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First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. -- 1Timothy 2: 1-7 (ESV)
It is with profound sadness I write this devotional. Not because America voted for Donald Trump. This country has survived liars and scoundrels since it began. It should come as no surprise that a carnal world elects carnal kings, regardless of party. My sadness and concern is for the body of Christ. My sadness and concern is for what little is left of the church's witness for Jesus Christ. My concern is for how we move forward when the divisions left within the church seem more extreme than those in this country. You see beloved there is still a world out there that desperately needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They do not need tax cuts, border walls, or Supreme Court nominees. That is all just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I understand why they fought as hard as they did to protect the idol this country has become to them. It is what they are taught in the majority of the churches in this country. It is what they see in the alleged Christian leaders they idolize. Regardless, there is still time for the bride of Christ to be that shining city on a hill that Jesus commanded us to be. There is still an opportunity to redeem what time is left and be salt and light to a dying world. First however, we need to understand a few things in order to stop the relentless walk away from the Gospel we have undertaken.
The first thing we need to understand is that there are three parts of the will of God. There is His decretive will; things He decrees. He decreed that His only Son would go to the cross for our sins for example. There is His revealed will, which is the Bible. Lastly, there is His permissive will, which encompasses everything He allows. Most Christians have been poorly taught that they need to seek His decretive will when the reality is He rarely is going to share it with us. His ways are so much higher than ours and His thoughts so much higher as well. The reality is we have been given His revealed will and in that we ought to find His decretive will. I had a Christian woman once say to me that God showed her who her next husband was going to be. The only problem is she was still married and so was the guy! We can know from His revealed will that this was not part of His decretive will at all! The idea beloved is the more we seek out His revealed will, the closer we will find ourselves to His decretive will. Instead, we get in our minds through our wickedly deceitful hearts something that our flesh wants. We dress it up in Christianese and then seek some mystical confirmation. We can convince ourselves anything is of God's will when in all likelihood it is just our lying hearts and our sinful flesh.
Then there is God's permissive will. We all believe in the sovereignty of God. That means He is sovereign and in complete control over everything that happens. Because He did not desire His creation to be robots, we have free will. Evil entered the world through the fall of man. These are often the difficult questions we face from unbelievers. Why did my husband have to die? Why did my child get cancer? Why is there so much suffering in the world? Yes it is true that God allows it but to blame Him is to miss the point. Sinful man is to blame for the suffering in the world. Just think that we spent 6.8 billion dollars on this election alone. How much suffering could have been ended with that money? The truth is that when it comes to things like this we do not want God; we want a genie to grant us wishes and get back in the bottle until we need him again. It doesn't work that way beloved. Yes we may pray and God may intervene in our circumstance but prayer is supposed to be about understanding His heart, not trying to sway His will. Like Jesus said:
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." -- Luke 22: 42 (ESV)
I do not think we consider this moment enough. Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. The cross lies just ahead of Him and He prays for God to take it from Him. The qualifier however is -- not my will but yours be done. Let Your decretive will be done.
I say this as the backdrop of a very important realization we need to come to. The election of Donald Trump was not part of the decretive will of God. It was part of His permissive will. The same would have been true if His opponent had won. How do we know this? Because God might use all things for His glory but that does not mean He is responsible for evil. Perhaps God will use President-Elect Trump in great and mighty ways but the manner in which he ascended was most decidedly unchristlike. It was bad enough watching Christians and alleged Christian leaders fawn over him during the run up to Election Day. Toss our biblical values aside for the sake of our chosen lesser evil. But now that he has won, it seems many Christians are spiking the ball. They are claiming that God was responsible for the election of Donald Trump. To hold that position, short of His permissive will, is biblically ignorant. Not only that, but it further destroys what might be left of our witness. I do not need to get into the specifics all over again. We all know the things Donald Trump has said, proposed, and done. The world sees it too. They do not need to see the body of Christ looking the other way with a wink and a nod, while blaming it on God.
What about the King Cyrus example? Yes it is true that some false prophets incorrectly used the story of King Cyrus as prescriptive text when it was meant to be a descriptive text. They pretended that the prophecy was somehow being reborn when the actual story of King Cyrus was a fulfillment of prophecy. Beloved just because one time in 6000 years God specifically decreed that He would a pagan king as part of His decretive will does not mean we get to lift that for our own usage. Well, once again, who can we be sure? Because the story of King Cyrus was prophesied in the Bible!
who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose'; saying of Jerusalem, 'She shall be built,' and of the temple, 'Your foundation shall be laid.'" -- Isaiah 44: 28 (ESV)
This is an amazing prophecy, where Isaiah called Cyrus by name 150 years before Cyrus would walk the earth! That is how we know it is part of the decretive will of God because God Himself tells us. There is no ambiguity involved. So I will make you a deal. If you can find Donald Trump's name somewhere in the Bible, directly prophesied as this, then you can compare him to King Cyrus. If not, then leave Mr. Trump where he belongs -- as part of the permissive will of God.
That brings us to our Christian responsibility now that the country we live in has elected their leader. It is not our job to tear down Donald Trump. It is not our job to speak ill of him or wish calamity upon him. I checked with God and He has assured me that He still sits on the throne today. This election may have shocked the world but God was not surprised. Our key verses today outline for us exactly what our responsibilities are regarding President-Elect Trump. The first thing as always is prayer. We ought to pray for Donald Trump. We ought to intercede for him. We ought to make supplications on his behalf. He needs our prayer as any leader would. Foremost, we pray for his own salvation. I know that some of the false teachers and leaders tried to claim he was saved but we know this is untrue based on the fact that there was never any change in his rhetoric and the fact that it was heretic Paula White who allegedly led him to Christ. You cannot be led to Christ by someone who does not know Him. So pray for our leader because the Bible commands us to. We do not pray however for his agenda. We do not pray for a political platform. God explains in the key verses why we pray for our leaders. So that we might lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. That is an important take away considering the undignified manner in which the church behaved during the election season.
The next lesson from the key verses is that if we do this it is pleasing to God. Why? Because salvation is directly associated with it! He desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Note this does not say all Americans. I have seen Christians practically giddy about the notion of building a wall, deporting millions of people or banning all Muslims. Beloved there is only one God. There is one mediator between God and all men and that is Christ Jesus. He did not give Himself as a ransom just for you. He did so for everybody. Even the people you secretly hate. Even your sworn enemy. When Paul stood before King Agrippa, he had no concern for his mortal needs or even his own mortality. He saw an opportunity and he preached the Gospel:
And Agrippa said to Paul, "In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?" -- Acts 26: 28 (ESV)
I have been appointed a preacher for this beloved. We have a solemn duty and responsibility to the people of this planet, not just the ones in this country. Our responsibility is not to look to any man or woman but only to God. Our citizenship is in heaven, not America. We need to stop idolizing this country and get back to the Gospel. We need to stop idolizing any leaders in this country or in the church and get back to the Gospel. By the age of 30, Alexander the Great had conquered the known world. By age 33 he was dead. A footnote in history to a God who spans all time. Are we so foolish as to not realize this? Whatever God has decreed will come to pass and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Whatever he permits He does so through His sovereignty. Time is running out. Some might say that the result of yesterday's election portends a hastening of that time. That is neither here nor there because God has not revealed the day or the hour only that He find us about His work when He returns. Yet He also laments whether He will find any faith at all when He returns. Not faith in Donald Trump. Faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in the power of His Gospel. It is time to repair the damage we have wrought to our witness and get back to the only thing that should have mattered to begin with. The Gospel.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- November 9, 2016