July 4, 2010
Text: Psalm 33:6-22
Subject: God’s Autonomy
Title: In God We Trust
Happy Fourth of July! It is great to be an American today! We may not be thrilled with the direction that our elected leadership is taking our nation, but we still have the freedom to change that direction on any election day.
I have entitled this sermon, “IN GOD WE TRUST”. I think it quite appropriate that on this day we celebrate who we are as a nation and reflect on how we came to be the nation we are. It is because we still stand firm in our national motto,” IN GOD WE TRUST”.
Did you ever wonder where it came from – how did these words come to be a reflection of who we are as a nation?
One of the first times the motto was expressed is found in an unheralded verse from Francis Scott Key’s poem that became our national anthem. “...And this be our motto: In God is our trust. And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
In 1864, when the Civil War brought a return of Christian sentiment to the nation, the words were first added to new coins. At that time there was much concern for our nation and many appeals came in to the government to recognize God’s role in the history of our nation. Those appeals spoke to the heart of the then Secretary of the Treasury who then passed this request on to the director of the US mint in Philadelphia. His letter reads like this.
Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition. It was found that the Act of Congress dated January 18, 1837, prescribed the mottoes and devices that should be placed upon the coins of the United States.”
Many phrases were considered, but the phrase that most precisely stated God’s role in our country was the simple phrase, In God We Trust. On July 11, 1955, during the height of the cold war, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the law making it mandatory that all of our currency be ascribed with the one phrase that separated us from other nations.
As we celebrate today I want to help you see that we trust in God and because we do He still has a great plan for us.
Read Psalm 33:1-22
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
I. WE CAN TRUST GOD BECAUSE HE IS WORTHY OF OUR PRAISE Three things we can see in the first five verses. 1) How we should praise Him… 1Sing joyfully to the LORD… 2 Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. 3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy… God loves when we do what we were created to do – Praise him with song… with our words and with music. And notice that it says it is OK to sing new songs. But regardless of what kind of song we sing and what kind of instrument we play, we are to do it skillfully – to the best of our ability. 2) Who can praise Him. …you righteous… only those who are righteous have the right to praise Him. People in the world talk about God with respect. Sometimes they even give Him credit for things in their own lives. But, the only way anyone can truthfully praise Him is to be made righteous in His eyes through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. Our righteousness is as filthy rags but the blood of Jesus makes us clean. 3) Why we should praise Him. 4 For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. God is the only person that you can completely trust. You can have lifelong friends. You can have all kinds of intimate relationships among your friends and family, but ultimately your human friends will let you down. Proverbs 18:24, A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. And that friend is the Lord Jesus Christ. God has given us His Living Word (Jesus), His written word (the bible) and is giving us His revealed word as it is spoken by the Holy Spirit to believers through that still small voice in their inner man. We can trust God because He is worthy of our praise.
II. WE CAN TRUST GOD BECAUSE HIS PLAN IS REVEALED IN CREATION 1) That plan was accomplished through His Word 6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. Genesis 1:1-3, 1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3And God said… Everything that God has ever done He has done through His word. God said it and it happened. … “Let there be light,” and there was light… Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water… And it was so… “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.”… And it was so… “Let the water teem with living creatures… “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock… And it was so… Let us make man in our image, in our likeness… 7 So God created man in his own image… The Hebrew word translated breath in verse 6 can also be translated as spirit. God’s word and His Spirit combine to provide an incredible tool for the believer. Through God’s word and by the faith of believers, His power is released to accomplish all that He has promised for His church. 2) That plan was accomplished for the whole world. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD… John 3, 16“For God so loved the world… 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him… 3) That plan was for all people… Acts 2:21, And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved… God doesn’t care about the color of your skin, the size of your checking account or personality defects. But He is concerned about your eternal state. 4) God’s plan is for all generations…. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” This plan is not just for eternal life but for believers in this life as well. We can trust God because He has revealed Himself and is revealing Himself through His creation. 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. 10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. 11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations… 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
III. WE CAN TRUST GOD BECAUSE HIS PLAN IS FOR ALL NATIONS God Bless America!!! 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance… We can look at what our nation has gravitated towards becoming, we can look at how we have drifted away from biblical Christianity… we can take note of the fact that church is not a priority in the lives of many Americans today… and we can question if we are still a Christian nation. But according to the George Barna research group, there is one thing in the lives of 67% of Americans that they say is the connecting force among them…(67%) claimed to have a “personal relationship” with Jesus that is currently active and that influences their life. In fact, more people claim to be closely connected to Jesus Christ than have a Facebook page or Twitter account. That doesn’t sound to me like we are not a Christian nation. In fact it looks like, that if Christians would unite together under His Word, because He has a plan for all nations, we could take this country back to where He wants it to be – not where we think it should be - but where He wants it. Verse 12 says that He plans to bless us… Jeremiah 29:11-14, 11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you,” declares the LORD… God not only wants to bless the nation that reveres Him, He wants to establish us as His heirs. Now, we know that all who trust in Jesus Christ become heirs of God and if heirs co-heirs with Christ… But the Psalmist wrote this under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the context of the nations. A nation that chases after God will be blessed – not just in the eternal kingdom – but in this kingdom right here and right now. Perhaps that is why America saw such great economic prosperity for so many years, and perhaps that is why America is experience such difficult times now. But I see that there are Christians who are rising up in grass roots movements all across the land who are dedicated to electing Christian men and women to office to overcome the works of the devil that has been instigated by a liberal government. This government believes that it is the messiah, the anointed one, who will bring America up out of its despondency to a new awakening of faith in itself. 14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth 15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. 16 No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. 17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. 18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We can trust God because He still has a plan for this nation.
IV. WE CAN TRUST IN GOD BECAUSE HIS PLAN IS REVEALED IN HIS FAITHFULLNESS 20 We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield… The word that is translated shield refers to a small shield. It doesn’t mean that God only covers us partially, but the idea is that He offers protection that is very mobile. His protection is not cumbersome or heavy to lug around. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Paul tells us that we are to take up the shield of faith… That refers to a large shield that we can stand behind to deflect the fiery arrows of the enemy. God is faithful to protect us in every circumstance at all times. 21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. 22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you. We can trust God because in His faithfulness He plans to bless those who wait on Him, those who trust in Him, and those who hope in Him.
Are we a Christian nation? Were we founded on Christian principles?
Let’s look and see…
The beginning of the Declaration of Independence…
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to
dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to
assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which
the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the
opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel
them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…
In 1820, Daniel Webster, speaking at the Bicentennial of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock said this: "Our ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, cannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious principle, nor any government secure which is not supported by moral habits... Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens."
Benjamin Franklin wrote this to President Washington in an appeal for a National Day of Prayer:
In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine Protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard -- and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. . . . And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need its assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow can not fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
We have also been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ’except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it.’ (Psalm 127:1) I firmly believe this, and I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. . ."
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
In God I trust… Do you?
What are you willing to trust Him for?