The Spirit of God says, ‘I have chosen this man, Donald Trump, for such a time as this.’ ???

“The woman explained that a Trump victory had been prophesied and handed Ms. Pruitt a two-page printout, which began: “The Spirit of God says, ‘I have chosen this man, Donald Trump, for such a time as this.’” Barack Obama, the woman continued, should never have been president, since he was not born a United State citizen. The visit ended with the woman suggesting that Ms. Pruitt’s discomfort at the church was God telling her it was time to move on.”

for such a time as thisReally?  God said He chose Donald Trump for such a time as this?  That begs a number of questions.  

A time such as this?  such as what?

The quote at the top is from an article in the NY Times, which I saw on msn.com.  I’ll give you the link shortly.  But not yet.

Is it, as the image shows, a time for spiraling out of control?

Or is it because we need someone like Trump as president now?  Perhaps because we deserve someone like Trump as president?  However, regardless of the way you answered those questions, don’t forget about the instances in the Bible where God said He raised up a leader.

Start at the end

This is likely to be a contentious article, so let’s begin at the end.  That way there will (hopefully) be no misunderstanding.

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

the God of Israel, says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and made you a leader over my people Israel.

And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?

I suspect that the person making the “prophesy” meant it to be about the last of the three sentences above.

And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?

Well, Donald Trump certainly could be accused of thinking himself to be royalty.  Maybe even appointed by God.  The same is likely true for many of his most ardent supporters.  However, let’s look where this quote comes from.  Here’s a bot of background to set the scene.

Haman’s Plot to Destroy the Jews

Est 3:7 In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, they cast the pur (that is, the lot ) in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on the twelfth month, the month of Adar.

Est 3:8 Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will put ten thousand talents of silver into the royal treasury for the men who carry out this business.”

Est 3:10 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”

Est 3:12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and little children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.

Uh Oh.  As with many issues, it’s difficult to tell where Trump stands with the Jewish people and with Israel.  He seems to be both for and against them – sometimes helping and sometimes doing things that some believe will lead to Israel’s destruction.  But that’s not the focus here.  This is just background, to set the scene for the one we will soon see was possibly raised up by God for that time.

Let’s continue.

Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help

Est 4:1 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

Est 4:4 When Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther summoned Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.

Est 4:6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to urge her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.

Est 4:9 Hathach went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”

Est 4:12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?

Est 4:15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Est 4:17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

So tell me, which of these people reminds you most of Trump?  I dare say, it’s not Esther.  It’s not the one of whom it was said, “who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?“.

On top of that, would Trump even want to be compared to a woman?

I raised you up from among the people and made you a leader over my people

So, who did God say this to?

Ahijah’s Prophecy Against Jeroboam

1Ki 14:1 At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became ill, 2 and Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go, disguise yourself, so you won’t be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there—the one who told me I would be king over this people. 3 Take ten loaves of bread with you, some cakes and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.” 4 So Jeroboam’s wife did what he said and went to Ahijah’s house in Shiloh.
Now Ahijah could not see; his sight was gone because of his age. 5 But the LORD had told Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son, for he is ill, and you are to give her such and such an answer. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else.”

1Ki 14:6 So when Ahijah heard the sound of her footsteps at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why this pretense? I have been sent to you with bad news. 7 Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and made you a leader over my people Israel. 8 I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. 9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have provoked me to anger and thrust me behind your back.

1Ki 14:10 “ ‘Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone. 11 Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country. The LORD has spoken!’

1Ki 14:12 “As for you, go back home. When you set foot in your city, the boy will die. 13 All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only one belonging to Jeroboam who will be buried, because he is the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom the LORD, the God of Israel, has found anything good.

1Ki 14:14 “The LORD will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will cut off the family of Jeroboam. This is the day! What? Yes, even now. 15 And the LORD will strike Israel, so that it will be like a reed swaying in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land that he gave to their forefathers and scatter them beyond the River, because they provoked the LORD to anger by making Asherah poles. 16 And he will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit.”

1Ki 14:17 Then Jeroboam’s wife got up and left and went to Tirzah. As soon as she stepped over the threshold of the house, the boy died. 18 They buried him, and all Israel mourned for him, as the LORD had said through his servant the prophet Ahijah.

1Ki 14:19 The other events of Jeroboam’s reign, his wars and how he ruled, are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel. 20 He reigned for twenty-two years and then rested with his fathers. And Nadab his son succeeded him as king.

If this is the reference to Trump, then the one who claims to want to make America great again will be the one who leads to our destruction.  I doubt very much that’s what the woman in the article meant.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not what God means, does it?  What does God have in mind for such a time as this?

