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, and 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 of the “Declaration of Independence,” read by Colonel John Nixon, which was unanimously declared and embraced by the Second Continental Congress just four days earlier on July 4, 1776:
“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 our Declaration of Independence, anyway. The liberty and freedom they sought for themselves, their families and their beloved colonies was at stake. You can’t help but wonder if they had any idea at all, of the impact and significance throughout history, that moment in history would have. They couldn’t possibly have known.
It was a moment in history on the road to independence, on the road to freedom, on the road to liberty.
And I can’t help but 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 a number of points and times in our history, we have been at a moment of significance, of decision, and impact. Moments where we have been called to remember who we are as a Nation, and 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, and the direction we seem to be headed, and decisions being made by others around us—whether they come from without or within—or a moment to stand and proclaim and embrace anew the ideal upon which this great Country was founded—an ideal of LIBERTY throughout the Land.
We are at 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, our courts, or from the White House all where trust in integrity, and in their belief in the foundations of our great land, is sadly and woefully lacking.
No, renewal and return to the ideals of our nation won’t come from there. Instead it can only be found in the same place our founders looked, in the same place that the Speaker of that Pennsylvania Assembly looked in 1751, in the same place those fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence looked, and in the same place that the Lord was pointing His people as He spoke to Solomon in the passage of scripture set out above.
The only place where renewal, and return to who we are, will ever be found—is in God.
The same place that Patrick Henry pointed us toward on March 23, 1775, when he stood to proclaim in the Virginia House of Burgesses that:
“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 destiniesof 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 our history as a Nation. A moment where we are called to remember and return, or not.
And on the occasion of this Independence Day celebration that is before us, we again have a choice as Americans to take the road that demonstrates that we remember who we are, and 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 sparkling memory 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? And Whose we are?
To God, and God alone.
That is the only place, and He is the only One, to return to for renewal.
Happy Fourth of July, and may God renew and bless the America He created!
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2013. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.