A DECLARATION OF DEPENDENCE
PROVERBS 14:34 DEUTERONOMY 8:7-14
PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH 03 JULY 2022
Tomorrow as we celebrate the birthday of our country. The date our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence from England.
There is something, though, that is almost always overlooked as we remember that event. And here it is --- In declaring their independence from England, our Founding Fathers made another great declaration on that day. That is, they also made a Declaration of Dependence upon Almighty God.
Tomorrow the United States will be celebrating a crucial moment in the history of our nation – the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And, as we look back at that event, we need to realize that it was an extremely dangerous decision for each man who dared to sign the document.
John Adams, one of the signers said,
“Whether we live or die, sink or swim, succeed or fail, I stand behind this Declaration of Independence. And, if God wills it, I am ready to die in order
that this country might experience freedom.”
It was that kind of patriotism that led men, armed with little more than a hunting rifle, to engage in battle with what was then the most powerful nation in the world.
This decision to declare their independence from England was not easily nor hastily decided. Even though they lived in the colonies they were English citizens and they felt they should enjoy the same rights and privileges that any free-born Englishman enjoyed back in England.
After all, it was their ancestors who, a few centuries earlier, had risen against the unjust and dictatorial rule of King John and forced him to sign the Magna Carts, the “Great Charter” establishing the rights of the common man and limiting the power of the King over them.
But over a period of a few years, King George began to ignore all that as far as the American colonies were concerned. And it was not long until oppressive taxes and regulations were starting to make their lives miserable.
When they complained, King George sent troops and declared martial law. Public protests were put down by force and dissenting voices were silenced. And more laws that they considered “intolerable” were enacted,
Sometimes things got out of hand – especially in Boston. One day a crowd was yelling at a royal tax collector, and he fired at them – killing an 11-year-old boy.
Another time a squad of soldiers was trying to break up a crowd of tax protestors/ Someone gave the command to fire and 5 of the protestors were killed. The news spread quickly about this “Boston Massacre.”
And just 14 months before the Declaration of Independence was written, armed conflict actually broke out in the Battle of Lexington and Concord between colonial Minutemen and British Regular army troops. Casualties for both sides that day totaled 365 either killed or wounded.
Emboldened by what they considered a victory, colonial militias then laid siege to Boston, which led, 2 months later, to the Battle of Bunker Hill. The Colonial militia lost 400 men in that battle. And their siege of Boston was lifted.
Meanwhile, it was during this time of conflict that Patrick Henry, the fiery patriot from Virginia, gave his famous speech before the Virginia Provincial Convention. Here is how he concluded his speech:
“Three million people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destiny of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battle for us. The Battle, sir, is not to the strong alone.
It is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
Besides, sir, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery. Our chains are forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston.”
Gentlemen may cry peace, peace, but there is no peace. The was has actually begun. Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle?”
What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!
I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”
Many of our forefathers paid a terrible price in the Revolutionary War, but finally, they won the victory so that you and I might be citizens of this “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Now, that is the history lesson for today.
But, what we often forget is that in declaring their independence from England, our forefathers made an equally bold “Declaration of Dependence” upon our Almighty God!
Did you ever think of that? Yes, that is what they did in the very beginning of our nation, our forefathers boldly declared their DEPENDENCE upon God
But we were not the first nation to do that. At another crucial moment in history, as the people of Israel were preparing to enter the land that God has promised to them, Moses told them, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, Praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 8:10-11
And our Founding Fathers were careful to remember God. You may recall the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence begins with these words:
“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.”
The closing words of the Declaration solemnly states:
“With a firm reliance on the Protector of Divine Providence (that’s God), we mutually
pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
It is important that we remember this clear declaration of their dependence upon God, for in a time of world turmoil we live in today, it seems that strong efforts are being made, not only to ignore, but even to eliminate any acknowledgment of the deep and abiding faith of our Founding Fathers, and of the God who gave this nation its birth and its greatness.
I love reading history and the people who made and lived our history and gave of themselves so valiantly that we might enjoy the freedoms that are ours. But we also need to be reminded of the solemn warning God gave to Israel, which was experiencing the blessing of independence after slavery in Egypt.
Although that warning from God was written over 3,400 years ago, the warning could very well apply to our nation today. Deuteronomy 8:7 – Moses told the people,
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land – a land with streams and pools of water…a land where bread will not be scarce, and you will lack nothing.” j
Vs.10 – He said, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.”
Then God continues in verses 11-14: “Beware…lest, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down…and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud, and you will forget the Lord your God….”
We must watch out that we do not forget God. The testimony of history is abundantly clear that not only nations, but also individuals, need to heed that warning. The greatness of a nation is not measured by its military power or national wealth. Righteousness and justice are the determining factors.
Solomon, the wisest of men, said, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” Proverbs 14:34.
What is happening in the United States today? To a great extent, our modern objectives have become: success, status, security. These are followed closely by: self-indulgence, comfort, pleasure. Sometimes the freedoms we proclaim are the very things that enslave us.
The Apostle Paul, in Titus 3:3 says, “At one time we were foolish, disobedient, deceived and entangled by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated, and hating one another.
That is the enslaving and deceiving nature of sin. People who are caught up in sin think they are free, but in reality, they are enslaved to sin.
If you see a drunk on the street and tell him, you have a message for him that will set him free from alcoholism. He will likely say, “I am not a slave to anything. Give me back my bottle.”
The prodigal son came to his father and said, “I want to be free. Give me what is mine,” Then he wandered to the far country and believed he was free. But his freedom was brief, not lasting. His friends left him. His money was gone. He had to work as a slave to a Gentile taskmaster. Slopping the hogs. When he finally came to himself and returned to his father, he found freedom.
Our real freedom comes in Christ.
So, when we stand back and look at this land of the free, we begin to wonder, “Is there any real freedom anywhere?”
But we can thank God, as Christians, we have a greater freedom than any constitution can ever grant us. We have the freedom that is offered in Christ Jesus, our Savior.
There is a word for freedom in the New Testament. It is the word, “Redemption.” Redemption means “to be set free.” It means that we have been bought with a price, that we have been freed of our bondage and now we are truly free.” There is nothing about the world which binds us.
In Paul’s letter to Titus, he tells us we have been set free from the bondage of sin. “For the grace of God …teaches us to say, ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passion and to live self-controlled, upright, Godly lives in this present age...”
“Jesus Christ…gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14
If we really are a patriot; If we are truly concerned about America; if we earnestly want God to bless her --- Then we must live a life in harmony with the will of God. Only then does one truthfully have the right to sing:
God Bless America, land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her,
Through the night, with the light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam,
God bless America, my home, sweet home.
So, as we celebrate again the birth of our nation, pray that our country might have a new birth of freedom from God, but rath a freedom built upon God, and His Commandments.
Also, may each one of us, as individuals, reaffirm our dependence upon God so that, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” we might experience the freedom He gives not only from worry, doubt, and fear but also from all those sins which do “so easily beset us.”
When we look to Jesus we will find in Him our life, our liberty, and true lasting happiness.