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The Declaration Day

July 4th, 2008

Focus Text: Psalm 91: 2 (NLT)– AGAIN

2 This I declare about the Lord:
   He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
      he is my God, and I trust him.

 

Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Okay, so I know that we used this same verse yesterday, but it begs to be referenced again.  The reason? The Fourth of July.  Independence Day.  Hotdogs and bratwurst grilled over charcoal and smoky flames. American flags and yellow ribbon.  The Star-Spangled Banner and God Bless America.  Sparklers, picnics, and parties.  Paintings of Bald Eagles and bald patriots.

On this day, our entire nation will join together to celebrate our independence from British tyranny.  It is a day that children will play unabated and adults will blissfully reminisce of days gone by and heroes who fought to preserve our liberty. Fireworks are an appropriate addition to this tradition because truly our patriotism bursts forth on this day more than any other of the year.

But what actually happened on July 4th, 1776?  Well, all you good little history students out there will recall that on this day, our forefathers signed a document called The Declaration of Independence.  Now, you’ve probably heard that particular fact repeated a million times in your life, but let’s ponder this detail for a moment.  On July 4th, nobody loaded a gun or ran for cover from enemy fire.  No one rallied troops or led frontal assaults across open fields.  As far as we know, on July 4th, 1776, no shots were fired.

Yet we call this day, Independence Day.  Truth be told, Paul Revere’s famous ride proceeding the battles of Lexington and Concord that warned the colonists that the British had landed happened over a year earlier in April of 1775.  For that matter, many conflicts had occurred already like the Boston Massacre in 1770 and the Boston Tea Party in 1773.  Furthermore, the actual Revolutionary War would last for several more years ending with the surrender of British General Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781.  As long as we’re discussing it, the treaty that technically ended the war and established the new territories of the United States was the Treaty of Paris signed in 1783.  All these days of importance and somehow July 4th has stood the test of time as a national holiday.

Hmmm, wouldn’t it seem more likely that we would celebrate our independence on the day we actually won the war?  That would mean we would celebrate Independence Day on October 19th.  Well, it wouldn’t be as hot?  And we could watch college football while engaging in the patriotic festivities!  Wouldn’t that be strange?  For whatever reason, our forefathers throughout history felt that the most appropriate day to commemorate our freedom was the we “declared” it as our own.  To them, that day was as important as the day they actually defeated their enemies in battle.

Psalm 91: 2 speaks of another declaration: “This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”  

You see, there’s something powerful about making your declaration to the world about who God is in your life.  Like our forefathers, that moment becomes a pinnacle event in the history of your personal faith.  I’m sure that many times the writers of the Declaration of Independence went back and reread the document, just to remind themselves of what they were fighting for.

Your “Yorktown” may still be years away.  You may be struggling with all your might against the tyranny of your old lifestyle or mindset.  You may be hurling musketballs at the enemy and wondering if victory will ever be yours.  But listen, spiritual patriot, the full surrender of your enemy may still be in the future, but the declaration of your freedom has already been signed.

So celebrate your nation’s freedom and also celebrate the liberty you have in Christ who has set you free from your past.  Make your declaration of faith to God and to the world right now in the midst of the battle.  And remember, when you look back from the annals of time, you’ll see the day you declared as the day you became free.

 

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