The last few weeks have been full of intrigues in the United States of America. Nigeria and indeed many parts of the world have also had a share of the melodrama playing out in that country.
Many are interested in who becomes the president of the world most powerful nation.
Some are indifferent. They reason that Nigeria has too much problem to grapple with than to dabble into matters of other nations.
The truth, however, is that the US is strategic to world peace and stability. You may end up not liking who eventually carries the day in the US, but whoever becomes the president has great implication for the entire world.
US policies and other nations
The policy direction of the US affects many other countries of the world especially vulnerable nations. We saw a glimpse of that during the reign of Bill Clinton, George Bush, Barrack Obama and now Donald Trump who is contesting the election of Joe Biden as the 46th president of that great country.’
Years ago, Obama was globe-trotting selling the policy position of his government. He was literally canvassing recognition of the rights of gays. He sold the idea to Nigeria and some other countries in Africa. The US was ready to spend money to prosecute this policy and it even threatened to stop supporting countries that would not make gay right a constitutional issue.
Many states in the US had already embraced same-sex marriage even before Obama came on board. It only got worse during his tenure. Many priests were sanctioned for not joining same-sex couples. Today, same-sex marriage is gaining ground in Africa despite the stiff resistance.
Beyond the gay issue, is the recurrent meddlesomeness of the US in the politics of other nations. The recent political history of the US gives us a picture of a country that wants to dominate and control the world. The Libya invasion was a classic example of how the US influences other nations of the world.
That is the extent to which the US can use its power. So, it is not out of order if all countries of the world show a keen interest in the US election. And that is why it seems the Church has shown great interest and has made the US a subject of prayer and intercession.
So, it becomes normal to see pastors trying to outdo themselves in making prophecies and predictions concerning the US elections. A number have said Donald Trump would carry the day. Some of those who insist Trump would win had made a similar prophecy in 2016 against all odds. And the prophecy turned out in their favour. So, it is easy for people to believe them when they come out again to say he would win.
A few others have however said Biden would carry the day. That is how far they could see and some have put their ministry call on the line saying if it does not happen, God did not call them.
US election: Jostling to declare God’s word
It is thus very exciting, interesting at the same time sad to see how servants of God jostle to outdo themselves in giving a word from the Lord as if it is a contest. In the entire mix are a number of charlatans who do not know their left from the right also giving “words” from the Lord.
The implication is that the normal fellow who only goes to church to say amen to prayers is confused and keeps wondering, could God be in this whole drama?
Yet, God is on His throne, in our hearts and indeed fills up the entire universe watching as events unfold. At the end of the day, God will remain God.
But the issue is, can God be the author of confusion? Did he actually speak to these people who ceaselessly spew words supposedly from God as if playing a recorded tape from heaven? What is the mind of God concerning who becomes the next president of the US? Is it possible for God’s choice not to get there eventually?
What is the role of the Church in all this? Should the Church maintain silence and watch how the drama unfolds or should it make “noise” as it is making now?
There is obviously no straight answer to these questions. But the issue remains that the will of God may not necessarily become a reality. It is the will of God that all will be saved and come to repentance. But not all will be saved.
Where many of us miss it is that we don’t grasp the implication of prophecy and predictions. They look the same. The Oxford English Dictionary indicate that the first usage of the word predict is from a statement by Nostradamus in 1561. So usually the word came about to indicate the fulfilment of what Nostradamus had said.
To prophesy on the other hand simply means to declare the word of God which aligns with the revealed word of God. It could also mean to declare what the Lord said about a situation. What we refer to as the revealed word of God, which is the Bible were prophetic utterances of men of God in the past.
If a man of God lays hand on someone and declares the person will prosper, he has declared the word of prophecy on the person which is also in tandem with the revealed word of God. The eventual prosperity of the person is a fulfilment of prophecy. It is the fulfilment that gives you that understanding that a prophecy has come to pass. But making a declaration that somebody would prosper is not a guarantee it would happen.
Usually where many of us get it wrong is the fulfilment of what God has declared because we do not hold time in our hand. We should not also confuse “thus says the Lord”, with, this is the “will of God on this matter”. Many prophesy “the will of God” as “thus says the Lord”.
There are instances where God will give the word and put a timeline to it. Even at that, the timeline of God is also subjective.
God told Abraham that the children of Israel will be slaves in a foreign country for 400 years, but they ended up spending 430 years in Egypt. Was God a liar in that respect? it will take a proper exegesis of the word to come to terms with reconciling the prophecy of God and its fulfilment
God will always do what he will do. But then, any Bible student should know that there are times God is silent even when He is expected to act.
For instance, God had told David that Solomon would succeed him. But by the time David was old and almost dying, Adonijah the younger brother of Absalom wanted to claim the throne. He had organised a party and was preparing his way to ascend the throne when Nathan the prophet alerted Bathsheba the mother of Solomon to go and remind David of his promise.
She did. Nathan also joined her to remind David of the promise. That same day, Solomon was crowned the king of Israel. His brother’s plan was nipped in the bud. David died shortly after.
The question is, what would have happened if Nathan did not prompt David? Solomon would probably still have ascended the throne, but it might not have come easy.
