Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.
Given this foundational truth, as outlined by the Westminster Shorter Catechism, we can safely assume that the LORD has decreed both Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States. As Christians, we only have a few choices on how we will vote in the upcoming election. As I have pointed out before, I don’t plan on voting at all. My conscience is clear; I’m sitting the election out and trusting the LORD to take care of me, my family, and my brothers and sisters in Christ as the country continues in rebellion against the LORD and His followers.
Others have argued to vote for third party candidates, but we know that doing so is more symbolism over substance. Or, and this is more heinous that the previous two options, you can try to convince yourself that Trump is a Christian, he is a conservative, and he is gawd’s man for our kuntry!
The truth be known, those evangelicals who have committed to falling in line with Trump are more interested in their perceived sense of power and importance than they are with being obedient to our true King, Jesus Christ. It is sad to hear of the evangelical leaders who are trying to justify voting for Trump, even to the point of calling those of us who refuse to vote for Trump foolish for not jumping on board.
Some might ask why God could have allowed two such wretched candidates to end up as nominees for our country. I think I have some answers for that.
First, why should we expect any better as a country? Are we that prideful that we think we should have only the finest candidates in our country when we long ago departed from the truth of God’s word? Are we that demanding, that we can get angry with God because He has not given us what we “think” we deserve? Who are we to demand moral candidates when we lack morality in our own lives?
What if God, who is looking out for the best for His children, decided that it would be best to remove the idol of worship known as the United States of America, so that we in turn worship Him alone? Would that not be best for His children? Would that not help us see that He really meant it when He told us we could not serve two masters?
Yet, Christians serve two masters all the time when they exalt the United States in their worship, and in their hearts. One telltale sign of this idolatry is the American flag in the sanctuary. This symbol of our country brings about more false worship and heresy than we are willing to admit, but many are convinced that they are not good Americans unless the flag is there inside the sanctuary. However, our worship should be focused on who we are in Christ, not on who we are as Americans. Our American identity should really take a back seat to our identity as Christians. Many will add patriotic songs to their worship of the Triune God during the first week of July, never realizing that this idolatry is actually offensive to God.
And, maybe the truth is, many are not really worshiping the Triune God. They are probably worshiping a god of their own choosing, one who founded America to fulfill some misunderstood prophecy or false dream, a god who is all about apple pie and dying for the flag. This god of American worship is really only concerned with one thing: are we willing to die for the flag as well? Are we willing to shed our own blood for the American ideal? Are we willing to pledge our sole allegiance to this country so that all our time and devotion is given over to it, so that there is no question where our loyalty lies?
These demands are not that much different than the demands that Jesus Christ makes on His followers. He tells us to die to ourselves, to take up our crosses daily, to be devoted solely to Him. The difference is that His Kingdom is the true Kingdom. He is the true and everlasting King. The god of America is a false god of the counterfeit kingdom identified in Scripture as Babylon. We think because the founding fathers used principles found in Scripture, that our Constitution was, and is, biblical, that our country was raised up by God, and that it was, and still is, His pleasure and delight.
It is good that there are biblical principles found in the Constitution. But that hardly makes it divine, or authoritative, as we know the Bible to be. The Constitution is not the 67th book of the Bible, yet many treat it so.
It is also true that God raised up the United States to play a role in human history. But remember, He did the same with Babylon and then severely punished them afterwards. The question isn’t whether or not God raised up the good ol’ USofA. The question is, “for what purpose did He raise up America?” It was clearly not to be a second Israel, since God finished working through a political country with the coming of Christ.
As for having God’s pleasure, did this country ever really have His pleasure? We assume that it did because of our material and worldly success. In other words, we think that because we have been richly blessed with things, and richly blessed in war, that God’s favor rests upon us. But then we must ask, are those things the real sign of God’s pleasure on the nations?
Realize that Rome, the country that ruled the first century in which the writers of the New Testament lived, was successful in war. Rome was successful in commerce. Rome was successful in education. In many ways, Rome was just as successful as our country is. And God raised up Rome as well. But that does not mean Rome, or the United States, has God’s blessing.
