Today is the 4th of July, Independence Day, America’s annual celebration of the day that the we as a nation became independent from Great Britain. When I woke up this morning, I was fully aware of what day it was as I finalized plans with my family for our BBQ/fireworks/bonfire celebration that will commence tonight. What slipped my mind in this midst of that, however, was the reality of why we celebrate this day…
Earlier today my worship team spent two hours leading a prayer meeting focused on crying out for revival in America. In the middle of our set as someone was praying for the Lord to awaken our nation, the Lord whispered a phrase to me in my spirit that began an inner dialogue. It went something like this…
Him: “It’s Independence Day.”
Me: “Oh yeah! It’s the fourth of July!”
Him: “It’s Independence Day.”
Profound, right? Well actually, yes, it was. The second time He spoke that phrase to me it became quite obvious that He was highlighting the fact that there was a significance to that specific title. I took a moment to ponder it in my heart and quickly found myself in the middle of my own little history lesson inside my brain.
Why is this day called Independence Day? Well, like I said earlier, this is America’s day to remember when we as a nation became independent from Great Britain. But what did that mean? Why were we fighting and warring to be independent of the nation we came from? Anyone who’s ever taken some type of American history class should know the answer. Under the reign of King James I in England there was a group of men and women who sought freedom to worship God without being forced to conform to the religious mandate of their king. This group of “Separatists” fled the religious oppression of England and landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts where they established a colony of their own and had freedom to worship God apart from the religious systems of their former land. On July 2, 1776, the thirteen colonies of the United States declared their independence from Great Britain and two days later signed the Declaration of Independence and henceforth Independence Day was born.
As I was on stage recalling these historical events in my mind, my heart began to break over the condition of our nation. A people who once feared Yahweh and literally gave their lives to establish a nation where He could be worshipped without governmental oppression has turned into a people who have forgotten the God of their forefathers and live in complete rebellion to His ways. One of these forefathers, John Adams, wrote a letter to his wife Abigail concerning Independence Day and stated, “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.”*
America, may we take heed to these words. Instead of our independence being from that which hindered us from worshiping God Almighty, we have become a nation who stands in pride and arrogance, flaunting our independence from Him. As we celebrate our nation’s independence today, let us not forget to declare our dependence on Jesus. May we dedicate ourselves to solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. May we not get so lost in the pomp and festivities that surround this day of remembrance and that we forget the One who is responsible for this celebration in the first place.
*“Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776, ‘Had a Declaration…’”. Adams Family Papers. Massachusetts Historical Society, http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/archive/doc?id=L17760703jasecond. Retrieved July 4, 2014.