Posts Tagged ‘trump’

Judges 20:1-48 (Part 1 of 2)
Israel’s War with Benjamin

Wow! Israel has sunk to a new low in this passage. They have a bloody civil war on their hands and nobody seems to care. At that point, a foreign power could have swooped in and destroyed them while they were busy seeking vengeance against their one of their own tribes or being that tribe defending itself against the rest of their own countrymen. It is a sad day for the people of God’s history.

The thing that struck me is that how similar to our own nation right now this whole episode is. We were once a nation (where simply by the nature of the way our government was constructed by the founding fathers) of reasoned compromise. Nobody ever got what they wanted in their own perfect ideal of things. However, in the interest of getting most of what they wanted, they would give up on certain points to get the majority of what they wanted. The founding fathers believed that the conflict of ideals and sometimes of extremely opposite ideas would produce the conflict of those ideas in the congress and drive everything toward the center and toward what in general was the best for the country. It was a grand idea that worked well for our country all the way up until the turn of the 20th century. From the grand compromise that was our form of government, competing ideas generating friction to the point of creating a compromise that was by far the best thing in general for our country. In other countries, we have seen over just the past 241 years of our countries existence where one group takes the government by force and then forces their ideology on the rest of the country. This extremism has produced violence, civil wars, and international wars time and again just in the 241 our nation has been a player on the stage. Our centrist government with checks and balances has survived it all and continued to thrive. There has been in the past no one ideology that has been able to dominate over another and that is why our country has been so internally stable. Everybody’s idealogy getting enough of what it needs but not all of what it wants. That’s how our government is supposed to work and had worked all the way up to recent history.

However, with the last two Presidents our country has become polarized. Obama will his extremely liberal agenda polarized America into conservatives against the liberals, blacks against whites (again!), and the government ground to a halt. Now, we have similarity with Trump. Contrary to Trump’s own egoism, he was not elected by conservatives because he was a man of great substance and vision but rather because he was the only choice other than Hillary Clinton. We didn’t elect Trump as much we defeated Hillary. But because of Trump’s own inability to get his own ego out of the way, the chasm between conservatives and liberals has widened from a gulf to an ocean. Just as conservatives used to whine and complain about Obama being the anti-Christ so too now do the liberals play the part of Chicken Little where the sky is falling (with every word that Trump speaks or any idea he tries to espouse). And would somebody declare it illegal for the sitting president to have a social media account!?!?.

Instead of us conservatives admitting that we have made a mistake by making Trump the candidate from our party, we have circled around and defend everything he says even if it completely idiotic. Meanwhile, the liberals think Trump is the anti-Christ and refuse to compromise on anything coming out of the White House. The vitriol that the liberals have now for the conservative ideology is bordering of fanaticism. I truly fear for the future of our country, not because of Trump or Obama directly but we have become a nation that no longer compromises – the very thing that made our country great and powerful and an economic giant was the stability of our government.

But now we no longer compromise. We are of extreme ideologies and refuse to give in. We are a nation where we never admit our mistakes. We are a nation that would rather take our ideologies to the grave than compromise for what is best for our country. We simply want what we want and will go to our rooms and pout rather than compromise with our brother. Maybe it is because my generation and the generation after it have become so me-centered in our own lives. We are a self-centered people in our personal lives. Could the present generations do what our grandparent’s generation (the greatest generation) did? Come together and lift a country out of a economic collapse and then band together and sacrifice to end tyranny in two hemispheres. Can we be a generation that hunkers down together to defeat a world threat like they did? I am not so sure.

That is what I thought of this morning is how Israel had degenerated into a divided country where a civil war was the result. It reminds me of how our country is right at the moment. Let’s keep that in mind as we read through this passage for the first of two times:

20 Then all the Israelites were united as one man, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, including those from across the Jordan in the land of Gilead. The entire community assembled in the presence of the Lord at Mizpah. 2 The leaders of all the people and all the tribes of Israel—400,000 warriors armed with swords—took their positions in the assembly of the people of God. 3 (Word soon reached the land of Benjamin that the other tribes had gone up to Mizpah.) The Israelites then asked how this terrible crime had happened.

