Updated: Jul 13, 2018
As I think about celebrating the 4th of July today, and our freedom, I think about all the places I could have been born, could be living. I am very grateful for America and all the freedoms that come with it. Among which the freedom of religion is among one of the greatest honors and blessings I can imagine. With that freedom comes a great responsibility in my view: TO PRAY. Pray for our country, our government, our leaders, our pastors, and our neighbors.
I don't know about you, but I do not pray for these things nearly enough.
This is not a political post, and please do not miss the intent of this post by turning it into one - Our country is gravely ill. Our people are free, but suffering. Our nation is blessed, but burdened. We have so many advantages, yet our nation also faces so much adversity. We have comfort, yet coupled with affliction.
I was reading Isaiah 30 today and cannot help but see the similarities in our country and the Israelites on this wonderful day we celebrate.
Israel was oppressed by Egypt - The 13 colonies were oppressed by Great Britain.
Israel was delivered from Egypt - America was delivered from Great Britain.
Israel celebrated their freedom annually - We celebrate our freedom every July 4th.
Israel at times took their freedom for granted - We at times also take our freedom for granted.
I read Isaiah 30:1 and see us, America, the land of plenty:
"Ah, stubborn children," declares the Lord, "who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt without asking for my direction..."
How stubborn the Israelites were, how little faith in those days. The cycle of oppression and rebellion, pleas for God's rescue, God's forgiveness and deliverance... it reminds me so much of us...does it you?
As you celebrate AMERICA's great freedom today - I can't help but wonder, what are we doing with this great gift? What are you doing with this amazing blessing?
So as you celebrate today with fireworks, family, and food - I ask that you also recall the beliefs our founding fathers lived in conviction of. I ask that you join me in praying for our country, our government, our leaders, our pastors, and our neighbors. I ask that you join me in thanking the Lord for the freedom we were given so graciously, and thank Him that you were chosen to be HERE - now - for a purpose. I pray you will seek your plan, purpose and direction from the Lord.
Our great nation will not change until our hearts do.
Isaiah 30:18 goes on to remind us of the long-suffering nature of our God:
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you, therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait on HIM.
I am so encouraged individually that in all my many failures - I am loved by a God who waits eagerly to have compassion on me when I call. In vs 19 it says AS SOON AS HE HEARS [MY CRY], HE ANSWERS. This was true for Israel, this is true for me, and this is true for AMERICA!
Though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, [God], your teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will see your [God]. Isaiah 30:20
I celebrate freedom today, but I also pray for a new freedom.
I pray for the freedom only found in the Lord.