Summary: Our present hope can only be found by again pledging our allegiance to the Lamb of God.
Two Hundred and Thirty Four years ago this day our founding fathers – and the great men and women of the 13 Colonies, declared loudly to King George their intention to live as a free people under the flag of a new nation – a nation rooted upon the Freedoms found in God through His Son Jesus Christ. And to them, we must say thank you – today we honor your struggle, service, and your dedication to God and your and pos-ter-ity.
And yet, their decision could not have come lightly. On November 29, 1775, Thomas Jefferson contended the British Parliament was a foreign legislature unlawfully extending its sovereignty into the colonies. He argued: “Believe me…there is not in the British Empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament proposes; and in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America.”
And so following, 217 days later, The Declaration of Independence was penned and signed. And contained within the Declaration is this warning to established governments and to its citizens: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes…. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
But Jefferson and the other 55 signers – men such as George Washington, John Hancock, Jon and Samuel Adams, John Witherspoon, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Benjamin Franklin – and a host of unnamed men, women, and children – could no longer continue to pledge their allegiance to King George, the British Parliament, and the flag of Great Britain. For in Jefferson’s own words, he would have rather perished than to continue pledging his allegiance to a foreign power intruding into the freedoms granted to him by our God through His Son Jesus Christ.
And upon the birth of our nation, our founders cast off tyranny and sought to be established as a new shoot from the very top of an aged cedar tree; and as a tender sprig from its topmost shoots, our nation was planted in what the founders believed was a new Promised Land. For they believed upon these American shores God established this nation, so that in time it would produce branches and bear fruit, and become a splendid cedar. And in time, people of every kind would be established in it and find shelter in the shade of its branches. And in this tender sprig planted by God, our founders did not make a pledge of allegiance to King and country; but rather, to God, and to the republic in which we stand – one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
And yet, at this present time, our nation is pledging its allegiance away from God and towards a lifestyle established in the folly of human depravity. And to this, I believe we must be cautioned. For when we pledge our allegiance away from God – we place ourselves in danger of God executing His judgment upon us for our unfaithfulness, as happened to Israel in distant years past. And yet there is still hope; but before we look to the present hope, we must understand the past and our current dilemma. And as George Washington once stated, “We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.” In the spirit of Washington, please turn in your Bibles to the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 17, and let us look back to derive a useful lesson from past errors. Ezekiel’s prophecy to the Kingdom of Judah is one we need to understand for our day and age –
I would like to urge you this week to read Ezekiel 17 and 2 Chronicles 36:11-21 to understand the greater history of this morning’s scripture. However, please allow me to paint a quick historical picture for which Ezekiel’s prophecy is centered:
Because of Judah’s evil ways and turning away from the Lord, Yahweh God cast judgment upon Judah and sent them in Babylonian captivity under the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar. But a remnant remained with in Jerusalem, and through God, Nebuchadnezzar appointed a King to oversee the affairs of the Jews remaining in the land of Judah. Zedekiah was such a King as these
King Zedekiah had a duty and obligation, as God’s anointed King of Judah to lead his people into a future prosperity with God and His Holy Covenant. However, like Jehoiachin and Manasseh before him, Zedekiah did evil in sight of the Lord.