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Donald Trump: Is He Our Generation's Josiah or Jehu?




As you take in the following, I'd suggest you not focus on the recent events in Washington at the Capitol building.  That's what's on all of our minds now, but in the long run, it's best to consider the entire Trump era, not just the freshest memory.
 
As the Donald J Trump presidency draws to a close, I'd like to take a stab at an objective consideration of his time in office, but with a twist: I'll be making a comparison between Trump and two Old Testament kings: Jehu and Josiah, to see which one of these historic kings more closely matches what we have observed in our nation's president over the past 4 years.

Why hold Trump up against these two guys?
In the case of this particular president, many of his biggest supporters have been bible-believing voters. Criticisms of Trump have been, more often than not, focused on his character. In his defense, many evangelicals have employed comparisons to imperfect bible characters, including kings such as Solomon, Cyrus, and David, to illustrate that God can and will place flawed men in places of power in order to accomplish His plans.    

Remind me of who Josiah and Jehu are again?
It's very likely that you know more about Donald Trump than you do about Jehu and Josiah, so let's have a little refresher.

Josiah was a king of Judah from 640-609 BC. For a time, Israel split into two kingdoms, named Judah and Israel; Judah is the one which contained Jerusalem. 

Jehu There are two Jehu's in the bible, one a prophet, and the other a king. We will concern ourselves with King Jehu, who is introduced in 1 Kings 19:16 and was a contemporary of the prophet Elisha. 

What are they known for?
-Josiah is known for ridding the nation of idols, redirecting his nation back into something resembling the path that God had for them, and sparing the Hebrew people from God's wrath. 
-Jehu is known for his recklessness, and his tendency to do things and speak without thinking.   

Let's expand on those two single-line recaps of their time on the throne. 

Josiah--The Boy King
At age 8, Josiah became king. Earlier, his grandfather King Manasseh had allowed the nation to get so far from God that idolatry was regularly practiced, including within the temple, where Yahweh Himself was said to dwell. God delivered a warning to Manasseh that as punishment, Judah would be captured by enemy nations. 

However, the Lord didn't fulfill this warning immediately. When Josiah came along, and showed himself to be a godly man, God spared the nation from the calamity that had been promised, as long as Josiah was alive. 

The following scriptures are condensed by me to focus on the most relevant portions. I've provided a link to the full chapter if you'd like to read these passages in full and in context. 


2 Kings 22:2-20 [Josiah] did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, not turning aside to the right or to the left. In the 18th year of his reign, King Josiah sent Shaphan to the temple. Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read from it in the presence of the king.

When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. “Go and inquire of the Lord about what is written in this book. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”

‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people. Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’ Tell the king of Judah "because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”

Summary Josiah read Scripture, saw that his people were in big trouble because of their sin, and he asked God what His will is. God honored that by promising Josiah that his good heart meant that the people of Judah would be spared while Josiah is king.

It gets better, but first, let's leave Josiah for a bit to take a look at Jehu. 

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Jehu--History's First Crazy Driver
Jehu was known for having a wild and unpredictable personality. Despite the absence of cars at this time in world history, the bible actually tells us Jehu had a reputation as a crazy driver. He was so reckless behind the wheel that one could recognize his driving from far away:
 
2 Kings 9:16-17,20  Then Jehu rode in a chariot. Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel and he saw the company of Jehu as he came...  The watchman reported, "the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously."

Jehu--Not tolerant of sin
2 Kings 9:22,24  When Joram saw Jehu, he said, "Is it peace, Jehu?" And he answered, "What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?"...  And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength and shot Joram between his arms; and the arrow went through his heart and he sank in his chariot.

Jehu and his weakness for Jezebel
2 Kings 9:30  When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it, and she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out the window.



How idolatry was addressed by the two kings
The good news here is that both Jehu and Josiah took action when it came to what God had said was the people's worst offense: worshipping false gods.

How Josiah dealt with idolatry
After God told Josiah that He would spare them the destruction, he took action. He read the word of God, then, like a good leader does, he committed to getting rid of the idols. His people saw the example he set, and they committed to do the same:


2 Kings 23 "Then the king called together all the elders. He went up to the temple of the Lord with all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant. The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

The king ordered the priests to remove from the temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel."


The next several verses describe how Josiah did a thorough cleanup of all idols and anything having to do with idols. He didn't stop to consider the economic impact, or whose feelings were hurt. He simply destroyed that which needed to be destroyed. His next step also showed great leadership. With the people having no idols to worship, he directed them to worship the one true God:

v. 21 The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 


Josiah's actions paid off, big time. Take a look at these two verses:


v. 22 Neither in the days of the judges who led Israel nor in the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed. 
v. 25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength.


How Jehu dealt with idolatry
Like Josiah, Jehu was directed by the Lord to eradicate idol-worship. His methods involved less transparency, and more trickery. He called all Ball worshipers to the temple of Baal, promising them that he'd show them a great sacrifice to that god.

Once they were inside the temple, Jehu had them all killed 
2 Kings 10:25,28  "Then it came about, as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the royal officers, "Go in, kill them; let none come out." And they killed them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the royal officers threw them out, and went to the inner room of the house of Baal.  Thus Jehu eradicated Baal out of Israel."

Jehu had his own sins
2 Kings 10:29,30 "However, as for the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin, from these Jehu did not depart, even the golden calves that were at Bethel and that were at Dan. The LORD said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in executing what is right in My eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in My heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel."  But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel sin."

Anointed by God to be destructive?
2 Chronicles 22:7-9 "Now the destruction of Ahaziah was from God, in that he went to Joram. For when he came, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. It came about when Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, he found the princes of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah's brothers ministering to Ahaziah, and slew them.  He also sought Ahaziah, and they caught him while he was hiding in Samaria; they brought him to Jehu, put him to death and buried him. For they said, "He is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart."

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Where, exactly, does Donald Trump fit into all this?
In light of the previously-mentioned defense of Donald Trump using flawed Old Testament kings as examples, we now have enough background knowledge of Jehu and Josiah to determine which, if any, OT king is an applicable comparison to our 45th president. 

To recap 
Josiah is described as one of the best kings of Israel/Judah ever, in part because he listened to God's word and took it seriously, and in part because he followed through on the command to rid the nation of it's biggest threat: idols.

Jehu is described as reckless and licentious, but also willing to rid the nation of idols like Josiah was, and he was willing to be a bull in a China shop if he needed to be.

Both Jehu and Josiah were willing to exact harsh punishment on the worst offenders, and both were more concerned with following God's instructions and calling than they were about what others thought about them. 

So with that in mind, here's my conclusion
It doesn't take much effort find some who are convinced that Trump can do no wrong, just as it's not difficult to find those who insist he can't do anything right. To some, he's the buffoon that Jehu was; to others, he's the out-of-nowhere leader that his country needed, just like Josiah. 

I am here to say that I am convinced that either attitude is harmful for the person who adheres to it. Most of us lean strongly one way or the other, and have trouble entering into this objectively, and drawing a bias-free conclusion. 

As hard as it might be to admit to those of us with strong opinions, it's likely that the Donald J Trump presidency contained elements of Jehu, and of Josiah. 

What do you think?
If Donald J Trump was, knowingly or not, inspired by either Josiah or Jehu, which of these two kings bears a stronger resemblance to our outgoing president? Answer in the comments please. 

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