Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance – Psalm 33:12

 How can we bless our nation? We are blessed to live in a nation that is free. Liberty is a hallmark of the United States of America, though in recent days our constitutional rights are being challenged more and more. I remember as a kid singing America the Beautiful, originally a poem written by Katherine Lee Bates in 1893. It was first published in 1895 and soon became a favorite of those thankful for this great nation called America. Bates wrote the poem after she had been awed by the scenic view from Pikes Peak in Colorado. In 1910 a church organist Samuel A. Ward put the poem to music resulting in the beautiful tribute to America we have today. It’s a shame we don’t sing this song more often. Some view it as outdated or too sentimental. Others decry it as nationalistic as though that were something bad. What have we come to as a nation when we feel embarrassed to give thanks for the great nation God has sovereignly birthed us into or brought us to? And why should we not give thanks to God who in His Divine providence produced the good part of what we see in our nation historically and even today? We seldom consider the entire poem but it is worth doing so. Take a moment to prayerfully read and enjoy the lyrics to this wonderful hymn to our nation:

America the Beautiful

 O beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw
Confirm thy soul in self-control
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
Wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice
For man’s avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

We have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to America. Honestly, I think this should be our national anthem. God has shed His grace on this nation. We are a fruitful nation as the “amber waves of grain” attests to. We are a beautiful nation as the “purple mountains majesties” pictures. We should be grateful for the pilgrim explorers who settled this land. In our day and age there seems to be a greater outcry against settlers who are portrayed as oppressors of indigenous peoples. They don’t see “pilgrim feet” as something beautiful. It’s true, there were atrocities perpetrated by people but such crimes can be found on both sides. That issue needs God’s precious grace to be shed on it.

Our nation has a history of heroic sacrifice. “Heroes proved” what was right. “Liberating strife” proved the character of those willing to sacrifice “self” for their country. They loved their country “more than life.” As much sorrow as we have experienced historically, the glory of our nation remains, “undimmed by human tears.” “Halcyon skies” refers to times of happiness and peacefulness. “Pilgrims feet” blazoned a “thoroughfare . . . across the wilderness.” Yes, on many occasions “men lavished precious life!” on America to make it beautifully what it is.

Some would try to quench our love of country with accusations of ruthless imperialism and greedy heartless capitalism. To that I respond, by God’s grace we are not only the richest nation but the one who is perennially the most giving nation. Alternatives such a socialism and communism are connected to the most failed and oppressive economically and brutally genocidal societally. Our citizens are regularly the first to offer help in national or global catastrophes. America is not perfect. I have no delusions of grandeur as I consider this nation. No nation is perfect. But America the beautiful has a big heart! For that we certainly should be proud. We are divided in many ways these days. Pray for God to “crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shinning sea!” Yes, we are not a perfect nation. But the solution is not to tear down the nation. The solution is to continue to pray for the fulfillment of the words, “till selfish gain no longer stain the banner of the free!”

Now what people of the past have sacrificed, “for patriot dream that sees beyond the years,” we too must participate in. They pass the baton to us. Truly as we look at the exceptional blessings of our nation which in so many ways are unprecedented we have to ponder the truth that “America! America! God shed His grace on thee, till nobler men keep once again Thy whiter Jubilee!” And even though patriotism and love of country is not popular to a large proportion of those in our Land who have swallowed the globalist pill, it’s hard to deny “God shed His grace on thee.” It’s sad that when discussing our nation there have to be so many qualifications. I pray for a day when those qualifications or detractions are at a minimum. There won’t be a nation without detractions until “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11). So we pray predominantly, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

How can we bless our nation? How can we invest in the continued advancement of its beauty? How can we take the baton from our forefathers and fore-sisters and lead on to a “whiter Jubilee!”? In Psalm 33:12 God reveals to us “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” There is a historical context and immediate application of this verse to the nation of Israel. I do not believe that the United States of America is a New Israel. Israel is particularly “the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” But there is a broader truth to be applied from these words. God says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” Any “nation” who looks to the LORD God of the Bible is a nation God will bless. If we want to bless our nation, then we should encourage our nation as much as it is within our power, to call the Biblical God our God.

