GOD HAS BLESSED AMERICA
Every political speech ends with "God Bless America"
We sing "God Bless America"
But do we mean it?
Are we truly seeking God's blessing? Or, have those three words just become the standard way of ending speeches? (The way Christians say "Amen" after a prayer, not even knowing what Amen means.)
Imagine a world (or country) that took those three words seriously.
Israel was promised the blessings of God.
In Genesis 12:1-3, God told Abraham, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
In Deuteronomy 8:7, Moses writes, "For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land--a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
THE WILL OF GOD
Moses points out how God has led, given, sustained and propsered the Israelites. And then, verse 18, Moses admonishes this new nation to remember the will of God: "But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today."
Deuteronomy 28:1-14 says, "If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.
It was God's will to exalt Israel "high above the nations of the earth." But, it was also God's will for Israel to obey God and "carefully follow all his commands". The two go together. God promised the Israelites, if they obeyed, God would bless.
THE BLESSINGS OF GOD
Deuteronomy 28 continues, "All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock--the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. The LORD will establish you as his holy people (This is a blessing!), as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity--in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground--in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.
THE POWER OF GOD
As we read the Old Testament, we become in awe of God as we watch Him fullfill His promise. He tells the Israelites to leave Egypt, and then destroys Pharaoh's mighty army who were determined to stop them from leaving.
He tells the Israelites to cross the Jordan at flood stage. They step out, and the water backs up.
He tells the Israelites to march around Jericho, and then He tears down the walls.
We see it throughout the Old Testament. As they obeyed. He delivered! When they strayed. He disciplined.
KING ASA (910-874 BC)
When King Asa did what was good & right in the eyes of the Lord (2 Chronicles 14:2) by
Removing anything offensive (2 Chronicles 14:3), and by commanding Judah to seek the Lord and obey his laws (2 Chronicles 14:4), the Lord struck down their enemy, the Cushites (2 Chronicles 14:9). Asa Praised God, Pleaded to God and Believed in God, and by God's power, Asa plundered the Cushites.
Azariah prophecied: "The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you." (2 Chronicles 15:2)
KING JEHOSHAPHAT (872-853 BC)
2 Chronicles 17:3-6 says, "The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because in his early years he walked in the ways his father David had followed. He... sought the God of his father and followed his commands... His heart was devoted to the ways of the LORD...
- He sought God (2 Chronicles 17:4)
- He followed God's commands (2 Chronicles 17:4)
- God established his kingdom (2 Chronicles 17:5)
- Judah brought Gifts to Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:5)
- He removed the high places (2 Chronicles 17:6)
- He taught the people the Word of GOd (2 Chronicles 17:7-9)
- He appointed Judges (2 Chronicles 19:4-7)
- He appointed levites and priests to teach and to guide (2 Chronicles 19:8-10)
As a result, "The Fear of the LORD fell on all the Kingdoms of the land surrounding Judah" (2 Chronicles 17:10)
Eventually, some other nations decided to challenge this Divine protection and blessing. "...the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat." (2 Chronicles 20:1)
What did Jehoshaphat do?
- He was alarmed! (2 Chronicles 20:3)
- He inquired of God (2 Chronicles 20:3)
- He proclaimed a fast (2 Chronicles 20:3)
- The People sought God (2 Chronicles 20:4) (They had been taught well!)
- Jehoshaphat prayed (2 Chronicles 20:5--12) (Prayer is our declaration of dependence!)
"Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel... He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's... You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you..." (2 Chronicles 20:14-17)
The Spirit of the Lord said, "Position yourself - NOT for battle, but for observation!"
- Jeshoshaphat appointed men to SING! (2 Chronicles 20:21)
He appointed singers - not soldiers! He appointed worshippers - not warriors! They advanced - not like an army going into battle, but like an army returning victoriously. Spiritual worship IS spiritual warfare! We praise God! He fights the battle! We worship. He Whups!
KING UZZIAH (792-750 BC)
King Uzziah "did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God" (2 Chronicles 26:4-5)
King Uzziah prospered in Battle (2 Chronicles 26:6,11-15)
King Uzziah prospered in Building (2 Chronicles 26:6,9-10)
King Uzziah prospered in Bounty (2 Chronicles 26:8,10)
King Uzziah prospered in Reputation (2 Chronicles 26:8,15)
2 Chronicles 26:5 tells us, "As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success."
Not all kings experienced such success.
