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Declaration of Dependence
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Exodus 14:13-14 (NIV)
13 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.
14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
The Declaration of Independence is, in the words of the US National Archives, "Thomas Jefferson's crowning monument." With soaring phrases and particular attention to humility and civility, Jefferson laid out for King George and the world the basic reasons for the rebellion that had already begun. Many people remember (or were forced to memorize) the opening phrases of the Declaration, but few people remember the closing sentence:
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.
It's that middle phrase that stands out in such stark contrast to so much of what had been said about British tyranny and the need for change. These men pledged everything they had to each other and "for the support of this Declaration." But the hinge-pin of this huge gate they were opening was a reliance on God to protect them and provide them with the courage and the means to truly break the grip of tyranny. Without "the protection of divine Providence" these men fully expected to fail in their enterprise.
In Psalms 46, the sons of Korah reiterated what Moses had told the Israelites as they stood between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea: Be still, depend on God, and trust that He will see you through. The Israelites were frightened and thought they were trapped, but Moses declared to them that God would protect them.
In 1776, knowing the odds against them, knowing the danger of facing the world's most powerful nation, knowing that their lives and fortunes and FAMILIES were at risk, Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers not only declared their independence from Britain but their DEPENDENCE on God's protection in the coming struggle. Their declaration of dependence on God is one of the reasons we here in America can worship that same God freely. Let us worship Him and depend on Him even more today.
Lord God in Heaven, Lord of Hosts and King of Kings, bless this nation. As we reflect today on the worldly liberties we have, teach us to more deeply depend on You. Change our hearts, O Lord, to be more like You, that Your kingdom shall be our home more than any nation where we dwell. Amen.
--July 4, 2009
© 2009 Glenn A. Pettit-Noel
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