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

This is probably the most likely of the three quotes to be recognized.  By itself, without context, it’s probably also the one most likely to be misunderstood.  It may sound like God is going to use the person being raised up in a way to demonstrate His power through that person.  But that would be wrong.  Dead wrong.

The Plague of Hail

Ex 9:13 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, 14 or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 17 You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. 18 Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now. 19 Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every man and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.’ ”

That’s right – it’s about the infamous Pharaoh of Egypt.  The one who led his people to tragic deaths and their possessions to ruin under his watch, because of his refusal to listen to God.  In this case, “raised you up” is often not understood.  It’s not a good thing.  In fact, it’s more properly translated as “I allowed you to come to power”.  For much more on this topic, please see, God, The Father – Friend or Foe? A look at Pharaoh.

In any case, it’s another scenario where the one who would make America great again would lead to destroy America.  Once more, hardly the thing this woman would want to be portraying.  But she isn’t God.  God may very well have something else in mind.  For more on that thought, I encourage you to check out Do we have the leader we deserve, need, or both? and Do we have the leader we deserve, need or both? Revisited.  They provide further insight into this issue of why God raises up the leaders we have.

Meanwhile, the question remains – what does God have in mind for such a time as this?

Such a time as this

So let’s get to the New York Times / msn.com article.  It’s titled A Quiet Exodus: Why Blacks Are Leaving White Evangelical Churches. (sorry, the link is no longer working.)
Here’s how it starts.

Charmaine Pruitt wrote the names of 12 churches on a sheet of paper, tore the paper into 12 strips, and dropped them into a Ziploc bag. It was Sunday morning and time to pick which church to attend.

This time of the week two years earlier, there would have been no question. Ms. Pruitt, 46, would have been getting ready for her regular Saturday afternoon worship service, at a former grocery store overhauled into a state-of-the-art, 760-seat sanctuary. In the darkened hall, where it would have been hard to tell she was one of the few black people in the room, she would have listened to the soaring anthems of the praise bands. She would have watched, on three giant screens, a sermon that over the course of a weekend would reach one of the largest congregations in the country.

But Ms. Pruitt has not been to that church since the fall of 2016. That was when she concluded that it was not, ultimately, meant for people like her. She has not been to any church regularly since.

Such a time as this.
A time when “meant for people like her” still means a black person isn’t welcome in any given church she wants to attend. 
A time when someone doesn’t go to church because they don’t feel welcome.  
A time when Satan wins because too many Christians follow his lies instead of God’s truth.

A time such as this when the “Samaritans” of our day, although different, are still outsiders for no good reason other than the fact that someone decided they should be, because “they” don’t look like “us”.

What ever happened to what Jesus said about “love you neighbor”?

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Lk 10:25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Lk 10:26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

Lk 10:27 He answered: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’’”

Lk 10:28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. …

So far so good.  As Christians, we all know the answer.  Lots of non-Christians do the same things.  But, notice the “…” at the end.  There’s more.

“Do this and you will live.”

And there’s the rub.  Merely knowing the right answer isn’t enough.  Jesus actually wants us to do it as well.
And then we have to go make even what should have been a simple thing more complicated.

Lk 10:29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

It’s not like we don’t know this.  Seriously.  Let’s take a quick side trip to something Jesus said in Matthew 5.

Love for Enemies

Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

If we’re supposed to love even our enemies – another of those answers we certainly know in our heads – then who is left that we’re not supposed to love?  You know the answer to that as well, but in case you can’t quite say it – there’s no one left who we’re not commanded to love.  BTW – no one who is a Christian should be our enemy.  

I’m not saying it’s easy.  But I am saying it’s something we’re commanded to do.  And you’ll see in a minute how that get’s to be one of the big issues here.

Lk 10:30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

Lk 10:36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

Lk 10:37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

No surprise there.  But, as I said – hard to do.

Go and do likewise

How do we do that?  How can we go and do likewise in such a time as this?

It seems obvious, but talking is probably a good way to get started.  But look at what happened in this instance.

In July 2016, days after a black man enraged about police brutality shot and killed five Dallas police officers, Jeremiah’s father had breakfast with one of the church’s senior pastors. He spoke to him frankly about race and his frustration with the church’s silence.

After that breakfast, church staff began discussing how to face matters directly. In meetings over the coming weeks, black staff members would talk of their own past struggles with racism and the grim parts of American history that still went unacknowledged. A pastor at Ms. Pruitt’s church campus pledged from the pulpit to tear down racism, one conversation at a time.

Then, the next month, Pastor Morris preached a message entitled “Still.” It began with a series of qualifications. God is still in control. There is no perfect political candidate. Voting is choosing the lesser of evils. Yes, there is gender inequality. And yes, there is a race problem in the country, though racism, implying hate, is not the right word. Pastor Morris said it was a subtler problem of prejudice.

