What Will the Next President Face?

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What Will the Next President Face?

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It is the first full working day for the new president of the United States. What might he hear if a servant of God gave recommendations from the Bible of how God would expect the president to govern? Let's imagine.

Good morning, Mr. President. Let me congratulate you on your new responsibilities, and may I offer wishes for your success as you take the helm of the world's most powerful nation. Your inaugural speech made clear your intent to maintain that position for the nation while at the same time seeking to reach out to both friend and foe to forge a bond of respect and cooperation.

You are coming into office at perhaps the most critical time in America's existence. The financial crisis of recent months is the most severe in this generation. America's relative position in the world faces the greatest challenge since the end of World War II. Iran's nuclear program could soon destabilize the entire Middle East. Many wonder what your administration will do to counter this threat.

God removes rulers and raises up rulers. No world leader holds office without His consent.

Other world problems demand your attention and leadership. The security and prosperity of this nation and the maintenance of the current world order are at stake. Many voices are offering advice on the way forward. Here is an analysis and counsel from God's Word. The choice is yours as to which way you, and the nation, will go.

A crushing global financial crisis

Your administration is inheriting a global financial crisis. The geography of Wall Street has changed. Financial institutions such as Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch have gone out of business or were forced to sell themselves to other banks to keep operating.

Investors have lost billions, if not trillions, of dollars as the stock market has staggered. The speed and ferocity of this crisis makes it far different from others of the post–World War II world. Governments and banks have had no previous experience with the scope of the shock and stresses generated by this global financial storm.

That the epicenter of this storm has been in the West, primarily the United States, has caused the rest of the world to reassess its relationship with America. Nations like India, China and Brazil have usually been on the receiving end of advice and sometimes aid from the ruling order, led by America.

This crisis is different. New and resurgent powers such as India, Brazil and Russia can now exert a great deal of influence. They have accumulated reserves of foreign currency, having learned lessons of the past. Their foresight is helping to lessen the impact this global crisis would otherwise have had on them.

Your fellow world leaders will tell you, Mr. President, that an era is ending. The United States must realize it can no longer dictate or control global order. The time when nations and regions can be made in America's image is over. For more than two centuries, first Great Britain and then America have fashioned the world's financial, political and cultural order.

America is still vital to the global economy with its huge market, consumer culture and technical innovation. The world economy still needs America; it is too big to be allowed to fall. But the time when it was everything to the world is coming to a close.

The rest of the world will form bonds and relationships to ensure their continued growth and prosperity. They see that to continue depending on America to call the shots puts their well-being in jeopardy. It may not be the end of the world, but it is the end of a world.

What does God expect the person who holds the most powerful office in the world to do? We should all learn this lesson: Debt is not good. Debt as a way of life will lead to a multitude of problems and spiritual ills that will ultimately bring any nation to its knees.

America has wallowed in debt to a point that is nearly unbearable. To finance homes, goods and a lifestyle the American people could not afford required dependence on nations like China and Saudi Arabia to buy and hold bonds, treasury notes and dollars. They financed an unparalleled orgy of spending that has resulted in trillions of dollars of debt, mortgaging future generations.

Written in the instruction God gave to ancient Israel is a financial principle for the ages: "The borrower is servant to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7). Sir, it is time the government you lead works to return this nation to financial ethics based on godly principles that will ensure stability and prosperity for all. The nation is on the brink of a financial enslavement that will break its power. It may not be too late, but time is running out.

Relations with the Islamic world

Mr. President, your predecessor was forced to focus his foreign policy on radical Islamic terrorists. The devastating attacks on 9/11 stunned the country into the reality of terrorist activity aimed at America. U.S. troops were committed to action in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Iraq becoming the center of attention.

The Taliban were driven from power in Afghanistan—at least temporarily—and Saddam Hussein was deposed by invading Iraq. Massive numbers of our troops have been engaged in Iraq. At times it looked bleak, as if America might lose this battle as guerrilla insurgencies whittled away at both Iraqi civilians and American troops. But the past two years saw a renewed surge of troops and commitment that have turned the tide and stabilized the country.

While it now appears troops can begin to be withdrawn, the long-term stability of the Iraqi government will no doubt be tested by Iran, Syria and other terrorist forces. Whether the American-delivered Iraqi-style of democracy can survive in the tough neighborhood of the Middle East is yet to be seen.

You will be faced with deciding how many U.S. troops to withdraw and at what speed. You will be tempted to move those troops to Afghanistan to counter an insurgent Taliban.

The pressure and need to maintain stability in this region is strong. Pakistan, the world's only nuclear-armed Islamic nation, is walking a tightrope between support for the West and radical Islamist elements that want to seize control.

Remember that in the 19th century Great Britain could not control that perennially troubled region, nor could the Soviet Union with 120,000 troops. Even Alexander the Great, back in the fourth century B.C., could not fully subjugate this area of the world.