The power to bless our nation, to call it back to God, to call it to continue with God, that power is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and empowering of the Holy Spirit. When God was bringing His people back from captivity to rebuild its Land through His prophets He inspired the truth, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). The power of the Spirit is preeminently fulfilled when a person is “born again” of the Spirit (John 3) and baptized with the power of the Holy Spirit as we see in the book of Acts (Acts 1 and 2). We need to get back to living like our Christian predecessors did in the book of Acts.

When the people of Israel returned from captivity and were downcast over the mountain of rubble that was once their great city of Jerusalem, God encouraged, “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” (Zechariah 4:7). God’s grace got them through. God’s grace will get us through. God can level any obstacle. He can straighten out any crooked path. “The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth” (Isaiah 40:4). Trust the LORD!

We might be tempted on occasion to cower in the shadows of what we see as a daunting, even hopeless task. To such downcast souls God invites, “For who has despised the day of small things?” What is in front of us is not an obstacle but an opportunity. Man’s extremities are God’s opportunities. And then God reassures, “The eyes of the LORD, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth” yes, God is watching over us (Zechariah 4:10). “For with God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37). “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14). We need to call on God and remember His words, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27). No, no there is nothing too hard for God.

Look up friend. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). No adversary is worth losing sleep over when we stick by God’s side. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). The “all things” begins with the free gift of salvation from and forgiven of our sins. It is eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But the “all things” goes further. God’s grace is by nature “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Based on God’s grace, shed on us, we should hope encouragingly. We should hope enthusiastically. By God’s grace I believe there are indications that we as a nation are on the cusp of another Great Awakening. Our nation was birthed from the First Great Awakening in the mid-1700s. Great men like Whitefield, Wesley, Edwards were used by God to till the soil of the heart of people from which a nation would be born. What might be birthed from another Great Awakening? Great Things! Oh LORD, may it be so we pray!

With that in mind, and with a desire to give back to and bless our nation, I return to Psalm 33. Let’s “Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful” (Psalm 33:1). When Katherine Lee Bates wrote her poem about the beautiful qualities of America, that beauty shines bright through the praises to God of our citizenry. We need to be praising patriots; patriots who praise the LORD!

Let’s bless our nation by growing in our faith. Let’s grow in God’s word. “For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in truth” (Psalm 33:4). There are many who try and bring down any elevating praises toward our nation with shouts of “That’s not right!” or “That’s not true!” They belittle patriotism with derogatory slurs concerning their perceived injustices and lack of goodness. No one would claim there is no injustice in our land. No one should claim we can’t grow in national goodness. But coming to God of Whom it is said, “He loves righteousness and justice” and that “the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD” how can He not rub off on us? (Psalm 33:5). Truth and justice and righteousness and goodness are not things defined by superficial fleeting ever-changing trends of the day. There really isn’t such a thing as a “new morality.” God’s word is steady and ever-relevant. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35). Morality and everything else to be proper and truly true, need to be defined and based on God’s eternal word’s definitions of them. Our nation will be great, our nation will be blessed, in proportion to its adherence to God’s revealed truth found in His Holy Word.

I pray we can recapture the commitment and enthusiasm of our Founding Fathers. We have so much to be thankful for. On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote the following in two letters to his wife, Abigail.

  • Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony “that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, and as such, they have, and of Right ought to have full Power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all the other Acts and Things, which other States may rightfully do.” You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the Causes, which have impelled Us to this mighty Revolution, and the Reasons which will justify it, in the Sight of God and Man. A Plan of Confederation will be taken up in a few days. On July 2, 1776 the Association known as United Colonies of America officially became the United States of America….

 

  • The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epoch, in the History of America. – I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shows, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction, even although We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

While John Adams was referring to the day the Declaration of American Independence was originally made to the world, we celebrate on the day it was approved by the Continental Congress – July 4th. We do indeed have a lot to be thankful for.

