If you were fortunate enough to have learned and sung this song as a child in one of America’s public schools, congratulations on a long and blessed life. The words to this song, instilled in you as a child, may have had more to do with your life in America than you imagine. Let’s poke around a bit and see what we find.
I was listening to a different piece of music earlier this week, and suddenly this tune, especially the first and last verses, came flooding into my mind. When that happens, I try to just let things flow; sometimes the waves take me to a place that is important. Perhaps the same is true for you?
The title and opening five words of this song, “My Country, Tis of Thee,” literally mean: My country exists because of You, God. This is America’s history. The nation of the Eagle exists because God created it. Sometimes God creates “ex nihilo,” out of nothing, as He did at the very beginning. At other times God creates something new by reassembling various ingredients around Him. A good cook can do amazing things with eggs, milk and flour.
That’s how it was with the nation of the Eagle. We might say that America came into existence with the Mayflower Compact, which was signed by the first English settlers. They may not have fully comprehended what they were doing, or perhaps they did, and we’ve simply forgotten. God certainly remembered. God is big on covenants. He Always Keeps His Covenants. You can’t go wrong remembering that.
Given where the nation of America (the Eagle) began, and where we find ourselves today, the words that struck me most powerfully were in verse four:
Our Father’s God, to Thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright, With freedom’s
holy light; Protect us by Thy might, Great God our King!
“Author of liberty.” Those words leave no doubt that God is the Author (creator) of human liberty, which is something we as a culture wanted our children to remember as they grew up into adults. God often refers to it as free will in His dealings with humanity.
“Freedom’s holy light.” Freedom is of God, and it brings forth a holy light in the world. The shining city on a hill.
“Protect us by Thy might, Great God our King!” Those words call upon God to use His strength to protect us as a free nation. They acknowledge God as our Supreme Ruler, even beyond the government that is elected every few years.
My old computer dictionary offers two definitions of liberty:
1. the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views: compulsory retirement would interfere with individual liberty.
2. the power or scope to act as one pleases: individuals should enjoy the liberty to pursue their own interests and preferences.
The concept of liberty is inseparable from that of license. That’s why schools taught them together. Here’s the definition of license: “a reason or excuse to do something wrong or excessive: police say that the lenient sentence is a license to assault.” God intended that He would be the ultimate ruler of the hearts and minds of those people to whom he had given liberty. Thus for a people to live in liberty, they must live under God. Churches and religions pretending to be God won’t work. It has to be God, Himself.
So how are we doing on the liberty front, America? Are we living under the vision that God authored, or are we living under the thumb of godless tyrants, who care about nothing other than expanding their own power – even when their encroachment bumps up against the limits God has set?
Perhaps “godless government” is a misnomer for what we are experiencing. I think that when we elect godless people to run our government, what we’ve really done is to elect people who think they are god. Remember, that was Satan’s great mistake. He was created to administer God’s kingdom. Instead of working diligently at the job God had given him, he decided that things would be so much better if he became god.
That didn’t work out well for Satan, and it’s not going to work out well for our godless elites. Or perhaps they simply chose the wrong God.
Behind Enemy Lines: Supernatural Meddling? Vol. 2 in the Armageddon Story novel series.
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