On July 4, 1776 our Founding Fathers gathered in Philadelphia and signed a document declaring our independence from Great Britain. Many do not realize this document had a 2-fold purpose. First, the Declaration of Independence declared our independence from a nation of tyranny. Second, this document declared our dependence upon Almighty God of heaven. The Declaration of Independence begins with the bold proclamation that we are subject to the "laws of nature and nature's God." It ends with these words - "With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." In declaring their reliance upon God, our Founding Fathers staked everything they had, and who they were, on God.
As we reflect on this special day in our nations history, let us celebrate the faithfulness of our God. Indeed, He has blessed America. For over two centuries God has indeed "shed His grace" upon us. However, a quick glance across the landscape of America shows a nation who has turned her back on God. A nation that declared her dependence upon God seems to be calling for independence once again. Independence from the God whom we once proclaimed our dependence. We have become an atheistic, agnostic, and apathetic people. We no longer hold to absolute truths–the very truths upon which our nation was founded. We no longer fear the God who made us. Instead our nation laughs in His face and scoffs His name.
I realize this paints a depressing picture of our nation–and it should. The reality of our condition should break our hearts and drive us to our most deepest place of dependence upon God. Before we point our fingers at those around us, let us examine our own hearts. What contributions have we, the American church, made to this cultural, moral, and religious demise? In the words of an old Puritan prayer, let us "repent of our repentance." In other words, let us repent of our lack of repentance.
So, what should be our response? In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God spoke to Solomon, giving him a word for the people of Israel. While these words were never intended for America, there are some principles we can draw and applications we can make as a nation. God said, "If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14). A nation who desires to live in dependence upon God must fulfill 4 obligations. We must turn from our pride (humble ourselves). We must turn to God in prayer (pray). We must place our dependence upon Him (seek His face). We must repent of our sinfulness (turn from wicked ways).
In the days ahead as we reflect upon our nations independence, let us carefully examine these four obligations. Let us seek to understand the expectations God has placed upon us, as we seek His favor and blessings upon our nation. After all, these word were give to the people of God. It is only after the people of God fulfill their responsibilities that God promises to hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land. We do not need independence from God, but a full dependence upon Him–now more than ever! I believe the ball is in our court.
Last week I wrote a blog on the Rhythms of Life. As promised I wanted to follow up that article with a series of blogs on what I believe are essential beats that must be included in the rhythms of our life. The first is personal time with the Lord in prayer and study of His Word.