As we get ready to celebrate another Independence Day, I am thankful that we live in a country that still maintains its allegiance to God. Our national Constitution ends with the words, “in the year of our Lord.” Our national motto is “In God we trust.” Our national pledge includes the words “one nation under God.”
We are a nation whose God is the Lord. However, as free as we are, generally, there are still many people who are not free. In Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, “Many are still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. Many still live on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. Many still languish in the corners of American society and find themselves in exile in their own land.”
But there is hope for our country if we maintain the Lord as our God. Our very first president, George Washington, said in one of his speeches, "It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are indispensable supporters."
Now, there are a number of people who think that believers should not be involved in government and politics, that celebrating days like the Fourth of July is useless. There are several reasons why some Christians feel that way. First, there are some who feel that the gospel is not social, that the church’s mission is not to make the world a better place to live, that one cannot substitute culture for Calvary.
Then there are those who have simply given up hope and say, “It’s too late for America.” These Christians really believe that all that remains for America is the judgment and wrath of God.
There is another group that views politics as “dirty.” These people maintain that all Christians have their citizenship in Heaven and that voting is most often the case of electing or selecting the lesser of evils because all politicians are crooked.
Then there is yet another group that argues for the separation of Church and State. By the way, the phrase “separation of church and state” was coined in our country from a letter the principal framer of the Constitution and third President of our country, Thomas Jefferson, wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association assuring them that he would keep the government out of the church (not the church out of the government). He was saying, in essence, never again will there be a government-sponsored church like you had back in England, where everyone is forced to attend and support. The first amendment to the Constitution actually says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
So, regardless of what the critics say about honoring our government, I maintain my faith in our country because of what Psalm 33:12 says: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” I also maintain that there is nothing wrong with our country that cannot be corrected by the Lord and His people. According to 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
The United States of America will continually be blessed geographically, educationally, technologically and spiritually if we maintain our allegiance to the Lord.
Perhaps as we celebrate this Independence Day we ought to consider that the real dangers of our blessings from God are not from external conflicts and challenges, like the terrorism, but are internal ones.
God’s Word teaches us specifically what a nation is to do in order to receive and continue in the blessings of God. From Psalm 33, the people of the nation must… acknowledge and worship the Lord; seek the Lord’s plans, not their own; reject all false gods, including the gods of material wealth, worldly pleasure, worldly approval, physical appearance, power and influence.
Our nation must continually seek righteousness. Proverbs 14:34: "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Isaish 60:12: “The nations and kingdoms which will not serve the Lord will perish, they will be utterly ruined.” We pray that the Lord will continue to bless America. We pray that no walls of separation, segregation,
isolation, castigation, stigmatization, intimidation will hinder our freedom. God bless America!
The Rev. Dr. Walter T. Richardson is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in South Miami-Dade County and chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at wtrichardson@Bellsouth.nett. Website: WTRMinistries.com