We don’t need political validation but…
While the church does not need validation from any politician because our kingdom is not of this world, we can’t run away from the reality that we live in this world. And we are wired to make choices. Herod was king during Jesus’ time and the early church but the apostles suffered the consequences. John the Baptist was beheaded, James was beheaded, all under Herod. The church was stifled. But then, that period also brought a great revival as believers were scattered all over the world making it possible for the gospel to reach many places.
Usually, the Church thrives more in the time of crisis. And that is why it may not be wise to be too obsessed about an ungodly system. But then, it will be foolish for the church to fold its hands and allow evil to be legislated through government instrument.
So, in the real sense, the church does not need to hear a direct word from God on who should be the next president of the US. The next president is already revealed in the word of God. It is the will of God that righteousness is enthroned in a nation. A system that fails to promote righteousness should not be encouraged.
That is where the battle line is drawn between Biden and Trump. Make no mistake there is a difference between legislating sin and having personal moral failures. Nobody needs to argue. Trump is a moral misfit judging by his perverse utterances. And that is not to spite him. But who does not have moral failings among the people that God used in Bible time? Perhaps a handful.
David was a man after God’s heart, yet he killed another man and married his wife. What could be insidious than that? But David did not legislate immorality and murder. When Nathan confronted him with the story of a man who had many sheep who took another man’s ewe to entertain his guest, he was agitated.
He did know it was a parable about his failings. Eventually, David suffered for all his atrocities. He lost his child, was pursued out of his kingdom, his son slept with his wife in the open, before Israel. And the Lord said to him that the sword will not depart from his house. Yet, he was a man after God’s heart.
Solomon was reputed to be the wisest king ever, yet, he acquired 300 concubines and 700 wives. A study of the life of Solomon shows that he was not even a promise keeper. He promised his mother to grant whatever request she had but ended up killing Adonijah whom his mother had come to plead on his behalf to marry Abishag the virgin that took care of David till his death. Talk of Moses, Samson, Peter and a host of others, there is one thing about them that does not line with conventional thought.
So, morality is one big issue that is personal and not what we can dabble into. And that is not holding brief for those grappling with moral issues. That is where the issue of discipleship and mentorship comes in. That is where the big role of the Church is needed.
Trump: He deserves some credit
But then, many can’t just understand the vulgar nature of Trump. But you need to give Trump great credit for the positive strides of his government. He signed an executive order to bring back prayers to schools. He signed an executive order that recognised only biological gender as the gender of a person. He is pro-life. He is not in support of abortion. Those are just areas of his achievement that have to do with the Church.
He is not evangelical in the conventional sense. But he allowed the evangelicals to breathe. Many have suddenly forgotten how some homosexuals became so audacious during the Obama era. They were quick to sue and complain if they were not joined together in their unholy matrimony. This happened because they were recognised by law under Obama who by extension is the political godfather of Biden.
The ghost of the democrats
A medical doctor, Bankole Olusina had cited in his book, Mark of the Beast, instances where some bakers in the US had to forfeit their businesses because they would not bake cake for homosexuals” weddings during the Obama era. Some according to him were persecuted because they would not carry out abortions in their clinics.
He wrote, “Christians were to lose their businesses for not agreeing to support same-sex marriages. Bakers and florists were fined crippling sums by courts for not providing services to same-sex weddings. People were being hounded out of their positions simply for supporting the definition of marriage as that of the union of a man and a woman. A newly appointed CEO of Mozilla Corporation had to quit after just a few days in the office for donating about 1000 dollars to support the biblical definition of marriage in 2008.
He also wrote about David Green, who fought a spiritual and legal battle for refusing to provide abortion coverage as dictated by Obamacare. He stood to lose his family business, Hobby Lobby, which was worth billions of dollars. The fines the company was to pay came to about 425 million dollars a year for not doing what he said was against his faith in the Lord. He was willing to lose the company rather than compromise. It was a tough battle and he won only narrowly at the Supreme Court (5-4). Imagine if the court had had even the slightest majority of liberal judges.”
While it is expedient that the Church does not go to sleep and allow a government that has a tendency to legislate evil, it will be wrong for anybody to fight for God or perhaps play God. We need not attribute everything to God. We have the spirit of God and we have a right to discern and to choose. God does not have to tell us in audible voice who to prefer between a man that is morally bankrupt and the one that legislates immorality. While one is a danger to himself, the other is a danger to the world.
The Church and the end of age
Above all, we have to be mindful of the end of age. That is why we can’t push too far. While we prefer to have a candidate that will promote godly values as president in the US, we should always ensure that we remain within the bounds of decorum, not trying to force our way or make a bogus claim about God “says”, when in actual fact God did not say anything and when in fact, God does not even need to say anything. His will is revealed to us in His word already.
By January 20, 2021, the new President of the US will be sworn in barring all odds. We can only pray that God’s will be done. But the Church should stay calm and resolute. We need to pursue the primary goal of making disciples of all nations. When we truly reflect the light that we are, we will be less disturbed about the antics of the devil in the place of power.
By Gbenga Osinaike