Thursday, January 26, 2017

An Inauguration Postscript

Human agency and God's sovereignty have always existed in tension. This I know because the Bible tells me so. Remembering that, of the two, God's sovereignty is the superior value leads to great peace.

Years ago, a dear friend got married. I was part of the inner circle and possessor of information. When she announced her engagement, and her other friends were doing high fives and happy dances, there I was, looking for all the world like a sour little thundercloud. "Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it," I thought. Then, "Ohhhh, you did it." Suddenly, all that information became irrelevant. He was God's man now, and I offered my warmest support. How could I do less? This was God's covenant.

I think I felt the same way on Inauguration Day. There I was, hoping against hope that God would, in His mercy, stay His hand. "Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it! Ohhhh, You did it!" And Donald Trump is God's man now. Some of us think he's a mercy, like King David; some of us think he's a judgment like Sennacherib. But that's largely irrelevant now. President Trump is God's man. I am throwing my support behind him because I am throwing my support behind God. How can I do less?

Sometime during the night on Inauguration Day, I awoke. And while I lay there, I thought about the prospect of this new administration being like an exile, a judgment, for God's people. And I wondered if God had any words of comfort for a people heading into exile. Jeremiah was the prophet of the exile. What did he say to the people on God's behalf? Here's what dropped into my mind:

Build houses. Plant vineyards. Have children.

The next morning, I looked up the verse in context. Well, lo and behold, it was Jeremiah 29:

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare, you will find welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord. For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed fro Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and pray to me and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (Jeremiah 29:4-14)

IF this is an exile, THEN here are my marching orders:
1. This is God's doing. If I oppose this administration, I am opposing God. (I am rebuked by this.)
2. Join in what God is doing: build houses, plant vineyards, have children. In other words: Flourish; we're going to be here for a while. 
3. Seek the welfare of the city. I'm not sure what this looks like. Attend city council meetings? Find a literacy group and teach someone to read? Drive the speed limit? Keep my lawn manicured? March for life? But at the very least, it means what God says it means: pray to the Lord on its behalf.

God is the God of The Exile. And what was He doing during The Exile?
He was uprooting, and He was planting.
He was tearing down, and He was building.
He was bringing judgment on and planning good things for His elect.
I have one job: to bend my will to His and to do it joyfully.

So I prayed for President Trump yesterday. And it wasn't the stingy prayer wrapped in chicken liver that I thought it would be back on Inauguration Day. It was a privilege.

Whether you agree with me or think that I've lost my mind, please join me in praying for this man, God's man for this hour. Pray for President Trump. He is now arguably the most powerful man in the world. Pray for him to assemble a team of wise counselors who give godly advice. Pray for him to bear the burden and the pressure of leading this country. Pray for him to respect the Constitution and the rule of law. (This is a serious concern, as no one tells Mr. Trump what to do.) And, most importantly, pray for salvation to come to him and to his household.

I have not said that "God told me" any of this. And I will not say that now. There is nothing that shuts down meaningful debate among believers quite like, "God told me..." or "God is calling me..." I freely admit that I could be wrong. I freely admit that I might one day find out that a Trump Presidency was a boon from the Lord to this country.

Either way, he is God's man, and this is God's plan.
And I'm all in. And

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