Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
The Lord to Solomon: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
II Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
He couldn’t have known the significance it would have in our Nation’s history. Yet something within him called for the inscription.
When the Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751 ordered that a new bell be cast for the State House, he directed that a Bible verse be inscribed on the bell. The verse he chose was from Leviticus, Chapter 25, verse 10, which read:
“Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof.”
Thereafter, historical tradition suggests, on July 8, 1776 the Liberty Bell, then hanging in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was rung to summon the citizens of Philadelphia to the first public hearing, read by Colonel John Nixon, of the “Declaration of Independence” unanimously declared by the Second Continental Congress, just four days earlier:
“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.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World…do…solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States;…
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Those fifty-six signers of that Declaration of Independence knew that what they were doing could cost them everything, including their families and lives, but they signed it anyway. The liberty and freedom they sought for themselves, their families and the colonies was at stake. I wonder if they had any idea of the impact and significance throughout history that moment would have. They couldn’t possibly have known.
It was a moment in history on the road to independence, to freedom, to liberty. I wonder if we are at another such moment in our history today. But if we look back on the history of this great Nation, we will realize that at numerous points and times we have been at a moment of significance and impact in our history. Moments where we have been called to remember who we are as a Nation, as a people.
We stand at such a moment again.
A moment in our history where we can shrink before all the problems we face—whether they come from without or within—or a moment to proclaim and embrace anew the ideal upon which this great Country was founded—an ideal of LIBERTY throughout the Land. A moment of renewal and return to the ideals and values which have guided our steps since the very beginning of our foundations. A moment where we remember that the direction for our renewal won’t come from the halls of Congress or from the White House—but instead can be found in the same place our founders looked, the same place that the Speaker of that Pennsylvania Assembly looked in 1751, the same place that the Lord was pointing His people as He spoke to Solomon in the passage of scripture above.
The only place where renewal, and return to who we are, will ever be found—God.
The same place that T.S. Eliot reminds us to look when he reminds us that:
“A culture withers with the growth of secularism, and develops only with a religious framework.”
The same place that Patrick Henry pointed us toward on March 23, 1775, when he stood to proclaim in the Virginia House of Burgesses:
“Three million people, armed in the holy cause of liberty and in such a country, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. We shall not fight alone. God presides over the destinies of nations, and will raise up friends for us…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!”
We are at yet another moment in history as a Nation. And on the occasion of this Independence Day weekend celebration, we again have a choice as Americans to take the road that demonstrates that we remember who we are, Whose we are, and where we come from—or to take another. We will have that choice long after the barbeque coals have cooled and turned to ash, the fireworks remain only as a sparkle in our eyes, and the choruses of patriotic songs have faded into the recesses of our heart strings.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
A moment in history.
Where will you look?
Where will we look as a Nation to find renewal and a return to who we are?
Happy Fourth of July, and may God continue to bless America!
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2010. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.