KING AHAZ (735-715 BC)
2 Chronicles 28:1 tells us, "...he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD."
1. He Made Idols (2 Chronicles 28:2)
2. He Offered Infant Sacrifices (2 Chronicles 28:3)
3. He Copied Pagan Religions (2 Chronicles 28:2)
2 Chronicles 28:5 says, "Therefore the LORD his God handed him over to... "
1. Aram (2 Chronicles 28:5)
2. Israel (2 Chronicles 28:5-8)
3. The Edomites (2 Chronicles 28:17)
4. The Philistines (2 Chronicles 28:18)
5. Assyria (2 Chronicles 28:20)
2 Chronicles 28:19 tells us, "The LORD had humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had promoted wickedness in Judah and had been most unfaithful to the LORD."
2 Chronicles 28:24 continues, "King Ahaz envied the success of Damascus and sacrificed to their gods. He closed the temple of God "
As a result, King Ahaz AND the nation of Judah (the Southern kingdom) was severely plundered.
The Israelites (the Northern Kingdom) took captive from their kinsmen two hundred thousand wives, sons and daughters. They also took a great deal of plunder, which they carried back to Samaria. (2 Chronicles 28:8)
All of Judah paid for the sins of the king. Over 120,000 were killed in one day. 200,000 wives and children were taken into slavery (2 Chronicles 28:6)
But, let's not end on a bad note.
KING HEZEKIAH (715-697 BC)
King Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD (2 Chronicles 29:2)
1. He Repented (2 Chronicles 29:3-11)
2. Consecrated (2 Chronicles 29:15-19)
3. Sacrificed (2 Chronicles 29:20-24)
4. Worshipped (2 Chronicles 29:25-36)
5. Invited (2 Chronicles 30:1-11) - The invitation was met with scorn and redicule
6. Unified (2 Chronicles 30:12) - Unity came from following the word of God!
The results: King Hezekiah prospered!
"In everything that he undertook in the service of God's temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered." (2 Chronicles 31:21)
So, the lesson seems clear. When the kings of Israel sought God, and lived for God, and guided their people to do the same, God protected and prospered these kings and their citizens. God set the Israelites high above all the nations on earth.
Can we as Americans expect God to do the same for us?
It's true, America is NOT Israel. BUT, America IS (Or at least, WAS) Christian.
THE PROMISES OF GOD
And the Bible says, "...there is no difference between Jew (Israelite) and Gentile (non-Israelite)--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him..." (Romans 10:12)
So, doesn't that mean that many of the blessings that God promised Israel are available to anyone who “Fully obeys the Lord”?
Remember Deuteronomy 28:1-2 "If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God..."
And this is exactly what the pilgrims (the Christians of the old world who were being persecuted for their faith) set out to do when they came to America. They set out to do the Will of God. To build His kingdom on earth (Matthew 6:10). (see Luke 6:46, Matthew 7:24-27; Psalm 127:1; 1 Corinthians 3:11)
THE WILL OF OUR FOUNDERS
1. THE PILGRIMS
Before the Pilgrims step off the Mayflower, they signed the Mayflower Compact, which says, “In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten... Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith... do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic...”
They came to America for what appears to be their sole purpose of bringing glory to God and advancing the Christian faith.
Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony (kind of like King Asa, King Jehoshaphat, and King Hezekiah) wrote and implemented, "Those who believe in the Holy Scriptures are bound to observe its teachings. Those who do not are to be bound by its consequences."
2. FOUNDING FATHERS
The Spirit of the pilgrims continued through our founding fathers
a. George Washington wrote, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."
In his Farwell Address, he said, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity - religion and morality are indispensable supports."
b. John Adams (2nd President) said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
c. James Madison (4th President) writes, "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions... upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
d. John Quincy Adams (6th President) writes, “The highest glory of the American Revolution is that it connected the principles of Christianity with the principles of government.”
12 of the original 13 colonies incorporated the entire Ten Commandments into their civil and criminal codes.
According to a Time Magazine article, much of what has been done in the name of Seperation of Church and State has been done within our Public Education System. -
verbal prayers were ruled unconstitional in 1962
in 1965, the courts ruled that students have freedom of speech except when it becomes religious
in 1980, it was ruled unconstitutional to display the 10 commandments
But that’s not how it use to be.
a. The New England Primer was the second best selling book of the colonial period. (5 million copies were sold in America, which had a population of 4 million)
According to Wickepedia - “Many of its selections were drawn from the King James Bible ... Among the topics discussed are respect to parental figures, sin, and salvation. ... the Primer enabled the Puritan child to define the 'self' by relating his life to the authority of God and his parents..."