4 The Levite, the husband of the woman who had been murdered, said, “My concubine and I came to spend the night in Gibeah, a town that belongs to the people of Benjamin. 5 That night some of the leading citizens of Gibeah surrounded the house, planning to kill me, and they raped my concubine until she was dead. 6 So I cut her body into twelve pieces and sent the pieces throughout the territory assigned to Israel, for these men have committed a terrible and shameful crime. 7 Now then, all of you—the entire community of Israel—must decide here and now what should be done about this!”

8 And all the people rose to their feet in unison and declared, “None of us will return home! No, not even one of us! 9 Instead, this is what we will do to Gibeah; we will draw lots to decide who will attack it. 10 One-tenth of the men[a] from each tribe will be chosen to supply the warriors with food, and the rest of us will take revenge on Gibeah[b] of Benjamin for this shameful thing they have done in Israel.” 11 So all the Israelites were completely united, and they gathered together to attack the town.

12 The Israelites sent messengers to the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What a terrible thing has been done among you! 13 Give up those evil men, those troublemakers from Gibeah, so we can execute them and purge Israel of this evil.”

But the people of Benjamin would not listen. 14 Instead, they came from their towns and gathered at Gibeah to fight the Israelites. 15 In all, 26,000 of their warriors armed with swords arrived in Gibeah to join the 700 elite troops who lived there. 16 Among Benjamin’s elite troops, 700 were left-handed, and each of them could sling a rock and hit a target within a hairsbreadth without missing. 17 Israel had 400,000 experienced soldiers armed with swords, not counting Benjamin’s warriors.

18 Before the battle the Israelites went to Bethel and asked God, “Which tribe should go first to attack the people of Benjamin?”

The Lord answered, “Judah is to go first.”

19 So the Israelites left early the next morning and camped near Gibeah. 20 Then they advanced toward Gibeah to attack the men of Benjamin. 21 But Benjamin’s warriors, who were defending the town, came out and killed 22,000 Israelites on the battlefield that day.

22 But the Israelites encouraged each other and took their positions again at the same place they had fought the previous day. 23 For they had gone up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the Lord until evening. They had asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again?”

And the Lord had said, “Go out and fight against them.”

24 So the next day they went out again to fight against the men of Benjamin, 25 but the men of Benjamin killed another 18,000 Israelites, all of whom were experienced with the sword.

26 Then all the Israelites went up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the Lord and fasted until evening. They also brought burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. 27 The Israelites went up seeking direction from the Lord. (In those days the Ark of the Covenant of God was in Bethel, 28 and Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron was the priest.) The Israelites asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again, or should we stop?”

The Lord said, “Go! Tomorrow I will hand them over to you.”

29 So the Israelites set an ambush all around Gibeah. 30 They went out on the third day and took their positions at the same place as before. 31 When the men of Benjamin came out to attack, they were drawn away from the town. And as they had done before, they began to kill the Israelites. About thirty Israelites died in the open fields and along the roads, one leading to Bethel and the other leading back to Gibeah.

32 Then the warriors of Benjamin shouted, “We’re defeating them as we did before!” But the Israelites had planned in advance to run away so that the men of Benjamin would chase them along the roads and be drawn away from the town.

33 When the main group of Israelite warriors reached Baal-tamar, they turned and took up their positions. Meanwhile, the Israelites hiding in ambush to the west[c] of Gibeah jumped up to fight. 34 There were 10,000 elite Israelite troops who advanced against Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that Benjamin didn’t realize the impending disaster. 35 So the Lord helped Israel defeat Benjamin, and that day the Israelites killed 25,100 of Benjamin’s warriors, all of whom were experienced swordsmen. 36 Then the men of Benjamin saw that they were beaten.

The Israelites had retreated from Benjamin’s warriors in order to give those hiding in ambush more room to maneuver against Gibeah. 37 Then those who were hiding rushed in from all sides and killed everyone in the town. 38 They had arranged to send up a large cloud of smoke from the town as a signal. 39 When the Israelites saw the smoke, they turned and attacked Benjamin’s warriors.

