Two-hundred and forty years ago, our Founding Fathers penned and affixed their names to a document that freed a people and ushered in a new chapter to world history. And now, as we look back and celebrate the founding of this great nation, we are grateful for the courage and bravery these men expressed when they declared:
WE, THEREFORE, the REPRESENTATIVES of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly PUBLISH and DECLARE, That These United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES…
These majestic and powerful words gave birth to one of the greatest nations in history; however, over two hundred years later, we are starting to see the beginning of its demise. How could a nation with such a strong, sturdy foundation begin to slide downward so quickly? And, more importantly, what spiritual lessons can we learn from the state of our Union?
Among its many assertions, the Declaration of Independence proclaims that all men are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights among which are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” However, something the Founding Fathers failed to recognize was that though each person does have the “right” to pursue life, liberty and happiness, we will never attain it. For the pursuit of our own happiness and the battle for life and liberty in our own strength leads us down a road of dissatisfaction, slavery, and ultimate death. For God alone gives life and freedom, and only in pursuing Him will we find true joy and happiness.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
~II Corinthians 3:17
So let’s stop lamenting over the “glory” days of America and how great and Christian our nation once was, and instead look to the Giver of true Life and Liberty, and be like those from the Hall of Faith who…
“…acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”
Did you spot the promise?! God has prepared a city for those who desire a heavenly country, and how much better and more wonderful will His city be than anything found on this earth!!!
Have you noticed how often the following verse is found on Christian Americana apparel?
A lot, right?!! Why, because we do want God’s blessing on our nation, and we like the safety and security it provides for us and our posterity. Now back in Hebrews 11, we see that those men and women were also seeking a homeland or country to feel at home in, but instead of looking to the world for that security they looked to God and sought a better, heavenly country. And “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God…” Wow!!! Did you get the implication?! The word therefore means “because of what was stated previously”. So in other words, because those in Hebrews 11 desired a heavenly country and not an earthly one, God is not ashamed to be called their God. This naturally implies that God would be ashamed to be called the God of those who sought an earthly home! How convicting!!! As Americans we spend most of our days trying to make our lives here on earth as comfortable as possible, whether it be working to obtain material possession—i.e. house, car, technology, etc.—or advocating political stability and security. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work hard to provide for yourself and your family or that you shouldn’t be active and involved in the political scene—we have been given a voice and a vote and we should use it as long as we can!—but rather that we shouldn’t be so focused on these things that we are devastated by the loss of a job or a political defeat. In fact we should expect it, because this is not our home!
God is not and has never been concerned about governments and nations. As revealed through the words of the Prophet Isaiah,
“Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and … All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.”
~Isaiah 40:15a, 17
The Creator of the universe did not send His Son to die on a cross for the nations. No! Jesus came to save people—individuals such as you and I—and that is what God cares about. So in closing, as we watch our world crumble and fall into chaos and see the downhill direction our own country is taking, let us be a people desiring a better country, that is a heavenly one. And as we eagerly await our entry into glory, let us humble ourselves before the King of Heaven, remembering that we are strangers and exiles here on earth and remaining focused on Christ’s eternal kingdom, because then, and only then, will we truly find Life, Liberty, and Happiness!
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