My Guide for Celebrating the 4th of July
Written by Pastor Jim Law
This week we celebrate the 232nd birthday of our nation. To reflect upon the history of the United States of America is a remarkable journey of God’s providence and grace! Through many dangers, toils and snares we have come as a nation. Through moments of great uncertainty and trial beginning with the Revolutionary war, to the Civil war, to the Great Depression, to Hitler’s terror, to racial tensions, to 9/11, God has preserved us as a nation. He has preserved and blessed this land with immeasurable blessings.
However, in recent years there have been noticeable shifts in the cultural landscape of our country. The line from the book of Exodus comes to my mind, “Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” As a people, we seemed to have developed an ego-centered mindset as if we are the only generation of Americans who ever lived. In our thinking, history has become a revised story that we mold to fit our sensitivities. With manifest arrogance, we have become a people who do not know Joseph, who do not have a context of who we are. Specifically, an ignorance of, or a distain for the rich biblical heritage that was the foundation of our country. We act as if we have arrived to this generation in a vacuum.
Woodrow Wilson gave warning to such folly when he said, “A nation that does not remember what it was yesterday does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from , or what we have been about. America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify those elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelation of Holy Scripture.”
Can you imagine any of the candidates in this presidential election speaking like former President Wilson? Not if he wanted to be elected! Such rhetoric is not allowed anymore. We have drifted a long way in ninety years.
Our propensity to drift leads me back to God’s word, specifically to Psalm 33. Not as a personal escape, but as a refuge and reminder to give hope and perspective. This didactic psalm has become a helpful guide to me in celebrating Independence Day. Many are familiar with verse 12,“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” In this Psalm there are three important declarations that call us to go back to the Source of our national blessing.
1. The Lord Who Blesses Is The One To Be Praised. (33:1-3)
2. The Lord Who Blesses Gives Unshakeable Counsel. (33:4,5,10)
3. The Lord Who Blesses Is Sovereign Over Every Nation. (33:12-22)
Take some time to read this Psalm before you go to your picnic or pool or fireworks, and pray the closing verse for your country, “Let your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You.” As you enjoy the day, remember the One who gave it.