By that time Benjamin’s warriors had killed about thirty Israelites, and they shouted, “We’re defeating them as we did in the first battle!” 40 But when the warriors of Benjamin looked behind them and saw the smoke rising into the sky from every part of the town, 41 the men of Israel turned and attacked. At this point the men of Benjamin became terrified, because they realized disaster was close at hand. 42 So they turned around and fled before the Israelites toward the wilderness. But they couldn’t escape the battle, and the people who came out of the nearby towns were also killed.[d] 43 The Israelites surrounded the men of Benjamin and chased them relentlessly, finally overtaking them east of Gibeah.[e] 44 That day 18,000 of Benjamin’s strongest warriors died in battle. 45 The survivors fled into the wilderness toward the rock of Rimmon, but Israel killed 5,000 of them along the road. They continued the chase until they had killed another 2,000 near Gidom.

46 So that day the tribe of Benjamin lost 25,000 strong warriors armed with swords, 47 leaving only 600 men who escaped to the rock of Rimmon, where they lived for four months. 48 And the Israelites returned and slaughtered every living thing in all the towns—the people, the livestock, and everything they found. They also burned down all the towns they came to.

Here in this passage, we see that perhaps the tribe of Benjamin had been possibly given distorted facts about the crime that had been committed or perhaps they were just too proud to admit that some of their people had stooped so low. In either case, they would not listen to the rest of Israel and hand over the accused criminals. They were more loyal to their ideals than they were to the good of the nation. They were more loyal to their tribe than the were to moral laws of God. By covering for their kinsmen, the entire tribe was defending an immoral act than now made them as low as the criminals themselves. Through this act, we get a glimpse of how thoroughly the nation’s moral fabric had unraveled. The time period of the judges is drawing to a close with a bloody civil war. The effects of this horrible rape and murder should have never been felt outside of the community in which it occurred. Those local people should have brought the criminals to justice and corrected the lawlessness that allowed the crime to happen. Instead the town and then the whole tribe/region defended the wickedness – even going to war over it.

Do you not see the path that our country is on in this story? We are just the same. We do not care if we are wrong. We just defend our position even if it is wrong. Why does this play out on the national stage? Because that is the way our nation is, in general, on an individual level. We are a nation that has grown up getting whatever we want handed to us. We are now generations of people that never had to sacrifice for anything. We are a nation of spoiled little rich kids by comparison to previous generations. We want what we want and we want it now. My ideas are better than yours and I will refuse to participate if you don’t see things my way. Just look at how we change wives and husbands when we don’t get our way. Look at how we no longer make things that improve society. We make toys that entertain ME now. While our nation’s infrasturture crumbles around us, we have more thought about the next iPhone than we do about the crumbling bridges we drive over in our self-contained entertainment devices that we call cars.

May we as a nation learn to compromise again. May we become a nation that respects each other’s idea. May we become a nation that no longer worships itself. May we be a nation that worships God! May we see the evil in ourselves and turn from it and return to the Lord. May we see ourselves in ancient Israel and be disgusted by it and return to God.

Amen and Amen.

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Numbers 23:27-24:35

Balaam’s Third and Fourth Messages

On November 9, 2016, it will be a Wednesday. It will be a Wednesday like any other to you and me where we have to get up to go to school or to work or to our daily chores in our home. Things will be the same yet completely different. It will be the day after the General Elections of our country, the day after we have elected our new President. What kind of world will that be? What I do know is that the sun will still rise. We will still get up and go to work. We will still have the same bills that we had the day before. And, most of all, God will still be God.

 

Isaiah 14:27 tells us this, “For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” Job 42:2 tells us the same thing when it says, ““I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” It is clear to us from the Bible that God is not being caught off guard by this election in the United States. I cannot remember an election in my lifetime where the choice between candidates is like choosing which you want worse, rectal cancer or prostate cancer. We just thought Bush vs. Gore was the choice between the lesser of two evils. This is rectal cancer vs. prostate cancer. When I think of a vote for Trump, since I am a Republican, it actually makes me cringe in disgust as if I would be massaging his massive ego with my vote. I cringe at the thought of the freak show that will be his presidency. I cringe at the thought of Donald and Melania being the representatives of our country at a state dinner say for example with the Queen of England or someone like that. I cringe at the thought of what stupid crap we will find out about Trump during a Trump presidency. I just cannot fathom that he is the best that the Republican Party, my party, has to offer. I did not vote for him in the primaries, I was a Rubio man (who I still believe was the best candidate to run against the Democratic nominee). I know that Donald’s desire for the last big prize of his life is what is driving him more so than the desire to be a good President. He is foul-mouthed, arrogant, a bridge burner, who speaks first and thinks later, who does not seem able or willing to build consensus on anything, who is just now three weeks before the election revealing any semblance of his policy positions on anything. He has spent most of the past year and half telling everybody what was wrong with the other candidates and what is wrong with our country. I disgust at the thought of voting for this man. I truly do. Not because of what he said on a bus in 2005 but simply because the man lacks any semblance of moral fiberat all and would do an end around on you in a minute to get what he wants. Many of my Republican friends are trying to portray him as the all to end all for America. I just don’t see it.

