Denison Forum – The Trump–Kim summit: 2 biblical imperatives

The much-anticipated summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un is dominating global headlines this morning. The summit will be the first meeting between a sitting US president and a head of North Korea.

Their meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET, which is 9 a.m. Tuesday in Singapore. It will take place at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, off Singapore’s southern coast. More than a thousand journalists from around the world have converged on Singapore.

What will happen at the summit?

BBC News reports this morning that Mr. Kim wants to focus on rebuilding the North Korean economy and thus seeks sanctions relief and international investment. The Trump administration has made clear its focus on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, with a timeline and technical details for dismantling weapons and weapons-making capabilities.

The two leaders could announce an agreement to work toward the “common goal” of removing nuclear weapons, mirroring the announcement that followed Mr. Kim’s meeting with South Korea’s president in April. It is also possible that they will sign documents officially ending the Korean War, which ceased in 1953 with an armistice but no peace treaty.

Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters last week that “there could be more than one meeting, more than one conversation” between the two. Today’s Washington Post quotes South Korea’s president, who states that negotiations “could take one year, two years or even longer.” However, Mr. Trump is also reportedly willing to end the meeting quickly if it does not go well.

(For more on the Korean conflict, see my North Korea: What Christians Need to Know.)

How can we be on God’s side?

In The Words Lincoln Lived By, Gene Griessman tells of a time during the Civil War when a group of clergymen met with President Lincoln. One of them commented, “I hope the Lord is on our side.”

Lincoln replied, “I am not at all concerned about that, for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side” (his emphasis).

In these conflicted times, how can we be sure we are on “the Lord’s side”? Consider two related imperatives.

One: Admit that we need the power and protection of God.

We are a country of unprecedented wealth and power. But we need to take a page from Jewish history.

As the people prepared to enter their Promised Land, Moses warned them to “beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth'” (Deuteronomy 8:17). Scripture teaches that “every good and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17).

In a world where all that exists was created by its King, there are truly no “self-made” people. Or nations. This fact leads to a second imperative:

Two: Seek peace from the only Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

Going back to 1985, numerous talks with North Korea have failed to produce lasting peace or nuclear disarmament. Even if the US achieves peace with North Korea, other conflicts are looming on the horizon.

Our victory over Germany and Japan in World War II led to the Cold War with the Soviet Union. The collapse of the USSR was followed by 9/11 and the ongoing war against jihadism.

We are fallen people living in a conflicted world.

That’s why God urges us to seek protection and peace from his providence and power. In Psalm 140, David prayed, “Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their heart and stir up wars continually” (vv. 1–2).

Now God is calling us to make his prayer ours.

If we trust the politics of men over the power of God, we deserve the disappointment that will result. If we learn from the tragedy of conflict to make Christ our King, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

“The only significance of life”

Let’s close by noting that we live in a fragile world.

According to French authorities, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain used the belt of his hotel bathrobe to hang himself in the bathroom of his French hotel last Friday. (For more, see my Special Edition Daily Article on Bourdain’s death.)

Former NFL lineman Kenyatta Jones died this weekend of cardiac arrest at the age of thirty-nine. And actor Jackson Odell, known for his roles on The Goldbergs and Modern Family, was found unresponsive at a home in California. The cause of death is pending an autopsy. He was twenty years of age.

Because tomorrow is promised to none, it is essential that we redeem today.

Consider the response of Justify’s owners after winning horse racing’s Triple Crown last Saturday. He was only the second horse in forty years to accomplish this historic feat.

Justify’s owners include Kenny and Lisa Troutt of Dallas. Janet and I are privileged to count them friends; we have long admired their passion for extending God’s kingdom through their influence and resources. When Kenny was interviewed by NBC’s Bob Costas after Saturday’s victory, his first response was to give glory to God for his blessings.

Leo Tolstoy claimed, “The only significance of life consists in helping to establish the kingdom of God.”

Do you agree?

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