In America, nearly every month has some holiday or event in which we can mark the progress of the year. July is one of the more obvious. I am of course speaking of the 4th of July, Independence Day! A day and weekend that often means Fireworks, Parades, Picnics, Grills, and Watermelons! It is a time for celebration and family gatherings as the Nation celebrates its official birthday.
Naturally such celebration recalls the creation of America which often leads to conversations. Conversations on the Biblical validity of the rebellion against England, the true original purposes of the nation, the religious persuasions of the founders (deists, agnostics, Christian, etc.), and more. Yet, no matter your position or views, the real question is what ought to be our views and position of the country and our responsibilities today? That answer I believe is found in the directions given to the exiles sent into captivity in Babylon.
Here is what was declared to them in Jeremiah 29:5-7 (ESV), “5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Notice there is no argument for the creation of Babylon nor the sins that led them to captivity. Nothing is said regarding their requirements to be faithful, responsible, and beneficial only so far as Babylon’s founding and current status was Biblical. In short, national/governmental faithfulness or faithlessness was not a prerequisite for their obedience and life.
As such, when it comes to you and me walking in obedience to the Lord, it doesn’t truly matter how or why our nation was founded. It likewise doesn’t truly matter whether the nation is still a Christian Nation following the precepts of Scripture. The only thing that does matter, is our great King, The King of Kings, has decreed that all subjects of His Eternal Royal Kingdom, are to live as good citizens in all the lands and cities where He has sent them.
In all places the testimony of the Christian citizen is to be one who seeks peace and pursues it. [1st Peter 3:11] One who serves in their community; who respects all people and life in all stages (womb to the tomb); who truly, genuinely loves and shows love, the world can see, for fellow Christians even those they disagree with on issues; one who respects, doesn’t mock or share insults about, nor rebels against those in Civil Government Leadership (local to National). [1st Peter 2:17]
So, as you eat that wonderful watermelon! As you “ooh” and “ahh” at the beautiful fireworks. Let these festivities recall, not the past glories of the nation, nor the current failures. Instead, let them drive you to your knees in gratitude for the Lord’s decrees to place you where have been placed. Then stand with a fresh determination to serve Him well, by seeking the welfare of your city and country, for no reason other than the glory of God and the further spread of the Gospel in the world around us.