The United States of America has historically been a nation of freedom in a world acquainted with dictatorial leaders, restricted liberties, and government control. As a bastion of independence, our country designed a structure of leadership that held to balanced powers, establishing a trio of institutional branches to check against one another.
These leadership divisions are essential to the effective processing of our freedoms in America. While any government system is far from perfect, the idea of a free government was the defining issue at the Constitutional Convention, held in Philadelphia in 1787.
After leaving their home country of England, the colonists eventually settled in America. This move was an effort to relocate in a place that allowed the freedom to practice faith freely. In order to establish a new government that would allow religious liberty, the United States would need to put a policy in place that would never make it possible for the government to restrict the citizens from this God-given right.
The states debated the issues in the Constitution, many representatives noting that they would never agree to ratify a document that did not provide the language to remind the government that it could not infringe on the rights of the citizens. These statesmen came to an agreement when the amendments to the Constitution were added. In the very first amendment, they penned the following words:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It is important to note that these are specifically stating certain restrictions on government policy, not listing a total of the rights of citizens. Many individuals today forget that this was intended to limit government, not U.S. citizens. While this lists a few of the rights of men, this by no means was intended by our founders to number them all.
When we look at our Constitution, we must see that our founding fathers meant to protect citizens by limiting government power. They had been forced to leave their original country because of their conviction to practice their biblical faith freely, without the expressed tyrannical power of the English throne imposing rule on faith and practice. These men so desired to live in a land free from intervention from the governing powers that they would not agree on a foundational document unless it expressly limited government.
Our founding fathers could never have imagined that the freedoms they fought to hold and protect would foster immoral actions in America. Our second president, John Adams, believed this when he said, “It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.” Because of the importance of morality upon the nation’s legal outlook, it is vital to pass these values to the next generation. Examples of national immorality can be seen throughout the past, especially in biblical history.
The Judges Cycle
When I think of America today, I am reminded of God’s chosen people of Israel in the book of Judges. Joshua’s final words to that nation admonished them to prove, “Whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not” (Judges 2:22). We see that the Israelites entered into a cycle of disobedience, repentance, and restoration that repeated itself many times.
When I consider the history of Israel, I see an admonition for America as well. Like Israel, our nation has also seen cycles of public devotion to God followed by periods of turning our backs on God. We are now living in a cycle of public sin and disobedience, expelling God from our halls of government and our classrooms, telling God that we will follow our own rules rather than His. As a consequence, America has fallen into a period of unrest. We must now cry out to the Lord for revival and deliverance, just as the children of Israel did after a time of disobedience and unrest. He has promised to be faithful to His own. His desire is that we would stand up for righteousness in a land that promotes promiscuity and immoral behavior.
When I think of America today, I also think of Abraham’s encounter in Genesis 18:16–32. Three visitors from the Lord have been enjoying Abraham’s hospitality. As they are about to leave, they look toward the area of Sodom and Gomorrah and begin to speak among themselves about what is going to be done to these cities of sin and iniquity.
Abraham then has a conversation with the Lord, trying to convince Him to change His mind about the destruction of these cities and not to, “Destroy the righteous with the wicked” (verse 23). Abraham asks the Lord to save the city if He finds, “Fifty righteous within the city” (verse 24). We find in chapter 19 that there were not even ten righteous men in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and these cities were destroyed. God is looking for men and women who will stand firm on biblical principles and not be swayed by worldly philosophy.
Faith in Practice
As I travel across America, I meet many Bible-believing Christians who are truly seeking to live for the Lord and to obey His commandments. These precious people have the blessing of God on their lives, and they are the reason for God’s continued blessing on America. I pray that our intercessions for America will be fruitful, and that God will find enough righteous in our nation to withhold His judgment and send revival to America.
We have been commanded to live holy lives. We are admonished not to act and respond in a worldly fashion, but to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. As Ezekiel 22:30–31 reminds us, God is still looking for those who will stand in the gap. May God find us to be faithful servants as we seek to do His will for our lives.