Needing something to read this week as I did my daily running of children all over the German countryside, I picked up Paul Powell’s Feet of Clay. I had read this book several years ago as part of a small group study. In the book, Powell takes a look at 13 emotions that make us stumble. He uses examples of biblical people to make his point. As I looked at the table of contents, I was drawn to the chapter on Ambition.
Honestly, I couldn’t remember who Powell had discussed in this chapter the last time I read it. The chapter on Lust is a given, as were the ones on Suffering, Inferiority, and Paranoia. The chapter about Ambition starts with Shakespeare’s words from Cardinal Wolsey to Cromwell-
“I charge thee, fling away from ambition: by that sin fell the angels.”
That got me to wondering just who it was Powell would talk about. Surely there were many overly ambitious people in the Bible, as there are in the world today. By the third paragraph, Powell is introducing me, again, to Jacob. We all know how Jacob’s story ends. It was enlightening to be reminded of how it all began though.
As I read the beginnings of Jacob’s story, I was struck by the parallels I see with Barack Obama. There are those that see a great potential in Barack Obama. I do not doubt his talent or his abilities. He is a man that has a persuasive way with words and that can be a powerful motivator for the masses. But his actions and associations make me question his motives.
Jacob was the second born son of Isaac and Rebekah. Never pleased with being the second born, he spent his early life contriving ways to gain favor. Bottom line, Jacob was an opportunist. He bargained Esau for his birthright with stew and manipulated Isaac for his blessing with the help of Rebekah. This caused great upheaval and Jacob had to flee his home.
Jacob meets his match in Laban when the deceiver gets deceived. Only after years of struggle, continued opportunism, and strife, did Jacob finally come to terms with his sinful ways. It took the threat of death at the hands of a vengeful brother to allow him to wrestle with God and correct his ways.
If you have stayed with me thus far, you are probably wondering what in the world this has to do with Barack Obama. Like Jacob, Barack is a man unhappy with his birthright. From reading his books, we know he is a man that has been greatly conflicted about where he belonged in society. Raised primarily by white people, he rejects that culture as an afront to his father’s African heritage. Yet, he often doubted his place in the black community. Needing to find a place to fit, he searched until he found it on the streets of Chicago and in the pews of a Black Liberation church.
Satisfied with his place in the world, Barack’s ambition kicked into overdrive. Along the way, he has aligned himself with those that have stepped on whomever got in their way and those that used the plight of others to further their cause. Then when the goal was met, the others were thrown under the bus. Oh, how many people reside under the Obama bus!
As Powell explains-
Worldly ambition expresses itself in three ways, the building of a reputation, the collecting of wealth, and the wielding of power.
Like Jacob, Barack is a man that is searching and striving. He has certainly built a reputation, is enriched by wealth, and is about to lay claim to the ultimate position of worldly power in the seat of the Presidency of the United States of America. Someday, he may well turn out to be a great man like Jacob. But I’d rather him settle all that well and good before he enters the White House.
What do you think?