Presidential Legacy

Okay, this Barack Obama thing is really starting to get a little weird. Check it out..

What does it mean when other countries are getting as excited about the election of an American president as America does? And what does it say for George Bush’s legacy as president when so many around the world are excited about his replacement? How does a person look back on his life or career and walk away knowing no one is sorry to see him go. It reminds me of another world leader I read about once.

And the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the anger of the Philistines and of the Arabians who are near the Ethiopians. And they came up against Judah and invaded it and carried away all the possessions they found that belonged to the king’s house, and also his sons and his wives, so that no son was left to him except Jehoahaz, his youngest son. And after all this the Lord struck him in his bowels with an incurable disease. In the course of time, at the end of two years, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great agony. His people made no fire in his honor, like the fires made for his fathers. He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one’s regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. 2 Chronicles 21:16-20 ESV

Jehoram, son of King Jehoshaphat of Judah, was 32 years old when he became King of Judah, and he reigned for 8 years (about 851-843 BC). Jehoram was an evil king. After becoming king, he killed all of his brothers, and many other leaders of Israel and renewed pagan worship in Judah. He constructed idol shrines in Judah, and compelled his people to worship them. Then Elijah the prophet wrote him a letter describing Jehoram’s sins and explaining the punishment that would befall him. He didn’t listen.

As was often the case when Israel or Judah ignored God long enough, the Lord stirred up the Philistines and Arabs to attack Jehoram. They did a thorough job carrying away everything of value in the king’s palace, including his sons and his wives. Only his youngest son, Jehoahaz, (Ahaziah), escaped. Shortly after that Jehoram was struck down with the incurable bowel disease. He was dead in two years, and was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal cemetary.

Now Israel and Judah both had a lot of bad kings, but Jehoram is the only one about which the Bible says no one cared that he died. It makes one wonder how bad a leader has to be to garnet so little compassion upon his demise.

Now I’m not saying ol’ George W. is as bad as Jehoram. But I do find myself curious about what is going through his mind right now. To be fair, I don’t think he set out to be a bad president. I don’t think he is the evil war monger he’s often painted to be. I’m sure he did what he thought was the right thing and whether any of it was right or not I’ll leave for history and God to judge; it’s not my place and I can’t imagine what I would do in his place. (It’s why i have no political ambitions.)

But I will continue to pray for him, as I will pray for his successor, because it cannot be easy to leave a career, knowing you’ve done the best you thought you could and also knowing what seems like the entire world thinks you screwed up. I’m sure there is a great deal of pain and soul searching in his future. And I do genuinely hope he is able to come to terms with what he discovers about himself. But it will not be easy, and for that reason he has my compassion.

A lot of paranoid people think the world hates them; soon to be former President Bush has no need to be paranoid, the world does.

Until next time…


One thought on “Presidential Legacy

  1. Truly a gracious, humble and kind analysis, Dennis. Personally, I think G.W. was manipulated by men more powerful and focused than he. Still, passivity has its own cost and it has cost the world a lot, which is why the dislike of so many may indeed be well deserved.

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