" ... that the living may know that the Most High is Sovereign over the Kingdom of Man and grants it to whom He wishes, and He sets over it the lowest of men" (Daniel 4:17).
These words were spoken to Nebuchadnezzar, the great world ruler of his day, one year before he was driven mad. We may see them as an ancient rebuke to a man, arrogant in the belief that all of his great realm was the product of his own doing. We may fail to see that it is a truth as relevant today as it was two and a half millennia ago.
Today we see and hear in the world many Nebuchadnezzars, "speaking loud boasts of folly" (2 Peter 12:18 ESV). And in the good old USA we have a loud mouthed contender for President who fits the description. It seems that daily some new arrogant racist remarks spew from his lips. And he is now the candidate of one of our two major political parties.
It wasn't long ago that Donald Trump was considered by many to be an anomaly, a rich source of material for the late night comics - nothing more. The pundits and talking heads were predicting his disappearance from the Presidential race at any moment. The pundits are no longer making predictions; their speculations are presented with great caution. The comedians are getting sharper and more pointed in their comments. Will this man become our next President?? If so, the statement quoted above will be verified.
As one who has been attempting for the last 60 years to observe and interpret American politics and history from a Christian and biblical perspective, I have been trying to wrap my head around all of this. Presidents and Presidential candidates have come and gone, but never anything quite like what we are now seeing. How is God working all of these things for good? How should I as a follower of Christ, react?
Some pundits and even scholars have cautiously predicted the possible collapse of the Republican party That's doubtful; we've heard similar predictions about one party or the other every election cycle in my memory. But perhaps what is happening will lead to the collapse of the Religious Right, or at least the (illicit?) love affair between many Evangelical Christian leaders and the Republican Party.
To the embarrassment of many followers of Christ we have heard for years those who are (or believe they are) our spokesmen making authoritative political pronouncements, even to the point of endorsing Presidential candidates. We have winced as we have heard people whom we have respected - even admired - inserting their foot in their mouths.
And here we are today - Republican leaders doing their little two-step: "Donald Trump may be a hateful racist bigoted bully who seems to have no concept of truth, but we'll still endorse his candidacy." Really? Well, what about those on the Religious Right, some of whom have already given him their blessing? Are they going to do the same? Or will they (we} finally realize that they (we) need to keep their (our) mouths shut and get back to the business that Jesus left us here to do - making disciples, loving our neighbors?
I can't predict what will occur on election day or in the four years following. I do hope, however, that somehow God will use whatever He sovereignly brings to pass to purify His church and to get the church in America (myself included) back on course.