Representatives assembled in Philadelphia in a last ditch effort to draft a constitution that could create a lasting government. After more than a month of frustratingly little progress, Benjamin Franklin spoke. “How has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understanding?” Franklin had begun his career as a borderline atheist, but in his old age, he had changed his mind. “The longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?”Referring to the Scripture, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it,” Franklin stated, “I firmly believe this.” Without God’s help the delegates would build no better than the builders of Babel.
Years later, Thomas Jefferson expressed a similar concern when he said, “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”Addressing the generation that bore the agony of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln expressed similar sentiments in his second inaugural, “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
As we approach the Fourth of July, it is no less important than it was in the days of Franklin, Jefferson and Lincoln that we pray for our country. Faced with cultural shifts and global threats that were inconceivable to our nation’s founders, it is all the more important that we seek God’s grace, wisdom and protection for our generation.In 2 Chronicles God has promised, “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
It is always God’s desire to bless any nation that places its hope in Him, just as Jeremiah says, “And you will swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’ In truth, in justice and in righteousness; Then the nations will bless themselves in Him, And in Him they will glory.”