President Obama used the word ‘maximalist’ four times in his recent interview with the New York Times. Recall the definition for maximalist is one who holds extreme (political) views and is not willing to compromise.
Even though the interview centered on foreign policy the president did insert his ‘take’ on the far right of the Republican Party by stating they had extinguished many potential compromises by their maximalist positions.
He then returned to foreign policy and described the stance of the Islamic Shias inside Iraq as a maximalist position that is doomed to fail. “And that’s, by the way, a broader lesson for every country: You want 100 percent, and the notion that the winner really does take all, all the spoils. Sooner or later that government’s going to break down.”
Therefore, the president believes that a nation which employs a maximalist position with a right to take spoils will surely fail.
The Bible does in fact speak of a nation whose leader does not tolerate compromise and furthermore endorses the taking of spoils from their enemies. Everyone can decide for themselves if that nation is about to fail because of their positions.
While King Asa ruled Judah between 911 – 870 BC Judah was invaded by a host of Ethiopians from Egypt with an army of a million men plus three hundred chariots. Asa cried out to the LORD saying, “O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!”
“So the LORD struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. And Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar. So the Ethiopians were overthrown, and they could not recover, for they were broken before the LORD and His army. And they (Israelites) carried away very much spoil…and they plundered all the cities, for there was exceedingly much spoil in them. They also attacked the livestock enclosures, and carried off sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 14:12-15
So they returned to Jerusalem after God gave them a tremendous victory. There were no peace talks and no hint of compromise. What did the Israelites do with the spoil?
“So they gathered together at Jerusalem…and they offered to the LORD…seven hundred bulls and seven thousand sheep from the spoil they had brought.” 2 Chronicles 15:10-11
Asa subsequently died and his son Jehoshaphat reigned in his place. During Jehoshaphat’s reign a great multitude from Syria was preparing to attack Judah. Jehoshaphat and all the people turned to their God. They fasted and waited for a word from the LORD.
Shortly thereafter the word of the LORD came to the Prophet Jahaziel.
“Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s… tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.’” 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17b
Once again God gave them great victory over their enemies and provided much spoil.
“When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies, and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much…then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.” 2 Chronicles 20:25, 30
It is interesting that the same player nations during the reigns of Asa and his son Jehoshaphat 850 years before the birth of Christ are the same nations in the headlines today causing havoc; and the conflict against God’s chosen nation is also the same.
And while both Asa and Jehoshaphat turned to God for deliverance from their enemies, today the president of the United States, a great nation called to befriend Israel, doesn’t even mention God, let alone turn to Him for guidance.
Thus while the president’s ideology of no ‘victor/no vanquished’ has been debunked, the concepts of maximalists and spoilers for a nation ‘under God’ which the president disdains is confirmed by Scripture.