Jeremiah was a prophet who spoke to the nation of Judah in her last days. The LORD Himself told Jeremiah that he was known and consecrated before he was formed in the womb, and appoint "a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5). Despite Jeremiah's objections the LORD gave him his assignment.
"See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant." (1:10)
Jeremiah was given an assignment that would seem to us to be paradoxical. He was to call his nation to repentance for their sin and at the same time to announce inevitable judgment. He knew that he was speaking to a nation - his nation - that was doomed. It appears that he was not happy with his assignment and his message. He was filled with grief over the doom of his native land.
Jeremiah was a patriot. He loved his country. He wept over its forthcoming doom. Yet as we read his story, we find that his own people hated him and considered him a traitor. He was imprisoned for his message - cast into a slime filled pit.
And Jeremiah argued with the LORD. He even at times appeared to be angry. Much of his book is a dialogue. Often when given a message, he responds and complains.
"Then I said, 'Ah Lord GOD, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying it will be peace, whereas a sword touches their throat.'" (4:10)
"My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain!
Oh the walls of my heart
My heart is beating wildly;
I cannot keep silent,
for I hear the sound of the trumpet,
the alarm of war." (4:19)
He wants to run away from the sight of the destruction.
"Oh that my head were waters
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night
for the slain of the daughter of my people!
Oh that I had in the desert
a travelers' lodging place,
that I might leave my people
and go away from them!
For they are all adulterers,
a company of treacherous men." (9:1, 2)
And on and on the tragic tale goes.
Tuesday, November 8, America elected Donald Trump as their next president. Here is a man who preaches hatred for Mexican immigrants and for Muslims, who mocks the handicapped and war heroes, who has boasted about sexually molesting women, who claims he has no need for forgiveness; I could go on and on, but most of us have heard his pronouncements daily on the news. He has received the endorsement of many "Christian" leaders, and members of his own party - even those he has verbally degraded - as well as the KKK and other right-wing hate groups.
So what is the reaction of the Christian community? Bland, sappy messages on unity. Where is the anger? Where is the righteous indignation? When I express anger, I am reminded that God is in control, that He sets up kings, etc., as if I didn't know that.
God is sovereign. Nothing happens that is somehow out of His plan. And yet He holds us accountable for our actions. If we really believe in His sovereignty we know that He not only set up Trump, He also set up Hitler, but that did not absolve the German church for their complicity.
I haven't, like Jeremiah, argued with God. I don't know His reason for allowing Donald Trump to become our president. My fear is that the case may be as John Calvin is reputed to have said, "When God wants to judge a nation, He gives them wicked rulers."
[NOTE: I posted the following paragraphs on my Facebook page at various times and received mixed reactions. I am not reproducing the comments.]
Bill Ball, November 9 at 9:07 p.m.
I read posts by many who are telling us that we as Christians should seek unity after the election. Pardon me but where were the calls for unity during the past year and a half when many of our "Christian" leaders were endorsing a man for president who preached disunity and hatred for all who are different. I can't seek unity with those who reject everything I want to stand for as a follower of Christ.
Bill Ball, November 9 at 2:20 p.m.
Eight years ago America elected a good man as President and for eight years we heard slander and conspiracy theories and hatred directed at him by our family and "friends" on the right, most of whom claimed to be Christians. Now America has chosen a hate mongering racist xenophobic bully for president and our family and "friends" tell us it's God's will and that we should not be angry. Well I AM angry. I'm angry at the pious hypocrisy most of all!!!
Bill Ball, November 9 at 8:30 p.m.
I am an unapologetic Democrat. I have not voted for a Republican since Gerald Ford. I have been disappointed in many elections. I have respected the decisions made by the American voters and the man chosen for president every time. But this election was different. The American voters have chosen a president who has spouted hatred for those he thinks are unworthy of our country including our present President. I cannot respect a man like Donald Trump. I am not just being a sore loser. I fear for our country and especially those who are minorities. I fear he will set back all the progress America has made in human rights.
I'm still fearful for my country and even more fearful for the church in America. And I'm still angry at the hypocrisy of the Christian leaders who backed Trump and at the hypocrisy of those who want me to just be nice!