 

Before my Republican friends get all up in arms about what I just said, let me say this. Then there’s Hillary. She is no better. Whitewater. Benghazi. Abortion. Expanded Federal government. Openly anti-Christian. Questionable financial dealings. She lied about the Irish peace process, her vote in favor of the Iraq war, her reason for illegally using a personal email server, that her family was dead broke when they left the White House, about landing under sniper fire in Bosnia, where Chelsea was on 9/11, who she was named after, Benghazi… and the list goes on.  Hillary Clinton was MIA when the 3am phone call came from Benghazi.  What difference does it make?  The life of four Americans – a huge difference.  The Russian Reset?  Russia invaded Ukraine on her watch.  Again.  And again.  And again.  Boko Haram?  Hillary Clinton’s State Department refused to call it a terrorist organization. Hillary Clinton accepted millions of Dollars from foreign governments.  While serving as Secretary of State, The Clinton Foundation (illegally) accepted boatloads of cash from countries that fund Hamas, harbor terrorists, suppress women, and regularly execute gays and lesbians while at the same time portraying herself as the champion of gay rights. She says she is a champion of women’s rights but yet repeatedly throughout her husband’s political career has crushed every woman who tried to come forward regarding her hubby’s sexual harassment, misogyny and overall perpetuation of “rape culture“. She referred to these victims as “trailer trash” and even went so far as to threaten one of the victims in person. She supports opening up our borders fully and completely to nations known to harbor terrorist groups intent our nation’s destruction without any significant vetting. She supports crushing religious liberty and guising it as equality for all. Her economic plans are straight out of a socialist agenda that will stifle anyone willing to take the risks of entrepreneurship and, God forbid, become rich while doing it. Under her watch, it is clear that our nation will drift the way of western Europe – toward stifling central government control and a socialistic state (how’s that working for you, Venezeula?). I cringe at the thought of her being President as much or more as I do a Trump presidency. Hillary is such an institutionalized liar that she as much as said in the last debate that it is OK to talk one way with one group and another way with another group to get what she wants. In essence, it’s OK to lie. Lord, I cringe at the thought of anyone voting for this candidate. I truly cringe at what our country will look like 4 years from now with her as president.

 

Trump or Hillary? Cringeworthy! For the last week I have flirted with the idea of voting for a lesser party candidate in protest. I have thought about voting for Darrell Castle, the Constitution Party candidate. This is the party of constitutional purism whose central beliefs are the Republican Party on steroids. Darrell is a US Marines veteran and seems to be a candidate that everyone could get behind if he were not running on an unknown party ticket. A vote for him would certainly validate my desire for our country to get back to the idea of the nation that our founding fathers crafted. However, he stands a snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected or even coming close to getting 1% of the popular vote in this country. Too bad. Thus, the election is really down to the Trump vs. Hillary choice.

 

The conclusion that I have had to come to as a Christian first and Republican second is to vote for what my party stands for in its platform and accept that Trump is the figurehead for that party. I know that a Trump presidency is going to be a train-wreck in a lot of ways. I know that he most likely will be a one-termer. He probably does not have the intestinal fortitude or desire to serve more than one-term. We have to look at Trump as the vehicle to get the nation back to its moral center, as the one to be the beginning of reclaiming our nation. If Trump is a one-termer, that creates room for the guy I think who would be a great Republican candidate and someone Christ followers could truly get behind – Marco Rubio in 2020.

 

Thus, this election is ultimately about our party regaining control of the White House at a crucial time. A time when our Supreme Court justices are all aging and there is one seat already open. As many as four additional justices could potentially open up through retirement or death in the next 4 to 8 years. As Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, said in his article, For A Time Such as This,

 

“the Supreme Court is the most powerful body of decision makers in our nation, and they serve life terms. Their beliefs matter. Many of the things they rule on are important to God—including issues like abortion, the definition of marriage, and religious freedoms. The next president of the United States will immediately appoint one Supreme Court justice and may appoint up to a total of five while in office. The justices who are appointed will impact the direction of our country for the next hundred years. I urge everyone to research who the candidates say they will nominate for the highest court in the land.”

