In the wake of Donald Trump’s near-nomination, some Christian voices are now being heard telling us we should accept and/or rejoice over this development because God has always used leaders who don’t acknowledge Him. The prime example being pushed is Cyrus, king of the Persian Empire during the exile of the Jews in the Old Testament.
Cyrus was prophesied by name by the prophet Isaiah. The account of Cyrus’s decree to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple is found in the book of Ezra.
Trump, we are assured, is the new Cyrus. Even though he doesn’t believe he has to ask God for forgiveness for anything in his life, he will become the strong arm of the Lord as he takes down the false gods of political correctness, routs the denizens of the Washington, DC, swamp, and proclaims liberty once again throughout the land.
I would laugh if I didn’t feel more like crying.
Be careful with analogies. Cyrus was not exactly an elected ruler. The Jews had to deal with whatever whim entered the minds of both Babylonian and Persian kings. It wasn’t as if they said, “Look, there’s a pagan who is at least open to the possibility of allowing us to return to our land; let’s choose him.” Therein lies the difference.
Yes, God may work through evil rulers, accomplishing His purposes without them even realizing they are carrying out His decree. It’s a whole other matter, though, for a people who have the privilege of choosing their political leaders to make a conscious decision to pick someone whose character and policies are at odds with God’s basic commands and requirements.
When choosing leaders in the church, we are given explicit instructions to focus on character. Just check out Paul’s first letter to Timothy sometime. So when it comes to advocating a political leader, are we to say, “Well, since the government is not a church, the character of the chosen leader doesn’t matter?”
Character always matters.
Suppose, just for a moment, you are responsible for choosing someone in an organization, business, community group, whatever, and you sit down with that person to gain some insight into the type of character he possesses.
Suppose, once more, that in the course of that interview, you discover that the candidate has openly mocked a disabled person by mimicking that person’s disability. Would that commend him to you as the right person for the job?
Again, what if, as you prod further, you find out that this candidate not only goes on Twitter rampages with rude, crude insults toward those he thinks have offended him, but he actually has posted pictures of spouses of those people, making fun of their looks.
Then, to top it off, the interviewee, apparently completely oblivious to his inane rantings, tells you that someone he doesn’t like might have been an accomplice in the assassination of a president?
If you could still want to continue that interview, you might ask about his fidelity to the beliefs and goals of your organization. If the response is “Look, I can be whatever you want me to be,” you might be excused for thinking the candidate isn’t really on board with what you want to accomplish.
Would you really recommend hiring such a person? Yet that’s what we are on the verge of doing in the Republican party right now.
Everyone is now talking about unity, but Trump doesn’t think it’s all that important; he can “win, win, win” without all those people who aren’t bowing down to his lordship:
There’s another Biblical figure who didn’t acknowledge God, yet God used him to carry out a purpose. His name was Nebuchadnezzar. His purpose? To destroy Jerusalem and take the people into captivity.
If Trump resembles any ancient king, I see him more as a Nebuchadnezzar than a Cyrus. I just pray that our exile is shorter than the seventy years the Jews received.