Summary: We can be Patriots without offending our God! We need only to put God first!
Who were the first Patriots? To answer the question, we must first determine what the word means. Google and Webster define it this way: a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.
Some may ask: then what is the difference between a patriot and a nationalist? I hear those two terms being thrown around today.
A nationalist typically abides by some of the tenets of a patriot but separates him or herself by expressing their feeling of superiority as compared to other nations or peoples. A nationalist seldom aligns him or herself with God and His principles.
The word itself comes from the Greek “pater” meaning “father.” Typically, it means one who loves the “Fatherland.”
But, some will state or ask in the form of a question: Can a patriot be a Christian? Absolutely, he or she can, as long as God is first. The patriot must always remember that this home is only temporary.
Patriotism often unites a country but it seems recently, perhaps within the last 50 years, it has taken on a negative connotation and often divides this nation.
Contrary to popular belief, we here in the USA did not invent the word or the act. So, then the obvious question is “who did?”
The word itself seems to have been originated among the Greeks, many centuries ago. “Patria”, the root of our terms “patriot” and “patriarch”, is typically associated with the allegiance to one’s clan or family.
What then does the Bible have to say? In the days of Moses, Moses defended his nation (his people) against none other than God Himself. God wanted to destroy the Israelites for their constant disobedience, but Moses defended them vehemently. Nehemiah did much the same asking God to spare his nation as well.
We can think of Paul in this vain as well. In Romans 10:1, Paul writes “brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.”
And then of course there was our Lord Jesus who in Luke 13:34 is recorded as saying “I wanted to gather your children (Jerusalem’s children) together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!”
It should be no surprise then that one can be a patriot and still serve the Lord. Patriotism is merely a deep love for one’s home or nation.
Patriotism can be thought of as a kind of “tough love” as well. Many of us who are fathers, and all of us who had a father, remember having to administer or have administered “tough love.” Even our Heavenly Father has had to use that tactic once or twice; perhaps even with us.
We owe our freedom to patriots. If it were not for them in WWI and WWII, this land of ours most likely would have been much different as would you and me.
But, a true patriot can also be one who warns us of danger; one who is deeply concerned with what is happening within the boundaries of his or her nation. Jeremiah was both a messenger of God and a patriot. Many of his fellow citizens hated him for his warnings. God shared with Jeremiah that disasters would befall them if they did not change their ways. That is never a comfortable or well received message (JER 4:14). But Jeremiah knew that he had to keep trying for he cared about his nation. He too was a patriot.