In a country that is increasingly politically divided, there is a group among President Trump’s most loyal supporters who are called by the media ‘evangelicals’. According to this group President Trump has been ‘anointed’ by God to make America great. That he is like a Cyrus, King of Persia, who was raised up by God to allow a group of Jewish people to go from exile to build a Temple for the worship of God in Jerusalem and eventually to allow the walls of Jerusalem to be rebuilt. There was no claim that he was a godly man, just a man ‘anointed’ by God to be King. Similarly President Trump is not offered as a godly man as his moral and spiritual failures are too evident to all. But to this group he deserves our unquestioning support as the ‘anointed’ to make America great.
We know God wants America good by His standards for nations, as He does for all nations, but why would God want America great as opposed to any other nation? As we search the Bible and its prophecies of this age, where do we ever read that God’s purpose is to make one nation great as opposed to others? That answer is none. Even Israel won’t be great until they embrace the Lord Jesus as Messiah, Savior, Lord, and King. And what would a Biblically good nation look like? To the President, greatness is measured solely by wealth and an ability to live in isolation from the rest of the world and its problems. Wealth is the measure of greatness and other nations exist to have trade deals that add to our wealth and for us to have border policies that protect us from those who would come for our wealth.
In this current administration, money is the measure of everything. North Korea is invited to denuclearize because it would bring in an era of financial prosperity for them. The current offer to Israel and Palestinian is called “The Deal of the Century”, not a peace plan, because its offer is to bring financial prosperity to Palestinians. When did peace plans get be changed to deals? Even as some of you are reading this, you are wondering what’s wrong with that? If it pays off financially, isn’t that most important? Yet, if wealth is the measure of everything, why did Jesus say, “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15)? If wealth is the measure of everything why does the Bible say the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil and its pursuit will lead people to ruin and destruction (1 Timothy 6:9-10)?
The Bible does talk about the pursuit of greatness in our world. The Bible says that the Lord Jesus Christ alone is great and worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing (Revelation 5:12). The church of the Lord Jesus Christ lives to make His name great. No one else is worthy. No one else could ever come into a place to be called the ‘anointed’.
The Bible says the greatness of God is not displayed in any nation. The glory of God is displayed in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. We lift high no leader, no nation, only the cross of the Lord Jesus. As the Apostle Paul wrote by the Holy Spirit in Galatians 6:14, “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” We also learn through the cross that God has a special love and desire for those who the world regards as low and despised, for they are the chosen of God. As the Bible states in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are. God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” We
know that no governmental systems nor laws can make a people righteous. Only the Lord Jesus and the cross can change hearts and lead to changed lives. That is why our passion is to proclaim the Gospel and we say with Paul, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16).
The Bible says the reflection of God’s glory on earth is not any nation, but the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The church is for the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:12). The greatness of the church is that it is a spiritual body made up of people from every nation, tribe, people, and language. Jesus has come to tear down the walls of division by nationalism, tribalism, ethnic pride, or prejudice in order to make us one new person – through the Lord Jesus – one with God and one with one another with all the walls of division torn down (Ephesians 2:11-22). Jesus promised that in this world, He is building the church and all gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
We also know the Bible teaches us not to put our love on any nation because we are a people pursuing a better city, a better country. We are like Abraham willing to live in this world as sojourners who long for the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem. It is said in Hebrews 11:14-16, “For people who speak thus make it clear they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” We are patriots of the true Fatherland, the New Jerusalem.
It is true God’s hands directs the establishment of nations. He sets a nation’s boundaries, times, and seasons (Acts 17:26-27). It is true that leaders are established by God, and He causes Kings to rise and Kings to fall (Isaiah 40:22-24). It is true we are to honor our leaders as those who are put into place by God. When the Apostle Paul was writing to honor the King, it was Nero, one of the most evil of the Caesars in his treatment of Christians who was the ruler (Romans 13:1). It is true that those who take up arms as instruments of the State are servants of God. We are grateful for those who have and do put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe. We are to pay taxes and follow the laws (Romans 13:5-7). We are to pray for rulers, leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2). The purpose of good government is that we may live a peaceful and godly life, dignified in every way. As this is a representative government, we are to vote and seek God’s wisdom in using our vote. We know that those who uphold the right of the unborn and those who uphold the rights of Israel are important values to govern our choices, but they are not exclusive values.
We also know what would make a government that is good in God’s eyes is a government that upholds righteousness both in laws and in moral and spiritual character (Proverbs 14:34). We know that the Lord Jesus will judge nations in what they did for those who are strangers, hungry, thirsty, naked (Matthew 25:41-46). We know that God blesses those people and nations who use what God entrusts to them to bless others (Genesis 12:1-3).
The key founders of the USA were not seeking to make a great nation. They were seeking a place where the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ could be freely preached. They were seeking a place where people could practice their worship of God free from government interference. They were seeking a place where the government would be representative and the taxes fair. But they were not seeking a King. They were not seeking an ‘anointed’ ruler. In fact, when England insisted that the King ruled by divine right and must be supported and taxes paid no matter how unjust or unfair, they rose in united voice to say, “We have no King but Jesus.” May we join our hearts with them. May the church be devoted to making the name of Jesus great. May the church be united in raising up the cross of Jesus to people of all nations. May the church be united in being the place were all the walls of division are torn down. May we with passion, purpose, time, wealth, abilities live to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to all peoples. And may we make it our longing not for a nation to be great, but for Jesus to come, for only through Him will there be peace on earth and good will to men (Luke 2:11-14, Revelation 22:20).