The election of Donald Trump as American President has elicited massive reactions worldwide – joy from those who see Trump as the man who will restore greatness to America and reinstate conservative values and despair – fear and loathing from those who are threatened by this.
There can be no doubt that Trump is a bludgeoning force to those of a liberal persuasion. For this reason, many Christians have adopted him as their champion.
Cutting through the politics of it all, there is only one criterion that matters and that is the election of God. Is Trump God’s choice for President? If he is, then those who oppose him are opposing God Himself. That is something for anyone who fears the Lord to consider and certainly something that all who don’t fear Him should definitely consider.
Now, in general terms and in ordinary times we would further qualify our leaders. Isaiah 22 would be a good place to start, where Eliakim’s fathering leadership is chosen in preference to the mercenary tendencies of Shebna. We need fathers in national leadership offices, not self-serving profiteers. Also, David’s last words recorded in 2 Samuel 23 will always be appropriate in qualifying anyone for leadership: “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
As I said, in ordinary times we would pick a man to lead who had proven integrity of character – a holy man, walking close with the Lord. We would definitely not pick a novice in terms of the Christian faith but a seasoned, trusted elder in the faith.
However, we do not live in ordinary times.
Donald Trump is by no means what we would call a man of faith and holiness in the generally perceived sense. He doesn’t come from the Bible Belt. He is a hard-nosed New York businessman, a man steeped in the worldly areas of commerce, finance and media. He has lived a colourful life to say the least. He is not someone who you would say meets the criteria of godly leaders.
Yet we must bear several things in mind. Firstly, he clearly has a fathering heart toward America. His controversial travel ban, for which he has been given so much grief, is simply an attempt to make his fellow Americans safer by making it harder for people of dubious backgrounds to just sally into the States. This shows a protective inclination in Trump, a father’s heart.
Secondly, David’s test of leadership must be taken in a New Testament context. Being just is not about works but about faith. We are justified by faith in God’s grace, not by our past, present or future deeds. David experienced grace and mercy himself, when his own weakness for women caused him to mess up.
Reports that Donald Trump has come to faith in Christ are credible, given the undoubted prominence he has given to Christian values and people in the early days of his presidency. We also must remember that God is looking for men who obey Him, not just men who profess they are born again. Plenty of born again people are not obeying God, as we all know. Trump appears to be a President who fears God.
So at first glance Donald Trump is not an obvious candidate for national leader from a Christian perspective but a deeper look tells a different story.
The main thing we must think about is, of course, the choice of God. There is no doubt that God uses men at times who are the most effective, rather than those who tick all the boxes of doctrine, theology and personal conduct. As Lance Wallnau points out, Winston Churchill was used by God to lead Britain during the dark days of World War 2. Churchill was no lily-livered politician nor a meek pacifist. He was a brutal, unstoppable bulldog of a man, certainly in terms of his image and impact. Stories of darker sides to him only add to the argument that God is quite happy to use earthen vessels to get the job done.
In the Book of Judges, we see God use some unlikely characters to deliver Israel from self-inflicted troubles with surrounding nations. One of my favourites is Jephthah, the bastard son of Gilead, who the Gileadites turn to when they are threatened by the Ammonites.
Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. Gilead’s wife also bore him sons. His wife’s sons grew up and drove Jephthah away. They said to him, “You will not inherit anything from our father’s house because you are the son of another woman.” So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Men of ill repute gathered around Jephthah and went out with him. Some time passed, then the Ammonites waged war with Israel. When the Ammonites waged war with Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah back from the land of Tob. They said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader so that we may fight the Ammonites.” Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me out of my father’s house? Why have you come to me now that you are in trouble?” The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “Even so, we have turned to you. Come with us and fight the Ammonites. You will be ruler over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me back to wage war against the Ammonites, and the LORD gives them to me, then I will be your ruler.” The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “May the LORD be a witness between us if we do not act according to your word.” So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead. The people set him over them as ruler and leader. And Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD in Mizpah. JUDGES 11:1-11 MEV
This is an amazing passage. When the Israelites needed deliverance, God sent them a man who met none of their leadership requirements. Except one – he could fight.
Jephthah is effectively living the life of a gangster, leading a renegade band of outlaws. He is not fresh out of Bethel Redding or Hillsong; he is doing dodgy stuff with bad men.
I like what it says in verse 29: “Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah…”
If the Spirit of the Lord can come on Jephthah the Mafia Boss to deliver Israel, He can come upon Donald Trump to deliver America.
It’s interesting that Jephthah was of the tribe of Manasseh. Donald Trump is President of Manasseh-Israel. Jephthah means “he who opens” or “the opener.” As we enter the Age of Philadelphia, we understand it is the time of the open door (see Revelation 3:7,8). It is also the time of the Key of David. Is Trump the vessel to lead Manasseh back under the Throne of David?
I believe God is using Donald Trump to open doors closed to us all. I believe he is called and appointed of God. I believe we should support him in prayer and back him. He is not perfect but he is not a milksop and we need a tough, determined leader in these days.
When things get tough, you call for Jephthah, not a mummy’s boy. Men who will happily do the will of God are exactly what is required. They may not wear dog collars but they are proud to wear dog tags in the army of the Lord.