Then he focused attention on the upcoming presidential race.

“The election,” he said, “is extremely important.”

The country is in trouble financially; a critical Supreme Court appointment awaits; one of the major parties advocates using “taxpayer dollars, your dollars,” for abortion. Evangelical Christians sit at home on Election Days, while “those who are trying to change our constitution” go to the polls, and look at what happens: Prayer is taken out of the schools.

“We are going the wrong way,” he concluded. “We need to get involved, we need to pray and we need to vote.”

He never said to vote for Mr. Trump. But the implication in the sermon, and in the leaflets that handed out at church, was lost on no one: that one must vote to uphold Christian values and that the Republican Party platform reflected those values. And Mr. Trump was the Republican candidate.

Ms. Pruitt sent messages to several white couples she had befriended at the church, telling them she was going to take some time off. She had become uneasy at a church, she told them, that speaks of overcoming racism on one Sunday “and then turns around later and asks me to support” Trump, who she believed was “a racist candidate.”

One of the couples invited her to come to their house. Sitting in the living room over a plate of brownies, Ms. Pruitt explained to the wife how disturbed she had been by the clear inference from the pulpit that she should support a candidate whose behavior and rhetoric were so offensive that she could not bring herself even to say his name.

The woman explained that a Trump victory had been prophesied and handed Ms. Pruitt a two-page printout, which began: “The Spirit of God says, ‘I have chosen this man, Donald Trump, for such a time as this.’” Barack Obama, the woman continued, should never have been president, since he was not born a United State citizen. The visit ended with the woman suggesting that Ms. Pruitt’s discomfort at the church was God telling her it was time to move on.

Ms. Pruitt never went back.

Several words come to mind.  Shocking.  Disturbing.  Disgusting.  

The visit ended with the woman suggesting that Ms. Pruitt’s discomfort at the church was God telling her it was time to move on.

God tells us that bad things will happen.  And, as Paul wrote, He will make them come out for good …

Ro 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose

In an incredibly unfortunate way, that might actually be true.  Unfortunate for the congregation that asked her to leave. It could be a good thing for both Mrs. Pruitt and the congregation that welcomes here.  

Why?  Because it’s (at least some) of the people in that congregation who told Mr.s Pruitt to leave that don’t appear love God.  After all, listening and doing are both commanded by God.  After reading the article, I feel like the Letter to the Church in Sardis, from Revelation, might be one for a congregation like this to read.

To the Church in Sardis

Rev 3:1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Rev 3:4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.?

Yes, maybe a congregation like this used to deserve a good reputation.  But it appears that they don’t any more.  It’s time to wake up!  And if they ask one of those few who haven’t “soiled their clothes” to leave the church, then they would seem to be going deeper to sleep.

However, for Mrs. Pruitt and a church who welcomes here, the church in Philadelphia comes to mind.

To the Church in Philadelphia

Rev 3:7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

Rev 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Conclusion

Remember the beginning of the article:

Charmaine Pruitt wrote the names of 12 churches on a sheet of paper, tore the paper into 12 strips, and dropped them into a Ziploc bag. It was Sunday morning and time to pick which church to attend.

She did this after it was suggested that God was trying to tell her to find a new church.

The article ends like this:

The next week Ms. Pruitt considered the other 11 churches on the list, and on Sunday, she tried someplace new.

God will lead Mrs. Pruitt to the right church.  He is faithful.

However, for the ones who turn her away instead of welcoming her – and others like her – I feel sorry for them.  They are being used not by God, but by Satan.  Surely, not being welcoming is not what God wants.  If there was a message from God in what happened at that luncheon, it’s probably something like this:

Mt 10:11 “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Finally, remember this about Sodom.  Or maybe it should be “know this”, if you’ve never read it.

Eze 16:49 “ ‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. 51 Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. 52 Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.”

This is from a rather long passage that Jeremiah delivers from God to Jerusalem.  No doubt, the same holds true for us in such a time as this.  Most people think the problem in Sodom was sexual perversion.  But it was more.  Like arrogance.  Like thinking, “we’re too good for ‘that kind of person'”.  

To be fair to the church in the article, I include this:

There is now a team at the church focused exclusively on making the church more diverse. On the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a 49-second video of excerpts from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was played at worship services — “a monumental moment in Gateway church history,” one pastor said, the first time that the day had been acknowledged.

Will it work?  Is it too little too late?  Only time will tell.  

But I can say, in such a time as this, we need to remember what Jesus said to all seven of the Revelation churches about overcoming.  
And we should remember – 

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.


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