July 4th should be a day of celebration for the blessings of our nation. And that should be especially so in our own immediate personal historical context. Our nation was on the brink. The forces in charge were ready for a kill shot. They wanted to bring this nation down to the size of ordinary. But God has given us a reprieve. For that we should, no we need to be thankful. We should celebrate. Celebrate! But that doesn’t mean we should celebrate by getting drunk! No Founding Father would endorse that. No godly person would. Carpe diem my fellow citizen. We need to seize the day. Let’s celebrate in the presence of the LORD; in Jesus’ name. Let’s worship the LORD in celebration of our great nation.

For a number of years, for a number of administrations, we could easily empathize with the words, “My soul clings to the dust.” Our cry to God was, “Revive me according to Your word” (Psalm 119:25). Or perhaps we thought, “I am afflicted very much; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word” (Psalm 119:107). We felt like the psalmist who wrote, “Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law” (Psalm 119:136). You may still feel like that today. There is work to be done. We’re not there yet. But as individuals we need to pray, “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way” (Psalm 119:37). Pray, “Revive me in Your righteousness” (Psalm 119:40). Pray to and declare your dependence upon God saying, “Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word” (Psalm 119:154). And because “Great are Your tender mercies, O LORD” we can expect God to “Revive me according to Your judgments” (Psalm 119:156).

God loves us and I believe He loves this nation. We have often strayed and we have offended Him in many ways. That’s tragic. But seek the LORD who loves us. Plead the case of our nation and of us, “I see the treacherous, and am disgusted because they do not keep Your word. Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive, Me O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness” (Psalm 119:158-159). And because, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160) we can pray with great glorious expectations.

In those areas where we have fallen short as a nation and lost our way, we need to seek the LORD for redirection. “Let my cry come before You, O LORD; Give me understanding according to Your word. Let my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Your word “(Psalm 119:169-170). We need to return to God’s word. It alone can steady us and give us a firm foundation to continue building on. That’s because, “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).

The words of our Founding Fathers have been twisted over time to indulge and to support secularism. But our Founders, while not perfect, were lovers of God. For instance, Patrick Henry commented and clarified the Source of the blessings of America the beautiful: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by    religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” George Washington, our first president, often glanced over in public schools nowadays, stated, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” Thomas Jefferson, contrary to his recreation as a staunch anti-christian and secularist in modern redacted history, he asserted, “The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty… I have always said that a studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.” Andrew Jackson, powerful if not always diplomatic in his words like our present president, stated, “That Book, sir, is the rock on which our Republic rests.” And Abraham Lincoln, graded as one of our best presidents commented, “I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book that you can by reason and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. It is the best Book which God has given to man.” Great leaders are great in the word of God. We need to get back to God’s word if we are to have more great leaders.

Our educational system has deteriorated into intellectual poverty. Our educational institutions have degenerated into more of a place of indoctrination than education. To such a sad situation we would be wise to heed the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, “To every man who faces life with real desire to do his part in everything, I appeal for a study of the Bible….A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” What is sad is that these presidential quotes that rightly connect our nations greatness and personal greatness with belief in God and God’s word and His gospel have become less and less common in recent times. Corrie Ten Boom. A woman of great spiritual stature, wisely observed, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” That’s truth!

Great leaders are great toward God. And those great toward God are greatly trusting in His word. Ronald Regan once said, “Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face.” We strayed as a nation from the parameters of God’s word. We need to get back to God’s word. But the father of modern day missions, William Carey, he sparked the mission to the lost with the words, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” We need to see our nation as a mission field. It is our back yard. God has put us here. Let’s till the soil. The harvest is plentiful, pray for workers. Be a worker. Bless your nation.

Recently there is evidence of a turnaround for our nation. This past election saw people rally around the phrase, “Make America Great Again!” I’m all for that. I like President Trump and what he’s been able to do. He has spoken favorably in regards to people of faith. He has surrounded himself with people of faith like Vice President Mike Pence. I don’t believe President Trump’s actions are merely politically motivated. I don’t believe they are for show. I believe there is a genuineness to the president’s actions. I tend to believe he has a relationship with God. He is doing a lot of very good things a man of God would do. He is putting strong conservative constitutionalist judges in positions federally and even in the Supreme Court. He has stood for the sanctity of life; moved to better protect the unborn. He’s listening to people of faith. He’s encouraging people of faith. He’s got the economy on the upswing and unemployment is lower than it’s been in decades. God is blessing through him. There are actually more jobs than people to fill vacancies! He has brokered unprecedented peace in areas of the world like North Korea. He is fighting for America and working for a more just and equitable economic relationship with trade partners. He’s securing our borders. We pray for a just, kind and merciful resolution for immigrants; no small task! And all of this done under the critical eye and belligerent voice of a media that for the most part is hyper critical and all too willing to shade whatever happens with reporting that promotes a globalist liberal anti-American agenda.

