Something struck me today while reading through the Declaration of Independence: The men who drafted and signed this document were entirely convinced that they were empowered by God. I absolutely love the last line, “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.”
The founding of our great nation was not based on the promises of a man, the superiority of an economic system or even the collective voice of the people. It was based on the firm belief that God was on their side, and that He would protect them and ensure the success of their efforts. They believed He would provide a better future for their families than the King of England. Seriously, take a look at the first prayer of the Continental Congress that I pasted below.
Here’s my point. A nation needs moral clarity in order to be strong. But because so many terrible things have been done in the name of God, we’ve had a tendency to shy away from seeking and claiming Divine support. And it’s true…developing a sense of empowerment from God is dangerous business. If you’re wrong, you will be destroyed. If you’re wrong, you will lead many men to die for the wrong cause. But if we don’t seek God’s will and believe that we’re operating with His support, then we’re doomed to be a weak nation, overrun by people with more developed moral convictions.
I’m curious. What role do you see God playing in the founding of our nation? What role do you see Him playing now?
“Moral Clarity yields strength, but Truth endures. The strength of false is destroyed by the strength of truth. Yet, without clarity there is no strength at all!”
First Prayer of the Continental Congress, 1774
O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle!
Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.
Reverend Jacob Duché
Rector of Christ Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
September 7, 1774, 9 o’clock a.m.