From lobster races in Maine to a golf cart parade on Catalina Island and a lumberjack competition in Pennsylvania, Americans spent yesterday celebrating our nation’s independence. President Trump, speaking before the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, declared: “We will never forget that we are Americans and the future belongs to us. The future belongs to the brave, the strong, the proud and the free.”
Two hundred and forty-three years ago, fifty-six brave men pledged “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” to adopt the Declaration of Independence. Their act that day in Philadelphia changed the course of the world. The United States became the first nation in history to be founded on an idea: the principle of freedom.
From then to today, America has been an exceptional country.
Is this a God-given fact? If so, why?
I researched that question recently. Here is what I found.
Our God-given geography is exceptional.
The Greater Mississippi Basin with the Intracoastal Waterway has more miles of navigable internal waterways than the rest of the world combined. This is important because transporting goods by water is significantly cheaper than over land.
The American Midwest is the world’s largest contiguous piece of farmland. The American Atlantic Coast possesses more major ports than the rest of the Western Hemisphere combined. And oceans to our east and west, deserts to our south, and lakes and forests to our north insulate us from the rest of the world.
We are the least densely populated nation of any major global economy. More than half of our sixty largest cities face no restrictions on expansion in any direction.
Our God-given resources are exceptional.
With 5 percent of the world’s population, we produce nearly a third of the world’s wealth. The Texas economy is larger than the economies of Canada, Russia, or Australia; California’s economy is larger than the economies of Great Britain or France. We have surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s leading producer of energy.
Our pioneer spirit has been vital to our success. Our land called and required people of hardy souls and work ethic. They would transform this land from wilderness into civilization through their own hard work.
We are the first nation to control every ocean on the planet. We have the most powerful military in history. And yet we have never colonized the world in the way other powerful nations have.
The Roman Empire grew from a tiny colony to dominate the Mediterranean World. The British Empire grew from an island to global dominance. America has never attempted such a world empire.
In fact, when asked by a critic whether America’s involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq was “empire building” on our part, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell gave this reply: “We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years—and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan—and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in.”
Our founding fathers were exceptional.
Those who founded America believed in the individual: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” As we noted yesterday, these words could not have been written in England or elsewhere in Europe, where only royals could become king.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu testified before Congress: “Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty. All people who cherish freedom owe a profound debt of gratitude to your great nation.”
And as we noted yesterday, our founders believed strongly in biblical morality.
“To whom much was given”
Does any of this mean that God loves America more than he loves other nations?
But it does mean that we face the temptation to trust our prosperity more than our Creator.
As the Israelites were preparing to enter their Promised Land, God said of them: “When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey . . . and they have eaten and are full and have grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant” (Deuteronomy 31:20). Human nature doesn’t change. Just as prosperity tempted the ancient Israelites to self-reliance, so it tempts us.
God’s blessings on America also carry the responsibility to manage them for his glory and our common good. “The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1), but our Creator calls us to oversee his creation well: “It is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Jesus was clear: “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48).
“We make a life by what we give”
The stewardship of our nation begins with our stewardship of ourselves. What resources has God entrusted to you? What gifts, abilities, financial means, and cultural influence are yours? Would you submit them to God’s Spirit and use them for his glory?
Winston Churchill observed: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
What life will you make today?
NOTE: I am excited about the response we’ve had to our YouTube series, “Biblical Insight to Tough Questions.” If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do.
Our question this week is: What are angels?
I hope that you will view the video, as well as the others in the series, and share them with family and friends. May this content bless you today.