The fact is that with all its other commitments, America does not have enough military resources to commit to the region to make a lasting difference. It will be a burdensome challenge to know what to do and for how long. To withdraw too many troops too soon from this region would invite disaster, something the world does not need.

And then there is Iran.

The next nuclear power?

Mr. President, you have been left with unfinished business with Iran. This radical Islamic state has been actively pursuing a nuclear weapon. Its president curses the state of Israel and threatens to wipe it off the map. Among its clerical leaders runs a strong messianic belief in the end of the world and the appearance of the Mahdi, a mystical religious leader who supposedly will usher in a reign of Islamic domination over the earth.

Many experts believe that when Iran develops a nuclear weapon its leaders will not hesitate to use it to advance their Islamic vision. To protect themselves, Sunni Muslim states will feel the need to develop or obtain their own nuclear arsenal. The entire region would face unprecedented instability.

Of course, a nuclear-armed Iran puts the United States in a near-untenable position. It not only threatens U.S., European and regional security, it also threatens energy supplies for much of the world. If that weren't bad enough, much of the Middle East would fall under the domination of a radical, terror-supporting regime.

Permanent solutions to the problems of the Middle East have eluded every one of your predecessors. Before you make your decision about what to do, I respectfully suggest you understand what few will admit—that the God of all the earth guides the course of nations. He alone ultimately determines the rulers of the people and the boundaries of the nations. Carefully consider the following lessons before committing to any long-term policies.

A lesson from history and prophecy

You would be wise to read the prophecies of Daniel to understand what God has in store for the Middle East. Focus on the pride that overcomes leaders when they do not recognize the power that God holds over the course of empires and peoples.

Notice what God revealed to the prophet Daniel and what Daniel said to Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar when Babylon was at the peak of power in this region. God gave the king a symbolic dream about the future that troubled his spirit, and none of his counselors could interpret it. It was a dream of a tall image "whose splendor was excellent . . . and its form was awesome" (Daniel 2:31).

"This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.

"Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth" (Daniel 2:32-35).

Here in a few sentences Daniel traced the outline of history from the fifth-century B.C. Babylonian Empire through the following Medo-Persian, Greco-Macedonian and Roman Empires up until the time ahead of us when Jesus Christ will intervene in world affairs to establish His Kingdom throughout the earth. God gave to Daniel special understanding in geopolitics that continues to teach us today. You can learn from this book of prophecy, but only if you gain the perspective Daniel had.

Three lessons

Daniel understood three principles that wise leaders will heed. Failure to learn these lessons could be costly to your new administration.

Before Daniel entered Nebuchadnezzar's throne room he consulted with his three closest friends and advisers, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, asking that they join him in seeking God's understanding of this dream (Daniel 2:17-18). God's answer was quick, and it contains three principles (Daniel 2:21).

First, God has power over nations and the long-term course of world events. History can only be understood from this foundational truth.

Second, God removes rulers and raises up rulers. No world leader holds office without His consent. It is not the genius of a well-run political campaign or the huge amounts of money spent in campaigning that led to your election victory. You, sir, sit at this desk because God has allowed it. Remember this and you can avoid the great all-consuming sin committed by many in high office—pride.

Third, God gives wisdom, knowledge and understanding to those who understand their needs for these qualities. Seek and trust in Him, look to His Word as the foundation of knowledge, and He will give you the wisdom necessary to chart a correct course for the nation during these turbulent times.

Notice God's instruction to the rulers of His nation Israel. It concerns how the kings could ensure success and a peaceful reign for themselves and their country. Deuteronomy 17:18-20 tells us what a new ruler is to do when he comes into power:

"He shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book . . . And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom . . ."

God's Word and His law, Mr. President, is the key to being a successful leader. Study and apply the Bible's teachings and God will be with you. Ignore them and you run the risk of serious mistakes and problems ahead.

Therein lies the key to wisdom and understanding of today's world events and what lies ahead for the nations. The reason this nation has prospered throughout its remarkable history is because of God's direct blessing. But whether that blessing will continue depends on the attitude and behavior of the country's leaders and its citizens.

If you will listen to and obey what God says and will lead your people to listen and repent too, you can be assured of God's watchful care over this country. If you will call on the nation to understand how far it has fallen from the knowledge of God, then you can lead a national turnaround. The opportunity is there and the choice is yours.

A change in Europe

You are taking office at a pivotal moment. The world is at a crossroads of history. Let's consider two more critical matters.

Europe, Mr. President, is a deceptive mix of conflicting images. Along with the United States, the European Union forms one of the two largest trading blocs in the world. Its sheer size in terms of economics, population and global involvement makes it a major player on the world stage. In its more than 50 years of existence it has continually grown to become the large economic union of today.

Yet not all its members, notably Great Britain, use the euro as their currency. Twice in the last three years it has failed to ratify a constitution meant to strengthen the union politically. The EU has no common foreign policy or military arm. Each nation retains those unique elements, and that is a key reason Europe is not the true superpower that America is or Great Britain once was.

