My Insides Churn in Protest
AN UNFORESEEN ELECTION
This week, the United States elected a new president. Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president-elect. Nearly every poll predicted Clinton would win, so many news outlets and citizens were caught off-guard by Trump’s come-from-behind victory. Everywhere, people are trying to figure out what they overlooked.
THE DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA
Although Trump won the electoral vote, the popular vote was much closer, and Clinton looks to have come out on top there. Nonetheless, after a loud and nasty campaign, the United States must find a way to not be the Divided States. Within the church, leaders fell on both sides, contorting themselves to vote for Trump or Clinton despite numerous reservations, often describing their choice as “the lesser of two evils.”
WHO WILL PROTECT US?
The people of Israel could have related. They often found themselves in situations like this throughout the Old Testament, caught between two undesirable options. They needed protection from aggressive kings and invading armies. They would pay large sums of money to kings that would protect them.
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN?
Israel’s home was located between two massive empires—Egypt and Assyria. One time they were paying for Egypt’s protection, only to have Assyria invade, arrest, and take all the Egyptians captive. “Now what’s going to happen to us?” they asked, looking at each other. “How are we going to get out of this?” (Isa 20:6). They were trading one terrible oppressor for another, but they couldn’t see any way out.
Fortunate for them, God could. If only his people would listen to him. God paints for them a picture of life free from fear and insecurity, free from uncertainty and oppression. Like Israel, if Christians can take a moment to listen, they will hear of a freedom God promises. A promise more reliable than any politician’s.
“When Israel was only a child, I loved him.
I called out, ‘My son!’—called him out of Egypt.
But when others called him,
he ran off and left me.
He worshiped the popular sex gods,
he played at religion with toy gods.
Still, I stuck with him. I led Ephraim.
I rescued him from human bondage,
But he never acknowledged my help,
never admitted that I was the one pulling his wagon,
That I lifted him, like a baby, to my cheek,
that I bent down to feed him.
Now he wants to go back to Egypt or go over to Assyria—
anything but return to me!
That’s why his cities are unsafe—the murder rate skyrockets
and every plan to improve things falls to pieces.
My people are hell-bent on leaving me.
They pray to god Baal for help.
He doesn’t lift a finger to help them.
But how can I give up on you, Ephraim?
How can I turn you loose, Israel?
How can I leave you to be ruined like Admah,
devastated like luckless Zeboim?
I can’t bear to even think such thoughts.
My insides churn in protest.
And so I’m not going to act on my anger.
I’m not going to destroy Ephraim.
And why? Because I am God and not a human.
I’m The Holy One and I’m here—in your very midst.
“The people will end up following God.
I will roar like a lion—
Oh, how I’ll roar!
My frightened children will come running from the west.
Like frightened birds they’ll come from Egypt,
from Assyria like scared doves.
I’ll move them back into their homes.”