Church Leadership & Political Change
This short story helps identify part of the problem – and hope! But, consider this as you read:
God provided Israel a king (Saul) – even as the Lord Himself counseled against Israel’s request. The people’s unbelief hurt the heart of the Lord – yet, He granted them what they demanded. In the end, their unbelief would cost them greatly. We have forgotten this truth in history.
It is the position of this word of HOPE, that God will once again do the same as He did for Israel, even for America. But, at what cost? He hears the cries of His unbelieving and scattered flock. But remember this before celebrating… God may grant the request for a leader to defend the “Church,” but in the end, active individual faith set aside, will have a cost, just as it did for the later King David – and Israel. God was clear as He spoke to the prophet Zechariah (4:6)… He told him that the temple would be built, not by might, nor by power, but, by the Lord’s Spirit. The American Church has forgotten God, even as we scream to Him to save us. Just remember as the Lord provides a King for America, that the magnitude of unbelief hurts His heart, and positions the nation for further destruction in the future.
Saul was indeed anointed by God, as was King David. David paid a great price as he learned to submit to God’s plan for his life. Israel suffered great distress over their inability to trust and obey the One true King. Many are already yelling that Donald Trump is God’s anointed. Some are likening him to the “New Nehemiah.” Yet, it may be wise to remember that Nehemiah was moved by the pain he experienced, and then by God to restore the people he loved. He was God’s man of faith. God uses heathen Kings, and we should pray that He will work in and through them. But mistaking predictive analytics and techniques for prophetic utterance, and political savvy for God’s divine hand is a big mistake and equal to walking on very dangerous spiritual ground.
There is hope. There is always hope. God will certainly answer the cries of His people. It is good though to remember that cries born of unbelief, and generations of apathetic, and inert “faith,” will surely come with a price… Israel celebrated when Saul was anointed King over Israel.
It is at this point, where America will have decisions to make. Such things never come to pass without a price to be paid. May God’s grace be on our nation and may the people of the American Church repent, humble ourselves, and pray. Perhaps then – and I would say, only then, God may heal our land.
There is HOPE, even when times seem the darkest.
Israel Demands a King
Here’s some of what happened and how it relates to today:
In the old days of Israel, Samuel was a prophet of God and the people of Israel did not need a king. They obeyed God and He provided for them. (Imagine that – it was truth!) God’s hand on His people Israel was clear and Israel rose and fell in battle based on their obedience and relationship with God. But, they had been having troubles with the Philistines, one of the most brutal, wicked peoples in all of history. They were afraid – and frustrated. They wanted a king to lead them and to “fight for them.” In short, they rejected God and argued with Samuel over how leadership of their nation should be engaged.
It’s critical to remember history as it was in truth, and not how we want it to have been… If we can do that here, then we realize quickly that the people were afraid because they had taken actions that caused them to separate themselves from God and turned their backs on the very One, Whom gave them their security. We, the contemporary Church in America today have done something very similar… See what you think.
A rally-cry has risen among Church leadership seeking a leader to save us from tyranny and to protect our “religious freedom,” and perhaps also – to fight for us. (Have we abandoned trusting God as He taught us in Exodus 14?) Much like the people of Israel, we stopped a long time ago, trusting in the One, Whom fights for us, and began fighting for ourselves, and standing up new “programs and teachings,” to draw (like business) people into buildings. We turned away from teaching the freedom in Christ, and the POWER of His resurrection. The people of Israel, like our nation’s fathers blamed their frustrations and fears on God’s inaction and turned to self-reliance, and a social gospel; and so, they (and we) sought answers in worldly things… They (Israel) said to Samuel, “Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”
Change by Force vs. Change by Faith
Their hearts turned from God and they had begun serving other gods and idols. Now, they wanted to be just like the other nations, and turned their backs on who they were in God, and who they were as God’s people. They wanted to be INDIVIDUALS, and do things THEIR WAY. So, God gave them a King and his name was Saul. Samuel told them that the king would come at a great cost, and that eventually they would cry out to the Lord, but the Lord would no longer hear their cries. In their emotion and zeal for CHANGE, they would not listen and demanded their way. The Lord gave them what they demanded.
Sometime later, and you remember the story… David, whom God had anointed to become King of Israel, at a later and appointed time, drew the wrath of King Saul. Jealousy in the heart of King Saul was at the root of his wrath against David.
