Bible lessons, then and now

00_JamesClingman02We are too emotionally engaged in politics. As many grieve and after what took place Nov. 8, the undeniable and inescapable question is, “What now?”

In the early chapters of Exodus, we find that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart against releasing His people. After multiple plagues, Pharaoh still resisted. God told him, “But I have raised you up (spared you) for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

Doing their thing
Judges 2:11 says, “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals…the people did what was right in their own eyes,” instead of what God wanted them to do. On several occasions, they cried out for a judge, which God sent each time. But even after twelve judges, the people reverted to “doing what they saw fit.”

In 1 Samuel 8, the people cried out for a king, even though God was their King. After Samuel warned them of what they would suffer under an earthly king, the people nevertheless, said, “We want a king!” They got Saul, the leader they surely deserved. And in 2 Chronicles 7, God similarly warned King Solomon against forsaking His Word.

This is not a sermon, but a reflection on similarities between then and now. God turned His people over to the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and other evildoers, to show His people the error of their ways.

Insulted God
This month, America elected a man who has insulted God by saying he has “never asked God for forgiveness” because he is “a good person.” After saying that, he was endorsed by Jerry Falwell, Jr. and other so-called “evangelical Christians.” 1 John 1:10 says, “If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his Word has no place in our hearts.” Trump went on to say that he does not “regret never asking God for forgiveness…”

We have a king who has let us know what kind of person he is and what he wants to do during his reign. Against all odds, he won authority over us, despite all the evil things he has said and done.

We must now reflect on our situation and determine what we must do.

Don’t get depressed; don’t hurt yourself or someone else; and don’t check out and never try again to move forward. Look for the lesson in this, especially if you are a spiritual person and believe that God is in control of all. Who knows? Like He did with Pharaoh, God just may have “raised up” Donald for this day and time.

In the confusion, hurt, and anger you may feel, you must act upon the lesson (I see it as an opportunity) by changing your life, or at least by improving on the positive things you are already doing. After all, we have seen this act before, historically and contemporaneously, and we have survived.

A blind eye
The 9/11 mantra was “May God bless America,” to which I wrote back then, “America should bless God,” because He has already blessed us tremendously.

Yet, even after 9/11, we acquiesced to politicians who legislated in opposition to scriptural tenets.

We turned a blind eye to our current president when he supported abortion and marriage between two men or two women. Maybe we are being held accountable now.

There are several economic lessons in Scripture. In Genesis 41, Joseph’s work gives us a great example of warehousing, storage, inventory control, and distribution. He prepared for the future of his people by acting before a crisis rather than waiting for one to occur. In Acts 2, the first church demonstrated its members’ understanding of collective empowerment by pooling their financial resources so that everyone could benefit.

We must learn from righteous economic and political examples of the past, and implement their lessons in today’s world.

James E. Clingman is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people.

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