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A Sovereign God and Donald Trump

November 14, 2016

Last night (13th November 2016) I preached a sermon I didn’t agree with. Or rather, I was exploring an issue that I struggle with: the persistent Biblical assurance that God is in charge of world rulers and kings. Here are some of the verses I looked at:

Acts 17:26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

Romans 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Daniel 2:21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.

Daniel 4:17 The Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.

There’s also Moses telling an oppressive Pharaoh God raised him up for this particular time (Ex 9:16), God telling Isaiah centuries in advance the name of the Persian king that will let the Jews return home (Isa 45:1), and Jesus telling Pilate that he would have no authority over him if it hadn’t been given him from above (Jn 19:11). During Solomon’s reign we read – twice – that God raised up enemies against him: not that enemies rose up, but that God raised them up (1 Kings 11:14, 23).

The inescapable conclusion is that God is actively involved in raising up and deposing world rulers. Now, we tend to think that he is only doing that when we agree with the particular event – we give thanks for the fall of the Soviet Union, but don’t believe that God raised it up in the first place. And was it really God that put Hitler, Assad, Putin and Trump on their respective thrones?!

I realised that I really found this very hard to believe, and decided to explore it in the evening service. Now, we only have around 10-12 people in our regular evening services, and they can be quite interactive; so a number of people contributed to the discussion. (You can listen to it here: www.milfordonseabaptist.org.uk/media)

This didn’t really resolve the issue, especially when one member brought up Isa 45:7 towards the end of the discussion:

I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.

We decided to take another look at this next week, the last evening service before we hit Advent.

So there we are, and I would be most grateful for any input. I have a week (well, five days to be precise) to find – not a solution, but a good way of looking at the whole issue of God’s sovereignty in the light of his goodness and his purpose for the world …

Comment here, or email me on pastor@milfordonseabaptist.org.uk – I’ll be most interested to see what comes up!

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From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

3 Comments
  1. This is a very interesting topic.

    For me there are a few issues here why God raises such leaders. Firstly, he deals with the people He loves; he both favours and disciplines them. He also warns in advance the consequences of their disobedience. Secondly, there is the punishment of those who are rebellious to God, those who actively sin against Him.

    In raising up such leaders as those you mention (and there are many more who may appeal to our political liking, but are not of God), he has precise reasons for doing so, to achieve His ends as above.

    Some of these are:
    – To change our heart to desire Him (Israel, as slaves, called out to God)
    – To punish us for when we go astray (This Philistines were constantly used to punish Israel)
    – To allow the sin of people to reach full measure (as with those in Canaan before Israel)
    – To allow the full judgement of believers, Israel and the non believers (working towards the end times in Revelation)

    For me, the main issue for people stem from thinking God only does those things which he requires us to. For example he would not expect us to appoint ungodly men, or hurt our enemies. But we are not called to judge the world or discipline it.

    Also, our definition of good can be wrong. We have to look at God to define this, and not our earthly view

    All of this and more is his job, for He is God, and He is righteous, and He is good. So, we can trust in Him to do all that is righteous, and good. We are not called to understand, just to trust.

    You mention Hitler. I think this is a fantastic case to look at, and one which is the hardest and most gut wrenching. David Pawson examines this in detail here: http://davidpawson.org/resources/series/lessons-of-the-holocaust-for-jews-and-christians

    Please don’t accept this on the understanding I am either comfortable or understand all this,

    Blessings, grace and peace.

  2. Another point, which I forgot to mention, is that God does not agree with those people he appoints. He allows their sin to achieve His ends, but he punishes them too.

    Moab is a good example. They were raised up to discipline Israel, but were punished, especially when they revelled in it. So much so they do not exist.

    So, if these leaders are raised up and are evil, then they will be punished.

    • Thanks for your comments! I agree with this; I just find it difficult to accept that a righteous God would raise up ungodly rulers, even if (or specifically because) he will then punish them for their sin. Main problem is that I try and explain God’s actions based on my limited knowledge and understanding…

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