David fled and was forced to live in the wilderness for a long time. Hiding and fleeing as Saul’s elite forces relentlessly chased and tracked him… There’s a small side bar that should not go unnoticed though… While David was living in the wilderness and hiding among the strongholds of the hills and caves, the Ziphites came to Saul. (The Ziphites were a local population from Ziph, a local town and wilderness area where David frequented.) These people were of the same tribe as David, but for their own purposes, chose to turn David in to Saul rather than attempt to protect or hide him. This happened twice! Betrayed by his own people, who clearly knew that Saul was wickedly, and for no reason, attempting to kill David. (How often we compromise our beliefs and integrity, when fear and panic begin to overtake our position in life.)
It is likely they did this for personal gain, again going against the prophetic notion and knowledge that David would be the next king of Israel? There’s two things to remember here:
- Saul gladly accepted their information. He then told them “Blessed are you of the Lord, for you have compassion on me.” (1 Samuel 23: 21)
- The people of Ziph were motivated by personal gain to pander to the king and to betray their brothers hiding among them.
There are several lessons in this short story and the incredibly amazing story of David’s confrontation with Saul. God ultimately won this engagement for David, but David suffered, he fought and he struggled. You might recall from the new testament that our “fight is not against flesh and blood…” for David would later, even in his own reign as king, fall directly to the rising of Satan, who led him into darkness and much pain. (A story for later)
Saul spoke a blessing in the name of God (Yahweh) to the people of Ziph. However, Saul had no place or authority to do this, and this blessing was nothing but words. He was “anointed” by God, but his heart became dark and evil entered his intentions. The blessing was only Saul’s wicked gratitude to them because they had helped him to locate God’s anointed (David and his mighty men), so he could kill them. So often we as Christians fall prey to the wicked who bless us and use the name of God (and Jesus) to deceive us and to gain our trust. For now, this will be the depth of this message, but this one evil tactic is something that we’ll talk about in depth in the near future.
The next lesson in this amazing story of God’s deliverance and redemption of David shows clearly that family, friends and even God’s people so quickly turn on one another when personal gain is at stake. David was from this region and obviously felt comfortable hiding and evading Saul’s military elite that were tracking him. In the end, his own people turned on him because they saw gain in seeking the [false] blessing of a wicked king. So often, even in our own day, we are able to see this unfold.
As this is written, Hillary Clinton is again under investigation by the FBI for fraud and other suspected criminal activities. Donald Trump continues to gain in flux in the polls – while some of the Christian community supports him, and some do not. Some even go as far as to say that Trump is God’s defender of the nation. Here’s the bottom line from my “Journey to Authentic”:
Just like the people of Israel, the Church today is seeking a king, and for someone at the top to deliver them, and provide them “religious liberty.” Yes, liberty is a great thing and we have benefited from the freedom our forefathers fought and died to obtain. Much of the history has been revised and we remain a conflicted sin-ridden nation. However, there have been some good things to emerge, and God’s Word and Church have thrived for a time. The same was true with Israel under Saul – but just for a time.
CHANGE BEGINS with each one of us, right where we are – right now. Trying to force a leader into the White House that we think is going to represent our needs and agendas is no different than the people of Israel on a national level, or the people of Ziph at a local level. Compromise and appeasement breeds separation from God and faith. And, we reap what we sow – in time.
The White House is only a reflection of who we are as a people. CHANGE MUST START WITH US AND THE LOCAL CHURCH. This is God’s ordained plan for Christians. The country is at war over ideologies and there is no doubt a spiritual battle underway. There is no other way to see the righteous in power, than for the righteous to be strong and courageous, right on the ground where they stand and fight each and every day.
We will see a King, or we will fall as a nation. The American Church has fallen in it’s responsibility to this generation and generations past. God will raise up a leader, or the nation will fall. It is that simple. Let’s watch and see what God chooses to do, and we’ll come back here after a time to discuss it some more. In the end, the American Church, like Israel, has lost it’s way. Leaders motivated by fear and anxiety have given in to pandering to politics. Faith is needed. Strength and courage are needed. We are very much in a time of CHANGE, but it’s not likely it will end like some believe.
Blessings on you and yours! Shalom.
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