 

It is also about which party comes closest to my beliefs as a Christian. Franklin, in his article, provides us with the positions of each party on our nation’s critical issues at https://billygraham.org/story/2016-party-platforms/. Review that and decide which party should have control of the White House. No bullying here just the facts. Which one aligns with what you believe as a Christian?

 

 

Having said all that. The reason I said all that is on November 9th, God will still be God. Nothing Trump or Hillary can do to change that. God often uses the worst folks to achieve His overarching goals. That was the very thought that I had when I read through today’s passage:

 

23:27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come, let me take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them for me from there.” 28 And Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, overlooking the wasteland.

 

29 Balaam said, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” 30 Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

 

24:1  Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness. 2 When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him 3 and he spoke his message:

 

“The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,

    the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,

4

the prophecy of one who hears the words of God,

    who sees a vision from the Almighty,[a]

    who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

 

5

“How beautiful are your tents, Jacob,

    your dwelling places, Israel!

 

6

“Like valleys they spread out,

    like gardens beside a river,

like aloes planted by the Lord,

    like cedars beside the waters.

7

Water will flow from their buckets;

    their seed will have abundant water.

 

“Their king will be greater than Agag;

    their kingdom will be exalted.

 

8

“God brought them out of Egypt;

    they have the strength of a wild ox.

They devour hostile nations

    and break their bones in pieces;

    with their arrows they pierce them.

9

Like a lion they crouch and lie down,

    like a lioness—who dares to rouse them?

 

“May those who bless you be blessed

    and those who curse you be cursed!”

 

10 Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to him, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times. 11 Now leave at once and go home! I said I would reward you handsomely, but the Lord has kept you from being rewarded.”

 

12 Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell the messengers you sent me, 13 ‘Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the Lord—and I must say only what the Lord says’? 14 Now I am going back to my people, but come, let me warn you of what this people will do to your people in days to come.”

Balaam’s Fourth Message

 

15 Then he spoke his message:

 

“The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,

    the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,

16

the prophecy of one who hears the words of God,

    who has knowledge from the Most High,

who sees a vision from the Almighty,

    who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

 

17

“I see him, but not now;

    I behold him, but not near.

A star will come out of Jacob;

    a scepter will rise out of Israel.

He will crush the foreheads of Moab,

    the skulls[b] of[c] all the people of Sheth.[d]

18

Edom will be conquered;

    Seir, his enemy, will be conquered,

    but Israel will grow strong.

19

A ruler will come out of Jacob

    and destroy the survivors of the city.”

Balaam’s Fifth Message

 

20 Then Balaam saw Amalek and spoke his message:

 

“Amalek was first among the nations,

    but their end will be utter destruction.”

Balaam’s Sixth Message

 

21 Then he saw the Kenites and spoke his message:

 

“Your dwelling place is secure,

    your nest is set in a rock;

22

yet you Kenites will be destroyed

    when Ashur takes you captive.”

Balaam’s Seventh Message

 

23 Then he spoke his message:

 

“Alas! Who can live when God does this?[e]

24

    Ships will come from the shores of Cyprus;

they will subdue Ashur and Eber,

    but they too will come to ruin.”

 

25 Then Balaam got up and returned home, and Balak went his own way.

 

It seems strange that God would use a sorcerer like Balaam to achieve His ends here. This passage teaches us that God can use anyone or anything to accomplish His plans. By using a sorcerer, God did not make sorcery acceptable. The Bible condemns it. Rather, it shows God’s ultimate authority over good AND evil. He used the Pharaoh in Egypt to demonstrate His power and might. Through hardening the heart of Pharaoh was able to demonstrate His mighty power over that which was the mightiest kingdom on earth at the time of the Exodus. Nebuchadnezzar, wittingly or unwittingly, is the “servant” used by God to discipline the disobedient Judah. God used the fact that the Roman Empire with its road systems and common language as the perfect time to send the Messiah and then saw the message of Jesus spread like wildfire through the Roman Empire because of the very fact that Rome was all about the commerce and made its empire easy to travel. Even things that seem on the surface as evil can be commanded by God to achieve his goals. The Romans thought they were killing a political threat but really they were aiding God in accomplishing His cosmic plan for salvation for all mankind through Christ’s crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.

