Summary: 4 thoughts from Psalm 33 for Independence Day!
Author and comedian Michael Moore recently suggested that it’s arrogant for us to sing, “God bless America.” In his mind, no one nation has a right to ask God to bless it above others. After all, God loves all the people of the world. This is true.
However, from the passage that we read we can learn several principles.
1. All cultures are not spiritually equal.
A. Some nations honor the Lord and some don’t.
B. Let take for instance Haiti: About 200 years ago, Napoleon was emperor of France and Haiti was under his control. Years earlier when the first Africans were being brought over as slaves to work the plantations in Haiti, the religion of Voodoo came with them. Voodoo is nothing more than the worship of Satan. To make a long story short, witch doctors sacrificed a pig under a tree, drank its blood and made a solemn pact with Satan, that if he helped Haiti gain its independence from France, Haiti would be under his dominion for 200 years. In 1804, Haiti defeated Napoleon and won her freedom. The witch doctors and people of Haiti have been true to the pact with Satan and for 200 years voodoo and Satanism has reigned.
C. In 1780, Haiti was one of the wealthiest regions in the world. Now Haiti has been stripped of her former beauty and worth. She was once a prized possession in the days following Columbus’ discovery of her. Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. 7 out of 10 Haitians cannot read. Few have any jobs. Many go hungry. Some die in civil wars that rage all of the time, no government stability.
2. Every nation that honors the Lord is promised his blessing.
A. Since the Lord sees all mankind he promises to bless any nation that will honor him as their God.
B. America has been blessed. Why are we so blessed? Are we more intelligent? More industrious? More deserving? No. We are blessed because God was honored in the founding of our country, and he has kept his promise.
3. It is appropriate for the nations God has blessed to give thanks.
A. (James 1:17 NIV) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
B. Patriotic Christians aren’t so shallow as to imagine God waving an American flag, but we do know a good gift when we see it. It’s not idolatry to give thanks for the blessings of our nation any more than it’s idolatrous to give God thanks for the blessings in our family.
C. If you have never been to a third world country I would encourage you to go. Go and work and serve there on a missions trip and you will come back and kiss the ground.
C. (Psa 92:1 NIV) It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High,(Psa 92:2 NIV) to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night. (Psa 92:4 NIV) For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.
4. Another thing is implied here. God will remove his hand of blessing from the nation that forsakes him. Look at verse 10.
Any attempt to govern without God is doomed to fail.
Henry W. Grady was speaking on the greatness of America, and he said, “I have stood by Hampton Roads in Chesapeake Bay, and saw there deployed the great naval strength of America. And then, on the shore, the parading might of our armies. And as I looked at the navy and as I looked at the army, I said, ‘Surely the strength of America is to be found in its military and naval might.’”
The great orator said he stood under the dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. And as he watched the processes of democracy he said, “Surely the greatness of America is to be found in its Senate, in its Congress, and in its legislative processes.”
Then, he said, “Sometime later, I was the guest in a Georgia home, in a farm of an old friend that I knew from boyhood days. And at the end of the day, when the work was done, he gathered his family around him, opened God’s Holy Word and, after reading from God’s Bible, the family knelt in prayer.”
And the great orator said, “As I knelt with my old friend and his family in the circle of that evening prayer, the great armies and navies of America faded away. The Capitol Building with its Senate and its Congress faded away. And there came to my heart the conviction that the strength of America is found in its godly people.”