Here is the cartoon that goes with this post.
The irony is thick
Now that Donald Trump has become the president-elect of the United States, he is entering into a transition time in which he must learn a great deal in a short amount of time. Since he has absolutely no experience in government — local, regional, statewide, or national – we can say with some validity that he is entering an apprenticeship. And just like his own show, the time may come when his boss may point an accusing finger at him and say, “You’re fired!” The United States Constitution clearly defines his boss as W. T. P.: “We The People.”
Trump’s apprenticeship, or if you prefer, his on-the-job training, begins now and is likely to continue well beyond his inauguration. For an apprenticeship to be successful, the apprentice must recognize immediately his or her need to learn additional knowledge and skills in order to perform the tasks successfully. Such an awareness, though, cannot destroy the confidence the apprentice has in their ability. No one believes that Mr. Trump is lacking in confidence, but in his case the abundance of this important trait seems at times perilously close to arrogance. And arrogance always undercuts and apprentice’s effectiveness.
A biblical apprenticeship
When God selects Jacob to be the head of the nation, he guides him through a lengthy apprenticeship. In the process he is able to eliminate the character flaws in Jacob’s personality that would potentially hinder his later leadership. Jacob has manipulated his brother into selling his birthright as firstborn for a ridiculously low price (Genesis 25:27-34). With the help of his mother, he then proceeds to deceive his blind father into giving the patriarchal blessing to him instead of Esau (Genesis 27:1-40). As a result, his brother hates him and vows to kill him (Genesis 27:41), and the silence of the text does not remove our certainty of his actions have alienated him from his father.
As Jacob flees for his life, God appears to him in a dream (Genesis 28:10-19) and without saying it in so many words, recruits him into the divine apprenticeship program. In the far-off country, God turns the tables on Jacob. The deceiver becomes the deceived (Genesis 29:13-30) and the manipulator suffers manipulation (Genesis 31:40-43). Jacob thereby learns the importance of personal integrity, loyalty, and trustworthiness (Genesis 31:38-39). For the rest of his life these three traits characterize his transactions with other people and with God (see, for instance, Genesis 43:11-14).
In Jacob’s case, the apprenticeship was successful, turning a man whose name Jacob means “he who trips others” into Israel, “he who struggles [and wins] with God” (Genesis 32:22-28). Let us all pray that Donald Trump’s apprenticeship will be equally successful.