years left to see what Trump will do as president, hopefully he will have little in common with Saul as an insane American president would be very, very bad. Your guess is as good as mine at this point.
So what is the point?
Well, just as Israel did, we the people of the United States got ourselves into this mess. Through turning away from God and chasing after the things of the world, a country that was founded with God as the center of the vast majority of homes mainly left Him behind. We traded Jesus for the false gods of prosperity and wealth – we call it sex, drugs and rock and roll – and seemed surprised at the resulting chaos that this choice has ushered in.
We the people also have now chosen a savior figure who we believe will fight all of our battles for us and will just fix all of the things that need fixing. The economy, morality, our schools, political correctness, everything will be fixed on our behalf by the Donald. He will make America Great Again.
The overwhelming disconnect is the same as well – Trump is just a flawed man who does not seem to have any idea about the spiritual state of the country that he is taking over and doesn’t seem to care. Regardless, he cannot even get near enough to touch the real issue that is plaguing the nation – our hearts turned away from Jesus. Only we can do that. Donald Trump will never make America great again, only God can do that.
Each one of us, one by one, family by family, church by church, town by town following Jesus is what made America great in the first place. It is going to take each one of us individually turning back to God together to make any sort of real change. Donald Trump can’t do that. Hilary Clinton couldn’t do that either. Revival starts with one single person at a time turning their hearts to Jesus and saying to Him, lead me wherever you want me to go.
Until that happens, we are just going to be continuing to change the drapes on the Titanic. It may look different temporarily and we can fool ourselves if we want to, but we are still headed towards the iceberg.
I pray that Trump does a good job, just as I would have prayed that Clinton would have done a good job and prayed for President Obama. I like some of them more or less but God put them in power and told me to pray for them.
They are not our Savior though and never can be, that job is taken.
As Captain America says – There is only one God ma’am and I am pretty sure He doesn’t dress like that!