The wisdom of the Bible states, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2). There’s a lot more rejoicing than groaning going on (though you might have difficulty at times discerning that through the politically manufactured “groans” and shouting of those out of political power who would condemn anything the President does). There are a lot of good things happening. America is returning to greatness.

Our president is not perfect. He doesn’t always mince words or speak in the accepted politically toned down diplomatic softness. Politicians tend to say a lot but mean nothing. President Trump is not like that. He is straightforward and to the point. He is decisive. He has proven to be a man of his word. He speaks like a hammer blow. But you know what, sometimes a hammer is needed to break through facades of deception and nail falsehoods. To God’s people, through Jeremiah the prophet, He asked, “’Is not My word like a fire?’ says the LORD, ‘And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?’” (Jeremiah 23:29). In the Middle Ages when Islam was threatening to overrun Europe, Charles Martel stemmed the tide with crucial victories. Charles Martel had a nickname; “the Hammer.” Maybe President Trump is our “hammer” for today, for our nation. Maybe the Lord has raised him up to stem the tide and drain the swamp of self-serving politicians.

President Trump is a president not a pastor. And as president he is in a position of political power and influence. He measures his words and uses them to hammer home his points. He seems to be a step or two or three ahead of his opponents. He is working to thwart globalism and is succeeding. That is good. The Antichrist will one day rule via a global system. But President Trump’s success to thwart and reduce globalism and an entrenched establishment has stemmed the tide of world government. But it’s also put a target on his back. I do believe President Trump is sincerely for the common person. I believe he is genuinely a patriot who wants to give back to our nation. He’s not perfect. It’s an uphill battle. We are winning though, just as our president promised. Keep him in prayer. I see signs of a genuine faith in him.

Perhaps some of the colorful less than “Christian” comments attributed to President Trump are due to spiritual growing pains. I believe the secular media does not distinguish between before Christ and after Christ behavior of our president. There are those who adamantly believe President Trump has given his heart to the Lord. There are those who adamantly oppose that idea. I think we should support president Trump in our prayers. If you don’t believe he has faith, pray that he comes to it. If you believe that he has faith, pray he grows in his faith. Pray he relies more and more on God’s word and that God continues to shed His grace on him. Pray for him, but do not unfairly assess and attack him. Pray for him, but do not worship him.

President Trump is a fallen human being like the rest of us. He needs our support. We are called to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Rather than rip up our president, maybe we should be loving him. If love, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). If love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8a). Then ought we not to love our president? Are you loving our president?

If and when our president falters, we need to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 5:15). To love doesn’t mean to be gullible. To love means to be true. We support our president in honestly affirming his just, righteous, and godly decisions. We must also point out when decisions are ungodly and unscriptural. We should honestly look for scriptural support when we assess political decisions and actions. We will serve our president and our nation well when we first serve our God according to His word. That is a principle our Founders believed in.

Good things are happening. But we have to keep the momentum going. If we want to bless our nation, we need to return to God and His word. We need to do that as individuals, as churches, as citizens who vote, as citizens who get involved prayerfully and serving in our country. We need to remember, “The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their work” (Psalm 33:13-15). God is real. God is watching.

We need to remember that regardless of who is in power, “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength” (Psalm 33:16). We need to look to the LORD. We need to trust in Him. “Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name” (Psalm 33:20-21). Do you want to bless our country? Rejoice in the LORD. Look to Jesus. Pray to Him. Hope in His mercy and grace. “Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, just as we hope in You” (Psalm 33:22). LORD, may Your grace continue to be shed on us. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” O LORD, please continue to bless the United States of America. God may you be our LORD forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen