“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” (Psalm 33:12, ESV)

Let’s suppose that sometime this week you turn on the TV News and heard these 3 announcements:

  1.  “The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has just issued this statement: ‘Divine Providence (that’s God) has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty . . . of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers’.”
  2.  “Inquiries by our reporters reveal that almost every state legislature has now passed a law requiring all elected officials to take this oath: ‘I do profess faith in God the Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ His only son . . . and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be given by divine inspiration’.”
  3.  “Legislation was passed today in Congress to affirm that, ‘The Congress of the United States approves of and recommends . . . the Holy Bible for use in the schools’.”

What do you think the response to these announcements would be, especially in the media? Can you just imagine the headlines on the evening news?

It was John Jay, the very first Chief Justice and often called the “Father” of the Supreme Court, one of the primary writers of our Constitution, who wrote first statement above.

It was the State of Delaware (along with most of the others) which required office holders to take an oath affirming their faith before they could take office. And they had a very logical reason for that requirement.

And not only did Congress in 1782 approve the use of the Bible in our schools, they even paid for them with tax dollars. and, in 1844, when someone sued to remove them, the Supreme Court ruled: “Why should not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, be read and taught as a divine revelation in the schools? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”

So, here are some things that are worth knowing about the roots of our nation, about what’s right with America:

  1.  America was settled by people looking for religious freedom. Other nations, for the most part, came into existence by conquest for selfish and ambitious motives. But it was primarily in the atmosphere of God, not gold, that America was born. In the early colonies the first public building to be erected was a church house and the first public exercise was the worship of Almighty God. The first constitution written in the New World began with these words: “Whereas we all came into these parts with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to enjoy the liberties of the gospel in purity and peace . . . ” And let’s also not forget the Mayflower Compact.
  2.  Our Founders had a strong desire to be pleasing to God and to do His will. Before we go any further, please remember that around 150 years passed by from the time of the earliest settlers to the beginning of our nation. And we’re not very Proud pf some of the things hat happened during those years. You see, as time passed, and the original settlers died off, many of their descendants were more concerned with increasing their wealth and comfortable living than being faithful to God and His Word. And as wave after wave of immigrants arrived, many of them came for other reasons and with entirely different motives than those earliest settlers. For example, whether out of concern for them, or just to get rid of those considered “undesirable,” England began a program of emptying its prisons by making it possible for prisoners to come to the New World as “indentured servants.” At the same time, the King of England granted vast tracts of land in the New World to his special friends, and slavery was introduced into the colonies to work these plantations. The spiritual atmosphere deteriorated rapidly, Churches were dying and many of them that had once sought religious freedom for themselves were now being intolerant of others. And it was during this time that some went off in strange spiritual directions. The end result was that by 1730, only about 10% of the people in the Colonies attended church at all. That which had begun “for the glorie of God and the advancement of Christian faith” had almost disappeared from our land. By the way, much of what you hear derogatory about our early history comes out of this period. Those who oppose Christianity love to point out the faults of that time. But then something amazing happened! Beginning in 1734, a handful of preachers — Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Gilbert Tennant, John Wesley, and others — began to preach in the churches and in the streets and in the fields. These soon turned into great crusades and revivals that spread throughout the 13 Colonies. So many people came to Christ that that era came to be known as “The Great Awakening.” Tens of thousands dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ and were baptized. So many people came to hear Whitefield as he traveled the colonies that he had to hold open-air meetings because there just wasn’t enough room in the churches. Benjamin Franklin wrote, “It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. from being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk through the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street.” In fact, Franklin was so impressed with George Whitefield’s preaching that he helped build an auditorium to accommodate the crowds of up to 30,000 that came to hear Whitefield preach. By the way, Philadelphia had a population of only 25,000 at that time. People were coming from everywhere to hear these preachers preach! Why am I telling you all this? Because this “Great Awakening” was a precursor to the American Revolution. Our Founding Fathers, the signers of the Declaration of Independence, those who wrote our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, those who put their lives on the line, who fought and died that we might be free — all these grew up and came into leadership while this “Great Awakening” was engulfing the land. The generation that experienced the “Great Awakening” became the leaders of the American Revolution! Read what George Washington wrote in his personal diary in his own handwriting: “Let my heart, gracious God, be so affected with Your glory & majesty that I may . . . discharge those weighty duties which thou requires of me . . . Again, I have called on thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins . . . for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered on the cross for me. Thou gavest thy Son to die for me; and hast given me assurance of my salvation.” Over a 10-year period, political-science professors of the University of Houston collected and cataloged 15,000 writings by the founding fathers. Their goal was to determine the primary source of ideas behind the Constitution by identifying the sources quoted most often by them. Guess what that primary source was? It was the Bible. 94% of the quotes of the founders of our nation were based upon the Bible.
  3.  America was founded by men and women who acknowledged God’s supreme rule over men and nations. “America was founded by men and women who acknowledged God’s supreme rule over mean and nations.” They weren’t perfect. They weren’t all devout Christians, but they all acknowledged that God was the supreme ruler over man and over nations. Many of you have heard the story of how they were discussing and debating the Declaration of Independence. Finally, one of them suggested they all get on their knees and ask God what should be done. And these gramers of the Declaration of Independence all went to their knees as one man and began to pray and seek the wisdom and guidance of God. John Adams, in a letter he wrote to his wife, Abigail, about the meeting of the First Continental Congress, said, “The most amazing thing occurred. Even the stern old Quakers had tears gushing down their cheeks.”

As we get ready to celebrate our Independence Day, may these facts encourage us to go back to the foundation of our nation and May God bless us once again!