Europe has an aging population, and the people are not replacing themselves. At the same time there is a growing Muslim presence in all the major nations. This is a threat to the stability of the region as the Western Christian culture clashes with the Islamic.

Europe prides itself on its tolerant multi-cultural approach to world affairs. It sees itself as the home of the enlightenment values that form the basis for Western civilization. Yet the region that produced Bach, Beethoven and Mozart was also the breeding ground for two world wars in the last century that cost the lives of tens of millions. Prejudice against ethnic, religious and racial minorities still runs deep in Europe.

Europe was caught unprepared in the current global financial upheaval. It became apparent that Europe's vaunted economic unity has a long way to go to deal effectively with future crises. This does not mean the European experiment is over—far from it. Look for the nations to learn from this latest crisis and form a system that will bounce back from recession. Don't count Europe out as a power to be reckoned with in coming years.

Bible prophecy tells us that a powerful political and economic system will emerge near the end of this age of human misrule. It is called "Babylon" in Revelation 17 and will involve the combined power of 10 rulers of nations or groups of nations.

These rulers will give their power and authority to one appointed leader who will provide global stability and prosperity. We know this system will be anchored in the historic seedbed of Europe, as the prophecies of both Daniel and Revelation show.

But the appearance of this system will have dramatic consequences for America and our historic ally Great Britain. America will no longer be the world's leading economic and political power. The Bible prophesies a time of trouble for these two nations unlike any in previous history. It will be a collapse from which there will be no recovery.

We are not yet at that point. America is still strong, albeit weakened in many ways through the economic, political and military crisis of recent years. You carry the hopes of many that a renewal of optimism and change is on the horizon. But this nation's future rests on a spiritual renewal found only in the pages of the Bible. Let me trace some of its key elements.

Blessings and curses

Mr. President, there is a biblical passage that explains the source of our national blessings and reveals what is occurring now. Take that copy of the Bible on which you swore your oath of office and open it to Leviticus 26.

In the opening verses you see that God states two inviolable commandments. First, do not make idols and bow down to them. Idols distort the true God and cause the worshipper to be blind, deaf and dumb, just as the graven image, to true spiritual values and principles.

Idolatry is alive and well in our present society and prevents people from seeing God and His teachings in the clear light of day.

Second, God says, "You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord" (Leviticus 26:2). God has ordained holy times for mankind to come and worship Him. These have long been neglected and ignored by humanity, but they are unchangeable laws that still have spiritual force in the universe.

On these two laws turn much of remainder of this chapter. They form the heart of how we come to love and obey the God who says He gives blessings and removes these blessing for disobedience.

Verse 3 is critical. God says, "If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments . . ." If His people obey His laws, God promises every conceivable blessing a nation could hope for. Look at what the following verses promise for obedience:

"I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.

"I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land. You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you. For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you" (verses 4-9).

God's great desire, "to walk among you and be your God, and you shall be [His] people" (verse 12), is still in force. He wants to dwell within a godly people reflecting the shining light of His way, not human tradition.

But there is another side to the covenant. The promises to ancient Israel were conditional on their obedience. If they threw aside God's commandments, God would remove His blessing.

Prophecy at work in history

God went on to say: "If you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments . . . I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you" (Leviticus 26:14-17).

The ancient nation of Israel, to whom this prophecy was first directed, received in part these promises in the land provided by God. They started with good intentions, but their history shows they quickly departed from their Creator's ways.

In spite of the repeated warnings from God and His servants the prophets, the people of Israel and Judah continually sinned and were eventually removed from the land. Ten of the 12 tribes of Israel were "lost" to history, only to reappear in modern times as the two great powers of the last two centuries, America and Great Britain, and other modern peoples.

A little-understood part of this story is that the prophecy we've been reading concerns these nations today. It shows that, because of our growing moral corruption, a time is coming when God's protective presence and blessing will be removed from the land we so dearly love. If America ignores the final warning of collapse, God will use the power of this "Babylon" described earlier to inflict this punishment on the nation.

Do not lightly dismiss this warning based on what you currently see on the world scene. Even modern history, between World Wars I and II, shows us how quickly world powers can rise.

You, Mr. President, have an opportunity to listen to the wisdom in this ancient prophecy. It holds direct application to you and your administration. There is time and opportunity to try to turn the nation around and chart a course back to the God of the Bible who stands behind these awesome prophecies.

This God today stands in the darkening storms that hover over the nation. For the moment He is shielding America from those who would attack and bring unspeakable destruction. While we trust in our armies and intelligence to keep the walls secure, this passage we have read actually shows us the true source of our blessing and security. God is our refuge and our source of blessing.

It is time that this nation humbles itself in a deep and heartfelt repentance, unlike anything this nation has ever seen. Sir, we need a great awakening of historic proportions.

You stand in a pivotal moment of opportunity. You can listen to this warning or ignore it. The choice is yours.

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