John Adams, who would eventually become our second president, was so elated that he wrote his wife, Abigail, two letters that day. In the second letter, he spoke prophetically about that special day, which would come to be known as Independence Day. He said this great day…
…will become the most memorable…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 forevermore. (Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Light and the Glory, Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, MI, 1977, p. 310)
Our nation lifespan has included not only a revolutionary war, but also a civil war and two world wars, yet the United States has remained remarkably stable.
The Constitution written by our Founding Fathers is still the foundation for our laws and governmental system. No other nation has experienced such a long period of prosperity. In fact, since America has flourished under the Declaration of Independence, France has had 15 different governments. Brazil has had seven since 1822. Poland, seven since 1921. Afghanistan five since 1923 and still trying to become stable with our help. Russia has had four systems since 1918. The story is similar throughout Europe, Africa, South America and the rest of the world.
America’s remarkable achievement is sometimes called “American Exceptionalism”—a term coined in 1831 by Alexis de Tocqueville, a well-known Frenchman who visited America and wrote the classicDemocracy in America.
America Must Remain HumbleAmerica is due much praise for her endurance and positive effects on the rest of the world; however, we must not let pride cause us to feel any sense of superiority. Psalm 75:6-7 reminds us that achievements are from the Lord and therefore should be a cause for an appreciative humility. As John Adams once said, “It must be felt that there is no national security but in the nation’s humble acknowledged dependence upon God and His overruling Providence.”
Thankfulness to the Lord was a frequently added practice to Independence Day celebrations of the past. When the godly people of our past would break bread together, they would first say grace and include some words of thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon the nation.
Reflect and Give ThanksThere’s nothing wrong with cookouts, shooting off fireworks and having a good time on Independence Day. That’s what our forefathers did, too. Let’s just remember to include God in our celebrating by giving Him the praise and the glory.
We live in the greatest nation on Earth. Our constitutional republic form of government still provides more freedom to its citizens than any other form of government on the planet. Thankfully, we still have the freedom to worship the God of the Bible as our forefathers did, without fear of persecution. It is He who has blessed our nation and enabled us to send out the Gospel to the far corners of the Earth. It is He who makes a nation great (see Job 12:23).
Remember to take some time and reflect on the history of our great nation and thank Almighty God for our many blessings.