“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34)
On Thursday, we celebrate the independence of our nation. As the early settlers charted the course of our nation, they had no shame concerning the things of God. The first line in the Mayflower Compact was, “In the name of God, Amen” and when the Pilgrims’ signed it in 1620, they acknowledged God’s sovereignty and sought to glorify Him. Our founding fathers believed the truths of the Bible and acknowledged their faith in God as they wrote the Constitution. Many prominent universities were founded on the Word of God. God is in our pledge and it is “in Him” we claim to trust on our currency. But given the current state of affairs in our country, can we say that He is in our hearts? As we reflect this July 4th, we might ask, from whom are we now seeking our independence?
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings. Proverbs 14:34 teaches that actions aligned with God’s standards exalt or “lift up” a nation while sin is a disgrace. The United States has been richly blessed. Throughout our history, we have taken up the cause for much that is right and good. But have we, in our pride, forgotten what David wrote in Psalm 8:4, “What is man that you are mindful of him”, that as great as God is, it’s amazing He would take notice of and care for us. Have we really come to believe that “man is the measure of all things”, that we determine what is right and true? Perhaps we have. Today, many deny His sovereignty. Many of those educational institutions that were founded on the Word of God are now major influencers in denying Him. Our Creator, whom we used to hold close, we now appear to be, in increasing measure, pushing away. It will make you wonder if there is any reason for hope for our nation.
But there is hope! There is always hope because our hope lies, not in our government or our courts, but in a sovereign God. Nothing that happens ever happens outside of His control. We hope, knowing God will preserve His people through times such as these. We hope, knowing that God is building His church and nothing can stop Him.
It’s easy to get discouraged, confused and quite frankly, angry by recent events and our nations progressive departure from God’s will. But it’s also important to remember the greater the darkness the greater the opportunity for the light of the gospel of Christ to shine. The opportunity and privilege we have as Christians is to display what the gospel has done in our own lives, to remember who we were before Christ saved us (an enemy of God), and to let what He has graciously done in our hearts motivate us in our witness. The gospel is not only for those whose sins are different from ours, but for all of our sins. Pray that in a time of increasing darkness the gospel would go forth and trust that it would bring a harvest. Pray that our nation would realign with the will of God and instead of seeking our independence from Him, we would reaffirm our dependence on Him. “If my people who are called by name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Father, as a nation we have strayed. We have strayed in so many ways on so many issues. Forgive us. Help us to pursue righteousness and let Your glory be our desire. Thank You God for forgiving me for my sin. Thank You for Jesus Christ whose perfect atonement cleanses all sin. Let our nation exalt Him above all. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. Let us be a people who seek to please You alone. Amen!