July 4th and Pre-Election Reflections
By Dr. Jim Savage, Riverchase UMC
It is true that we live in the greatest nation in the world. We help more nations than anyone else. We send more missionaries, doctors, relief workers, emergency food than any other nation. But we are facing some serious problems. We rank near the bottom of G-8 nations in the area of healthcare, murder rates, and other serious violent crime rates.
Israel was to be the chosen nation of God. Then God commanded them in the Ten Commandments to “have no other gods before me”, and it was only a few days until they built a golden calf and fell into idol worship. Today many people put many other things in place of God: money, power, office politics, corporate profits, marital affairs, and athletics, and many other things. The Book of Exodus makes it very clear that “anything” that comes first before God has become our “idol” including our home and children.
Another early command for Israel and for us comes in the Book of Deuteronomy 6: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
As I reflect on the serious nature of these words I wonder if we have any candidates running for president who truly love God with all of the heart, soul, mind and strength? I like the old joke about politicians and the advent of the word “politics”. The old joke reminds us that the first part of the word “poli” in Latin means “many”, and the word “tics” is simply related to blood sucking creatures.
Then I reflect on those who signed the Declaration of Independence. They voted on the concept and passed the motion on July 2, 1776, and signed the document on July 4, but they paid dearly with their lives, jobs, families, homes and fortunes for years to come. The last sentence is the declaration is almost prophetic of things to come as it states: “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
One story says that for several years to come after this was signed that five of these men were captured by the British and held until death. Twelve had their homes, farms, and fortunes burned to the ground. Two lost sons to death in battle. Two of them had sons captured and tortured. Nine of them fought and died in the war or due to wounds or disease soon after the war. May God help us as a nation who makes the claim: “In God We Trust.”