On July 4th, 241 years ago today, 56 men representing 13 British colonies met in Philadelphia and signed a document that proclaimed the independence of those colonies from British rule. Britain was not pleased with the Declaration of Independence. This resulted in seven years of war. A new nation was born.
Freedom always comes with a heavy price paid in blood. Maintaining freedom also demands the sacrifice of blood and treasure. In human terms, America’s independence will only remain as long as her people are willing to pay the price of blood and treasure. The declaration, signed over two centuries ago, also acknowledged, even if imperfectly, that freedom is not granted by people but by God. Self preservation cannot be the ultimate goal of freedom and independence. Ultimately, true freedom is based upon dependence on God and not independence from man.
The psalmist reminds us of this great reality in Psalm 2. He rhetorically asks why do the nations of earth conspire against God and his Christ. Why are they intent on living their lives without regard to the rule of God? So he issues this warning to all the nations of earth:
Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
These words still apply to all the nations of earth, including our own. It is a foolish thing to live as if God can be defeated and his laws ignored. The warning here is not subtle. Submit, (kiss his Son) to the rule of God or be destroyed. This, of course, is a thought mocked and hated by many. The idea of a God to whom we are all personally accountable and totally dependent upon is repugnant to many.
So, while we gratefully remember the courage of those who have paid the price for our freedom, I pray that we will see that dependence upon God is the far greater treasure to celebrate.