God’s blessing comes through Christ and His shed blood alone. The only real people that God is pleased with, and that truly have His eternal blessings (Ephesians 1:3ff), are His elect, those in Christ, born again. Since a nation cannot be born again, there is really no way for a nation to obtain God’s good pleasure. I don’t believe that God waits until judgment day to judge political entities either. This is why, He is, and was, and continues to pour out His wrath upon those who suppress the truth in all unrighteousness. Since all human governments do so, then all human governments have His wrath poured out on them. The United States is no exception.
Secondly, another reason that God has ordained Trump and Hillary, is so that His people will turn to Him alone for help. For far too long, we have made the assumption that our political salvation, our national salvation, our economic salvation has been wrapped up in the right candidate. Yet, even the candidates that were kind of the right ones, have been truly disappointing to those of us who are conservatives.
This is because we invest too much in our candidates. They are not ever to serve in the role as savior, in any sense of the word, because of their fallen nature. For instance, many are looking to Trump to be our economic savior because he is a businessman and knows how to run things. Anyone who starts out with a billion dollars from his dad, can look pretty savvy when it comes to business. So really, just how sharp is he when it comes to business sense. The LORD will probably give us economic woes, since we are looking to a dreadfully fallen, pig-headed, stubborn and lost mule to deliver us economically.
We also saw this with Obama. Many looked to him to heal our country racially. Really? Yes, they did. But we are more racially divided, have more racial strife than we have had since the 1960s. All Obama has brought is division, not unity.
Fallen presidents cannot save us from the calamity that is to come, only God can. This is why the nation will continue to struggle for racial unity, economic prosperity, political peace and universal happy-clappy-ism.
This is by design. God wants us praying for our leaders, not so we can have racial unity, economic prosperity, political peace or universal happy-clappy-ism. He wants us to pray for our leaders so that (are you ready?), we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence (1 Timothy 2:2). Did you get that? We are never told to pray so that our country can return to greatness again. We are never told to pray for economic prosperity. We are told to pray so that we can lead quiet and peaceable lives with godliness and reverence. That is hardly the prayers that so many movers and shakers pray in their personal quests for significance. It really is surprising that we are never told to pray so we can change culture, make a difference in the world, or to make sure the “right” man becomes president.
Yes, we are told to make disciples, but sometimes I wonder if that emphasis was placed on actually having large families, more than it was on dreaming of large revivals. The reason I feel that way is because so much of what God wants us to do, is through humility and dependence upon Him. Revivals always tend to be upon the “man” who is leading it… and the numbers of people who supposedly trust in Christ in bringing it about. Not a lot of humility there.
But again, the point is that we pray to be quiet, and peaceable. I’m blown away by the simpleness of it all. I know that this isn’t all that we are to pray for, but it really hits home that we are not to be praying for the “right” government. In fact, we should just count on that not happening since more dependence on God will result from the wrong women in office than the right man.
Then we will begin to see the hand of God moving in our lives in a way that we have never dreamed possible. This is because we have never been placed in a situation where we realized our complete and total need of Him (not all, some have learned this reality in their own lives, but I’m speaking of the church as a whole). Let’s be honest with ourselves, the church in the United States really hasn’t had to depend upon God for a lot of things. We have had the easy and gentle road. But the way of the cross is with much tribulation. So if anything, God may be raising up a couple of despots simply because He is going to use them to help purify His people.
I know, not the message most people want to hear. But taking up your cross and following Jesus to the…where?...the cross…never is a message that sells well. It is a lot easier to sell Jesus as a self-help guru than an actual savior. But the truth must be told.
God is sovereign and He has decreed both Trump and Clinton. One of these corrupt souls will be the next president of the United States. Given their corrupt natures, I would expect nothing but more corruption of government to follow as God continues to pour out His wrath on our nation as a whole. And while He does that, we will finally quit looking to fallen men for deliverance and fix our eyes upon the One who is that author and finisher of our faith: Jesus Christ.