The Primer introduced the ABC’s with pictures and rhymes such as:
A - In Adam fall... we sinned all
J - Job feels the rod... and blesses God
P - Peter denies... the Lord and cries
Q - Queen Esther comes in royal state to save the jews from dismal fate
U - Uriah’s lovely wife... made David take his life
Z - Zaccheus climb a tree... for the Lord he wanted to see
b. The NEA (National Education Association in 1892)
The NEA wrote, “If the study of the Bible is to be excluded from all state schools; if the inculcation of the principles of Christianity is to have no place in the daily program; if the worship of God is to form no part of the general excercises of these public elementary schools; then the good of the state would be better served by restoring all schools to church control.”
c. Benjamin Rush (First surgen General) wrote, “In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes, and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be rebuplicans and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our repubican form of governement. That is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible.
d. Noah Webster - (Considered the Father of American Education) wrote, “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed... no truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian Religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and priviledges of a free people.”
So many more!
All making the same point: If we value our freedom... If we want to keep our freedom... then we must begin with Christ!
1) Harvard Rules & Precepts (1636):
“Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore lay Christ at the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.”
Harvard’s Original Motto: “Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae” Truth for Christ and the Church
Harverd’s Motto today: “Veritas” - Truth
2) Princeton - “Cursed be all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ”
- Founding Statement, 1746
3) Columbia University Seal -
a. The name Yahweh
b. Psalm 36:9 in Latin (“In Light we see light”)
c. Psalm 27:1 in Hebrew (“God is my light”)
d. 1 Peter 2:1-2 in English (an admonishment to desire the Word of God)
THE BLESSINGS OF GOD
Psalm 33:12... Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.
Consider how blessed we are:
1. Our godly heritage. This country was founded on biblical principles and a Christ-centered interpretation of justice, fairness, and equal opportunity.
Howard Davies writes: “(Our Founding Fathers) created a nation of freedom and opportunity as was never before experienced in human history. In each successive generation their ever growing confidence and abundance spread their ideals and fueled their dreams.”
2. God has blessed us with natural resources: ore, minerals, oil, forests, lakes, pastures, farmlands, and more. He's provided what we need for ourselves and enough to care for other countries around the world.
* America has more plowable land under cultivation than any other nation.
3. Our economy. The free enterprise we enjoy in America is a remarkable blessing.
* America’s economy is 30% of the world's total, and its stock markets are worth half of the total of all stock markets in the world. With only 4% of the world's population, its $400 billion a year defense budget equals that of all the rest of the world combined.
* Americans enjoys the world's highest standard of living. And America's freedom and prosperity is the envy of the world.
4. We excel in innovations because we're at liberty to follow our passions
a. Thomas Edison did not invent the incandescent light bulb, but he was intent on fashioning one that could be easily attainable for the vast majority. Edison was the first to conceive of the idea of power plants that would deliver this modern miracle to homes, businesses and factories on a massive scale unknown then to the world. Edison was also the scientific pioneer that designed the first industrial research lab, bringing together the talents of many in search of solutions to the practical problems of common men and women.
Genesis 12:2 I will bless you; ... and you will be a blessing.
b. Henry Ford was not the inventor of the internal combustion engine or the automobile, but Ford was the man whose greatest desire was to make a car that common people could actually afford to own and operate. Before Ford's assembly-line production innovation, only aristocrats and other wealthy people could afford the luxury.
Genesis 12:2 I will bless you; ... and you will be a blessing.
c. The American innovations in farming alone have spared millions from miserable lives and deaths because of hunger. The American innovations in science and medicine have made incalculable improvements in the lives of real people all over the world for more than a century.
Genesis 12:2 I will bless you; ... and you will be a blessing.
5. Our Military Kyle-Anne Shiver writes, “...at the forefront of America's contributions to world civilization have been the wars fought in defiance of tyranny. Fighting totalitarianism of all stripes has been one of the hallmarks of American existence, and the only land we've claimed as victors was enough to bury our dead. Wars fought by Americans, both at home during the Civil War, and abroad, have unarguably provided the greatest advances in the cause of human rights - ever.”
Genesis 12:2 I will bless you; ... and you will be a blessing.
5. Our Freedom You should thank God for the election process and the freedom to personally impact the direction of this nation. It's an amazing blessing that's completely foreign in many parts of the world.
God HAS Blessed America!
1. We have SOUGHT GOD
Matthew 6:33... seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Psalm 37:4... Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
The difference between North America & South America:
• South America (Spaniards) sought Gold.
• North America (Pilgrims) sought GOD!
2. We have SOUGHT RIGHTEOUSNESS (we understand why it is important to obey God)
Proverbs 14:34... Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
3. We have TRAINED OUR CHILDREN
Proverbs 22:6... Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
* We USE to train our children to fear God and love each other. Today, children are repremanded in school if they pray!
God HAS Given us:
1. Freedom (Liberty)
3. Prosperity (The poorest of the poor in America are still rich in comparison with other nations)
CLOSE: God HAS blessed America. Will he continue to do so?
"We have been the recipients of the choices bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown; but we have forgotten God.We have forgotten the gracious land which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us..."
- Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation of a Day of National Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer, 1863