Apologies: Last weekend (06/22/14) was the first weekend that I failed to post since I promised in January of this year to post once a week. I got busy with life and forgot, I apologize.
|Independence Day (C) By Bev Sykes|
July 4th, 2014 is coming this week. Rather than post after-the-fact, I figured I'd post before hand, so that we can take time to reflect on how this nation got started.
Let us take a journey to the origins of this great nation-The United States of America.
On July 2nd, 1776 the Second Continental Congress of the American Colonies voted unanimously for a declaration of independence from the Tyranny of England's Crown Rule, now known as the United Kingdom. On July 4th, 1776 that Declaration of Independence was drafted and signed.
So what were the complaints of that fateful letter? What were the situations that brought a group of people to such a state of mind, that they were willing to risk their lives, and the lives of their families, to break from their current government?
You can read the full Declaration Of Independence: HERE. But Here is a modernized summary of what I hear as I read it. The King of England was:
- Refusing people to have fair representation.
- Making it hard on those who were represented to participate in their own governance.
- Making laws that were in the interest of the government and not the people it governed.
- Refused laws that were needed to protect human rights.
- Imposed government interference into groups that disagreed with him.
- Interfered with elections.
- Interfered with immigration by either making it hard for newcomers to become citizens or preventing them from coming at all.
- Broke and circumvented laws that were passed because he didn't like them.
- *This one is worth a direct quote:
- "He has erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance."
- Used the military, police, and law enforcement agencies to enforce his will and impose intimidation by force .
- Made a mockery of the court system by letting the guilty go free and punishing the innocent.
- Interfering with rights and trial by Jury.
- Interfering with commerce and trade.
- Attempting to enforce absolute rule by taking over one colony/state at a time.
- Bypassing elected governments to enforce his own rules.
- Waging war against the very people he was was supposed to be serving/protecting.
- Exploiting people and systems to his advantage to the disadvantage of the people he served.
- Purposefully exciting ethnic/racial feelings hate and mistrust, causing infighting and factions. (Stirring up Native Americans to war).
Tyranny and Chaos
The first iteration of this concept of a new government for the people took place in the creation of the Articles of Confederation which was a much better form of government than any they had previously encountered. It was a government that was based on independent free states and a loose national government, rather than the whims of a Tyrant King. It was focused on the rights of individuals.
If Chaos (everyone fending for themselves) is one extreme, and Tyranny (one man rules all with an iron fist) is the other extreme. The Articles of Confederation were leaning a bit to the Chaos side of the equation. Monarchy (A Ruler King) was leaning far into to the Tyrant side, depending on the King. In this case the King had chosen to be a Tyrant.
This first iteration of government was a reaction to the Tyranny they were fleeing. However, without a strong national government there was no national identity. No way to pay for wars, soldiers, etc. We've all watched enough reality-TV competitions to know what happens when a group of people all think they are the leader. Nothing gets done. So a national identity was needed.
However, how do we create this national identity without tipping the scale back into the Tyranny side that we just fought to get away from?
Balance In Government
These events led to what has been THE governing document for the United States of America since 1789: "The United States Constitution" and it's list of Amendments. This document simultaneously created a strong national identity and governance, without compromising independent states rights and the freedom of the individual.
Most of the men who led this change, and drafted this governing document were led by God every step of the way.
David Barton of Wallbuilders, in an article about July 4th, points this out:
John Adams believed that the Fourth of July should become a religious holiday – a day when we remembered God's hand in deliverance and a day of religious activities when we committed ourselves to Him in “solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” Such was the spirit of the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of those who led it
John Adams said “The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.”So guided by the Hand of God they struck balance between the need for a national identity and individual freedom.
When God first interfered in the affairs of an entire nation he gave them the perfect government, one of freedom and personal dependence upon Him. God was their King. The people rejected God as King and chose Saul instead. The Tyrant King Saul drove the people to wars that killed their young men, and taxed the people heavily.
Not wanting to abandon His people, God set up a King after His own heart, David.This came with the promise of another King who would be King of Kings. Having a King isn't bad. But only one man in the history of the world was, is, and will be qualified to hold the title King of All, and that is Jesus. Until He returns, no one man should have that much power.
When God again interfered in the affairs of a nation to birth the USA, he crafted a nation in which no one man could be allowed to rule. There must be balance between leadership and the people being governed. This was not perfect, but it created balance in a fallen world... waiting for the True King to come someday.
Over the years, Good and Evil men have led this great nation. We've see-sawed between poverty and prosperity, rejection of God and revival. But this nation has always been at it's best when individual people started seeking Him, and then those individuals became groups, and those groups inspired other groups, until eventually a movement was born. This is the origin of all revivals.
Did you know that many of the most strategic moments in American History, were all preceded by revivals, Great Awakenings? In fact, some say that without the First Great Awakening, there would be no USA.
And now, here we are... it's 2014.
This brings us to the present.
What does the founding of this country have to do with it's present? What does this have to do with you and me?
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George SantayanaRead about the Panic of 1893 and see if it doesn't sound familiar to a person living in 2014. You see, the past is not a circle (repeating itself exactly as it has before), it is not a line (never repeating, always new), it is a spiral. The past repeats itself in the future over and over in new ways, escalating each time. With each repeat things are bigger, and more extreme. The details change, the elements are all present.
As I look around these days. I see two things happening simultaneously.
Despair: I see a nation divided, sagging under the weight of debt and poor decisions, and worse politics. I see evil increasing, and good people being punished. I see people in poverty not even trying to move upward and onward, dependent on a broken government they have put in place of dependence on God. Ultimately, I see a nation that has rejected God, and lost it's way because of it.
Hope: I see the Church waking up. I see people taking actions. Some take big actions, start whole movements. Others take small actions, helping one person at a time. I see more opportunities to prosper than ever before in the history of the world. Anyone could be wealthy, if they are willing to put down the remote control long enough to take actions and pursue it. I see God intervening in the lives of people, myself included, to wake them up from this slumber we've fallen into. I see freedom and healing taking place all over this nation.
My Declaration of Independent - Dependence.
So, this is my declaration this next year.
I declare to be independent of the World, and it's distractions. I declare Independence from government programs and assistance. I declare independence from sin, sickness, demons, fear, poverty, hate, anger, suspicion, addiction, etc... Freedom from the curse.
I declare dependence on God. He is my source, He is my light, He is my life. I declare that God is not just my co-pilot. He is my King. Him will I serve. I declare that this year, I will serve others more with His love. I will learn to widen my lens, and see the bigger, eternal, picture. I will passionately pursue freedom in the lives of those around me.
I will honor those who have come before, paving the way for this Freedom we enjoy, by making the most of the opportunities I've been given. I will be a part of the solution, instead of contributing to the problem.
I will drop my pebble into the pond, and see how big a reaction I can make.
This Weeks Resource:
- Books By David Barton
- Anything written by David Barton will help you see the Bible and the USA in a new light.
- Imprimis, A FREE publication by Hillsdale College. It is always comes with articles that will challenge you to think about life, politics, social responsibility, and matters of government in a new way.
- Archives of they previous articles can be found on their website. I particularly enjoyed May/June 2014, "The Worldview that Makes the Underclass".
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And now I leave you with a question:
So... in light of your national and spiritual freedom, what will you do this year?