 

On November 9th, the day after the election, God will still be in control. God will be working His plan. He will be working it whether Hillary is President or Donald is. God will still be God and there is nothing that either of them can do to change that. We are working our way inexoriably toward the day when Christ returns. It is all part of God’s plan. We accept that as Christ followers. However, just as Paul told the Thessalonians to get up off their butts and go on living instead of waiting for an imminent return of Christ, we must engage in the political process of our nation. We must be God’s agents in a world that has turned its back on Him. We must be active and engaged. The battle is hard at times but God never promised us that being a Christian was going to be easy – as a matter of fact Jesus said “when you suffer” not “if you suffer.” As we battle with evil forces in this world, we know that God is in control and He is our general and leads the way for us. We follow His banner.

 

Yes, we have crap for choices in this election. Yes, for discerning Republicans, Trump is distasteful. Yes, for discerning Christians, we know that Trump is a self-centered egotist who scorches the earth with every comment he makes. We know this. But for whatever God’s purpose is in this election, these are our choices. We must look at the platform of the party (it’s planned agenda for the next four years) that we frame how either Hillary or Donald act in office to see which one most closely aligns with God’s Word.

From that analysis, it is clear that the Republican platform is more closely aligned with biblical principles. It is clear then that we must vote in that direction. Trump is simply the ragamuffin embarrassing unbelieving brute that God has chosen to execute His plan. He is just a vehicle. He is not savior. He is not the all to end all. He is just a part of God’s plan at this moment in human history.

 

We must trust that God knows what He is doing and we can awake on November 9th with peace in our hearts and go about our business of living.

 

Amen and Amen.

Numbers 22:21-41 (Part 2 of 3)

Balaam and His Donkey

Yesterday, we talked about how God sometimes puts roadblocks in our way to prevent us from doing something that will derail our growth in our relationship with him. What if, then, we ignore those roadblocks and push headlong into our desired courses of action? Have you ever been so stubborn about something that you push ahead even though what you are doing is wrong and could hurt other people?

 

We see it all the time in this fallen world. Our pride and our desire to do what makes us feel good often trumps good reason. Funny that I should use such a verb at this time. We as the Republican party are riding Balaam’s donkey as we speak. First, let me preface what I am about to say is that I am normally a staunch Republican who believes that the constitution should be interpreted strictly by our courts, that our courts should limit themselves to what it says, and I believe in limited government, low taxes, a free market economy with limited regulation, and the sanctity of human life from the point of conception, and so on. However, we as Republicans, in this election, are pushing on through with our desire not to have Hillary Clinton as President that we will accept anything to accomplish that goal. As a Marco Rubio supporter, I have felt like that person who is in a dream who sees a bad thing about to happen to themselves or others but the words won’t come out. Nobody is listening. We are pushing headlong into the election with Trump as the nominee of our party and we close our eyes to who this man really is because we are so afraid of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

 

I had an old friend from high school berate me on Facebook the other night for publicly stating that I cannot in good conscience vote for either major party candidate in this presidential election. Her whole point of her argument was that a vote for anyone other than Trump was a vote for Hillary. Nowhere in that post did she say that Trump was a good man, that he was for the times, that his policy proposals are superior to hers. The only thing that was remotely about the issues that she feared the judge that Hillary will appoint to the Supreme Court. Don’t get me wrong, Hillary Clinton is so supremely liberal and supports big government in ways that I cannot tolerate much less the fact that truth to her is a relative term that corresponds to what is most advantageous to her at the moment. However, the Republican nominee, my nominee, is a joke. He is great a real estate developer who takes advantage of tax loopholes to develop his empire, declares bankruptcy when the tax code that props up his empire changes, or he has spent other peoples money too lavishly, lives a lifestyle of a rock star with no moral compass only the desire to fulfill his desires, who trades out the women in his life when they start looking less than like a model (watch out Melania), whose actions and words are like that of a thirteen year old boy demanding his own way, who will apparently not ever listen to his advisors, whose knee-jerk comments are similar to those of an uneducated redneck, who actions throughout his life are of a man who is completely amoral and has no repentance at all for the sins that he has committed in his life. He has an ego the size of the island he lives on and this whole presidential run is about conquering that one last thing not about what he is capable of doing as a president. Can you realistically see him as a President? Is this what we want representing our country? It is the equivalent of having Jethro as President and Ellie May as the First Lady, two people who are vapid and not ready for the stage on which they play.

