What do we do now?First, I'd call us all to repentance. It "is time for judgment to begin at the household of God" (1 Peter 4:17). The world doesn't know better. What's our excuse? We'd best get ourselves straight with God. Tough times are coming. We must be prepared for battle.
It'd be an appropriate time to pray a Daniel 9 prayer of repentance. We read of no flaws in Daniel, no sins, no chinks in his character. Yet the prophet heartily said, "I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes" (Daniel 9:3); and "I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession" (v. 4).
And what a confession. Read it all, if you haven't. Here's just a taste:
"...we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 7 To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. "Second, we should disabuse ourselves of an unreasonable reliance on government or legislation.
Do not trust in nobles,Third, prepare for the worst and hope (and work) for the best.
in man, who cannot save.
...5 Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea and everything in them....
9...He frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The LORD reigns forever;
Zion, your God reigns for all generations.
(From Psalm 146 CSB; read the whole psalm)
Judah had an amazing Godsend of a king in Josiah. We read of him, "Before him there was no king like him who turned to the LORD with all his mind and with all his heart and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him" (2 Kings 23:25).
But note the very next words: "In spite of all that, the LORD did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath and anger, which burned against Judah because of all the provocations Manasseh had provoked Him with" (v. 26).
Judah had passed the Point of No Return as to Yahweh's judgment. Too much light rejected, too many opportunities refused, too many warnings spurned (cf. Proverbs 1:22-33).
Can anyone say, with any credibility, that America is not in that exact same situation? Let's be absolutely honest: God has every justification for reducing out nation to a smoking crater, right now, without a syllable of further warning. He may well use President Obama towards that end.
We should prepare for the worst.
At the same time, we should hope and strive. Consider Joel 2:12-14 —
Even now-- this is the LORD's declaration-- turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13 Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the LORD your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, and He relents from sending disaster. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him, so you can offer grain and wine to the LORD your God."Who knows?", the prophet asks. You don't; I don't. Amos speaks similarly, after some thundering threats and warnings:
Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph (Amos 6:15)America's turning away has brought it to a sad, bad place. But: "Even now," "Who knows?", and "It may be." The import is clear: we should repent, pray, strive, and hope.
Fourth, have an intelligent grasp of how Romans 13:1-7 applies to the American situation.
Paul teaches that God instituted all authority, and so we are to submit ourselves to the authorities over us. Since God instituted authority, to resist it is to resist God.
Now, before we "welcome our new insect overlords" in an uncritical application of this passage, let's remember a few things.
This is America, not Israel. It is a constitutional republic, not a monarchy (nor a straight democracy). When he takes office, Obama will be in charge of just one of the three branches of our government. He will be neither Messiah nor King.
What is the authority, in our system of government? It is the document that begins:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.The authority is the Constitution, and it was the people who ordained and established it. The Constitution divides power among three branches; it does not invest it in a potentate. The state is not Obama; he is neither Rex, nor Lex, nor the court. He is to execute laws made by another branch. It is an office with a good deal of power; but that power does not include being my sovereign nor my lord.
Further, the men who formed this nation thought it important to guarantee certain rights to me and to all Americans.
And what was the first right they saw fit to guarantee?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.I'm not Obama's serf, I'm not his subject, I'm not his slave. I have no king but Jesus, nor any Messiah but He. I'm an American citizen, and our ruling document guarantees and assures me the right to express my thoughts — including my dissent — openly and freely. Men fought and died to win me that right, and they still die to preserve it. I'm not giving it up just to be thought a nice, deep, compliant, pliable little evanjellybean creampuff.
This is my right. It not only is not a violation of Romans 13:1-7 but, you could plausibly argue, it is required by Romans 13:1-7.
How "required"? Because, in our system of government, I am part of the governing authority. I would see a failure to voice my views, and exert such influence as I have, as poor citizenship.
In fact — and truly, it embarrasses me to have to say this, but — Chuck Norris makes better contextual sense than some Christianoid flutterings I've seen. I know, I know: Chuck Norris. No, I'm serious.
So, put briefly, resisting what I see as unwise and/or evil designs from one representative of one branch of government not only is not rebelling against the governing authority, but it expresses respect for the established governing authority. Of which I am part.
So fifth, we should resist every foolish or evil thing Obama means to do, by every peaceful, lawful means at our disposal.
Instant Brockman response would be, "Why 'resist'? Shouldn't we welcome our new messianic overlord, and try to help him succeed in doing good things?"
My twofold response is (A) duh, I don't think I need to say everything, do I?; and (B) I don't know any distinctive thing that I believe Obama proposes to do that I don't see as foolish or evil. I mean, for instance, he hasn't proposed completely trashing all laws whatever; so I do support him on that thing he hasn't proposed to do. But radicalizing abortion access? Evil. Heading towards nationalized healthcare? Foolish.
And now finally I put sixth the thing your average evanjellybean (as well as good bro's) would put first: we should pray. Oh yes, pray. How should we pray?
- We should pray for national repentance and genuine revival
- We should pray that men in the pulpit would be bolder than ever and more fierce and fearless and passionate and Spirit-led than ever, in proclaiming the Word of God above all (cf. Daniel 11:32; 2 Thessalonians 3:1).
- We should pray that God convict Barack Obama of his sin, convince him of Christ's Lordship and of his need for Him, open his eyes to the Gospel, and bring him to repentant, saving faith.
- If that happens, we should pray that Barack Obama should be seriously and quickly discipled in the Word of God, that he would instantly begin putting off his corrupt and evil worldview, and replacing it with convictions that reflect the mind of God.
- Until then, we should pray for his safety, as he gives every sign of being a man who cannot afford to die. Also until then:
- We should pray that God frustrate all his evil plans and defeat every foolish, rapacious, harmful thing he means to visit on our nation (cf. 2 Samuel 15:31; Psalm 3:7; 9:16; 10:15; Proverbs 21:1; etc.);
- We should pray that God protect the innocent from Obama's designs further to expose them to heartless murder (Psalm 10:14b)
- We should pray that God raise up good, godly, responsible, wise, winsome leaders (cf. 1 Samuel 13:14).
So, in short, you could say I won't be going Kent Brockman on you.
Now comments are open, but do note: all rules (especially rule 1) are in effect.