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Does the U.S. Still Have a “Firm Reliance on Divine Providence”?

by Bob Russell

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     The Declaration of Independence concludes: “With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

     The 56 men who signed The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, did not rely solely on their individual wisdom or their collective military strength. They trusted that Almighty God, who ordained their decision, would guide their steps. In retrospect, it’s obvious He did.

     Last week I read Michael Medved’s book  The American Miracle – Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic. It’s a thrilling account of numerous occasions when God supernaturally intervened to protect and guide our forefathers and enable this new country to prosper.

     Psalm 33:12 promises, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.” That’s not just a promise to the nation of Israel; it’s a promise to any nation that honors God and seeks to follow His will.

     God has kept His promise by blessing America unlike any other country in history. We are a land of unparalleled resources, unprecedented freedom, and unlimited opportunity. America has been the most influential nation in the world for over a century. The constitutional Republic, formed in 1789 following the Revolutionary War, has proven effective and resilient.

     Why has this country been so blessed? Are our leaders more intelligent? More industrious? More creative? More gifted? Not really. I believe America has been blessed because God kept His promise to favor those who respect Him. We’ve certainly not been a perfect nation, but from the beginning, there was a conscious effort to honor God and His word.

     Up until 1950, the primary public school textbook was the McGuffey Reader. It sold 122 million copies. Nearly every student in the United States had a McGuffey Reader on his/her desk. In the forward of his textbook, William Holmes McGuffey wrote, “The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our prevalent notions of the character of God, the great moral governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions.”

     In 1954 Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Earl Warren, one of the most liberal judges in history, wrote, “I believe that no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the good book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses” (Time Magazine 2-15-54).

     As always, God has kept His word and exceptionally blessed the nation that honored Him. But prosperity often produces arrogance and a false sense of self-sufficiency. Psalm 10:4 warns, “In his pride, the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” In the last half-century, many of our nation’s political, educational, media, and entertainment influencers have no room for God in their world-view, and they scoff at the idea of Divine Providence.

     Several weeks ago Congressman Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, chose to drop the phrase, “So help me God,” when swearing in a witness. That phrase has been repeated for two hundred years, but Congressman Nadler arbitrarily chose to omit it. He explained that we don’t have religious tests, and he didn’t want to impose religious convictions on those who don’t believe in God.

     Do you ever wonder why our nation is now so divided? So self-loathing? So lacking in direction? So ripped apart by racism, incivility, crime, addictions, divorce, immorality? Could it be that we’ve forgotten to “Praise God from whom all blessings flow”? We would do well to remember that the same God who promised, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,” also warned, “The wicked return to the grave and all the nations that forget God”?

     Can America be saved? Can we experience a spiritual revival and return to our roots that once begged for Gods providential blessing? There aren’t many positive indicators of that happening and, frankly, it doesn’t seem likely. However, “Nothing is impossible with God.” This 4th of July week is a good time for those who believe that God is the source of our strength to once again seek His will for our country. Let’s have the same kind of courage as those 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence. Let’s turn to God in desperation and, “With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

 Bob Russell is retired Senior Minister of Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, KY.


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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33