 

My friend from high school is so blind to who Trump is that she is willing to accept who Trump is just to keep Hillary out of office. So many of us out there are voting on that basis. We don’t give a R’s A about what kind of man Trump is (and that fact that he will have his hands on the nuclear arsenal) just so long as our President is not Hillary Clinton. It is a sad state of affairs in which we find ourselves when we have to tell people that a vote for anyone other than Trump is a vote for Hillary. Is that our message now as Republicans? Have we made a deal with the devil just to keep Hillary out of office? What happened to the policies of Reagan? His campaign was all about how, exactly how, he was going to change the economy and the tenor of our nation. What we have to offer the public now, as Republicans, is that Donald Trump is NOT Hillary Clinton. That is vision? That is our future? But we push headlong into the breach with that as our battle cry. We know that Donald Trump is an arrogant, immoral, unrepentant, stubborn, foulmouthed, hotheaded man who has lived in his cult of celebrity so long that he thinks he can get away with anything who simply wants the prize and not the job of President. We push headlong into the breach with this Napoleon knowing full well that he is a disaster waiting to happen because he is NOT Hillary. We deserve what we get in November. We really do. We had the opportunity to nominate a good man and a man with a Kennedy-esque flair and vision in Marco Rubio but we fell in love with the brash bully of a celebrity with no policy positions on anything other than to tear down his opponents. We saw this train wreck happening but we could not stop it. Rubio was the only one that would try to force Trump to state a position on something, anything, but all we got were barbs and rude remarks. But he’s NOT Hillary and off into the breach we go with Napoleon!

 

We see the same mentality in Balaam as we read through Numbers 22:21-40 this morning for the second of three times that we will visit this passage:

 

21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat it to get it back on the road.

 

24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again.

 

26 Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

 

29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

 

30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”

 

“No,” he said.

 

31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.

 

32 The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.[a] 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”

 

34 Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”

 

35 The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s officials.

 

36 When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the Moabite town on the Arnon border, at the edge of his territory. 37 Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send you an urgent summons? Why didn’t you come to me? Am I really not able to reward you?”

 

38 “Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.”

 

39 Then Balaam went with Balak to Kiriath Huzoth. 40 Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep, and gave some to Balaam and the officials who were with him. 41 The next morning Balak took Balaam up to Bamoth Baal, and from there he could see the outskirts of the Israelite camp.

 

Here, we see Balaam being so blinded by his own desires, the money and the power that would come with it, that he could not see God in action trying to stop him from making a foolish mistake. Just as the continuing revelations about Donald Trump and his moral character that keep piling up as warnings from God, in my mind, that he is not a man to be trusted in the White House, so were these events in Balaam’s life. He kept pushing headlong into the breach. He kept going with what he knew to be against God’s wishes. He was blinded by the fact that he wanted to fame and fortune rather than understanding that God did not want him to do what he desired.

 

Are you facing a choice in your life where God is giving you signals in the form of roadblocks that you should not do it? Think about it. All the warning signs are there. All the indications that the choice you are about to make is wrong but you want it so bad. That woman that you are flirting with is a beautiful young thing but she is not your wife and you know it’s wrong but your desire outweighs your reason. That man that you think is everything that your husband is not and to boot, he is soooo hot! You know it’s wrong but your passion is greater than your reason. Screwing over your co-worker to get a promotion is wrong but you do it anyway because your greed is greater than your compassion. Taking something that doesn’t belong to you, you know is wrong, but no one is looking and your desire reasons out that it is OK just for that reason. We all have warning signs from the Holy Spirit that what we are about to do is against God’s design for our lives but we push headlong into them because we reason away the truth of God’s law. We reason away that it will destroy our lives. We reason away reason just to get what we want. Let us be a people that are sensitive to God’s roadblocks into our lives when we venture close to making decisions that are against his will. Let us stop and take stock when God puts roadblocks in our way to our executing our sins. Think it through. Stop. Turn away from that which is destructive for you. Heed the warning signs from God.

 

Amen and Amen.