The United States of America is absolutely the greatest nation in the world. One may take issue with decisions out of Washington, D.C., or one may take umbrage over our various social concerns. But, when we consider what are the effective ideals of America, we should be constrained to respect highly the land in which we live.
It prevails upon us, however, as we consider the privileges and benefits associated with our national citizenship, to honestly acknowledge why our uniquely developed coalition of united states has ascended the heights of power and esteem. The key is found in bestowing honor where honor is due.
Let us cut to the core. Without question, the honor belongs to God. America is great because of God. When our Pilgrim Fathers came to America, they came looking for God. God has blessed that effort.
As a matter of fact, in the rotunda of our nation’s capital, the chaplain of the Mayflower, Brewster, is pictured holding a New Testament in which can be seen the words, “The New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And, on the sail of the pictured Mayflower, are the words, “In God we trust. God with us.”
Oh, most certainly, our nation has made some grievous errors, and, at times, we still do. Yet, over the decades, as America has thrived, a host of people has always been present to honor God. The spiritual heart of America has always pointed to God. The basic mindset of America understands we have a nation in which we are free because of God. Thus, there is no question that we appreciate our country best when we honor God most.
Psalms 85 is powerfully suggestive of this critical principle. The Psalmist was clearly a patriot who appreciated his nation and was profoundly concerned about it being strong among the nations of the world. In his observance, he expresses truth how God is the source of national blessing.
Within the Scriptural context of country, the Psalmist wrote, “Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him; that glory may dwell in our land” (v9). He honored God for His favor, freedom, goodness and graciousness. The land yielded increase because of God. Society benefited from following the righteous principles of God. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other,” he said (v10). See here that we are taught from God’s own Word how God is to be honored for national blessing.
It follows that our appreciation for America should be, in like manner, God-centered. The saints of God who pray for America think so. The church that upholds the principles of God believes so. The people who look for God know so.
Prosperity is not the child of industrial might, but from God. Government is not the invention of man, but of God. Freedom is not the gift of man, but of God.
Consider the words of the French writer De Tocqueville. He visited America, and wrote when he returned home, “I sought for the greatness of America in her harbors and rivers, fertile fields, and commerce. It was not there. Not until I went into the churches and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the greatness of America.”
Those who appreciate America most have no other recourse than to honor God most.
A final thought to honor the historical value of July 4th: to those who have sacrificed so much in defense of America, to those who have died and to those who live, to those who have served and those who serve, to the soldiers of the past and the present, to those who have preserved and preserve the benefits and advantages my family and I experience today in our nation — I thank you. I salute you. I stand to honor our flag when it is raised, and when our national anthem is played because of you and God.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.