2 Chronicles 20:1-12 – After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites,[a] came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
When the armies of Moab and Ammon rose up against Judah, King Jehoshaphat realized that he was outmanned, outgunned, and about to be overrun. He was afraid, but he did not succumb to his fear. Instead, he bowed his head in surrender.
Jehoshaphat did not surrender to his enemies. He surrendered to his God.
Like many other Americans two weeks away from “the most important election in American history,” I too, am afraid. Oh, I’m not afraid of Donald Trump and I’m not afraid of Hillary Clinton. I’m not afraid of the Russians, or the anarchists, or the flood of illegal immigrants. I am afraid of us. I’m afraid of what we have become. By “us,” I mean of course, the American people and more specifically those of “us” who claim to be Christ-followers, who live among the American people.
You see, unlike Judah and Jehoshaphat, the enemy that threatens to overrun us is not out there somewhere. Our most dread enemy has risen up from within us, from within our own carnal, fleshy hearts, and is tearing us limb from limb. I have watched and I have listened as men and women of the Cross have turned on one another, condemned one another, accused, maligned, ridiculed, unleashed torrents of badgering and harassment. Unleashing words like idiot, jerk, stupid, unpatriotic, un-american, brain-dead, and traitorous we have diced and sliced one another to pieces. Men stand behind pulpits with crosses, the ultimate symbol of grace and forgiveness, on them as they unleash labels upon their brothers in Christ, calling them morons, apostate, and unchristian because they do not toe the approved party line.
“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” (Matthew 15:18)
Hillary Clinton does not bear the blame for this, nor can we accuse Donald Trump for the bile that has erupted from our hearts. While the election process has exposed the immoral behaviors and revealed much that can certainly be considered criminal within the lives of men and women in Washington, it has also revealed the wickedness that lies in the carnal hearts of those of us who lay claim to the Name of Christ. We have been exposed for the gossip mongers, tale bearers, slanderers, lovers of the salacious, bitter, poisoned tongued creatures we are. There is little about the Christian effort to elect Donald Trump that is actually Christian.
Donald Trump says he will defund Planned Parenthood. Good, I pray he keeps that promise. I will shout it from the housetops. I wonder though, if he can refund the lost capital the evangelical church has surrendered as an unbelieving nation has watched us eat each other alive during the course of this campaign.
Donald Trump says he will restore our economy. I wonder though; can he restore the moral credibility of the church, now tainted as we have relentlessly trumpeted the past sexual indiscretions of Bill Clinton (who is not a candidate) and graciously minimized the past sexual indiscretions of Donald Trump?
Donald Trump says he will make America great again. Can he also restore the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace that, in its panic at the thought of a Clinton Presidency, evangelicals have slaughtered on the altars of political urgency? Can he restore a sense of brotherhood to those in the church who have been maligned, bullied, denigrated, dismissed and/or marginalized because of their unwillingness to cast a vote for “the chosen one?”
For me, this has long ceased to be about a contest in petulance between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This has been a prolonged unveiling, a revelation if you will, of just how broken the church in America is. Tonight, as I sit in my study; alone and in the darkness; the words of Jehoshaphat come to mind, “we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
Because of the “heat of battle” in which so many of my brothers and sisters are engaged, these words will go relatively unheeded. But later, when the battle is over and you realize that the battle has only just begun;
As we stand in the midst of the ruin and rubble and realize we have won a battle but lost the war;
When it dawns on us that we have sacrificed what we most desperately need in a frantic effort to lay hold of things we really don’t need.
When we win, but realize we may not survive the victory – There is One we can turn to and His heart will be moved when we say, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
[I will not post again until after the election. I am committed to a season of prayer in which I will abandon any effort to move the hearts of men, and wholly commit to seeking the heart of God on behalf of my brothers in Christ. I agree that this may be the most significant election in our history, but not for the same reasons as most.]