Two hundred thirty-five years ago this weekend, Americans declared their intention to be independent of England and her King. Unfortunately, such matters are seldom settled by simply signing a piece of paper and delivering it to the ruling country. England was not pleased with this declaration and entered into a long period of war before granting the upstart Americans their wish. But in the end, America had her desire—she was independent of the English.

But in what sense are men and countries ever independent? It is an enticing idea that a person or a country can independently forge their own destiny, their own history. However, this idea is just as deadly as it is enticing. Wars may appear to determine which country can set its own direction— for the moment; the actual reality is this: no country is free from the rule of the Great Sovereign of the Universe. Each person owes his next breath, and each country its next day of freedom, to the One who holds their lives in his hand.

Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful world leader who thought he was in control of the politics and daily workings of his great country. God chose to humble him with a small demonstration of his power.

At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

His dominion is an eternal dominion;

his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

All the peoples of the earth

are regarded as nothing.

He does as he pleases

with the powers of heaven

and the peoples of the earth.

No one can hold back his hand

or say to him: “What have you done?”

At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

God does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the people of earth. With great joy we can say that no one can hold back the hand of God. The most secure position anyone can have comes with acknowledge that God is the Ruler, the Sovereign, the King of all. If man were truly independent to do as he wished, the resulting chaos would be incompatible with life itself.

Americans achieved independence from England, but we will never be free from God. Now, that is an offensive statement to many people. Laws are made daily that challenge the authority and rule of God. Marriage is redefined by man’s decree and not God’s. It has become an act of prejudice to pray and acknowledge that we owe our very lives to the God of the Bible.

The safety of America, or any other nation for that matter, lies not in our ability to be free from other countries. No, our safety lies at the pleasure of the One who is able to humble those who walk in pride. God is not interested in the making of new laws. He is about the making of new hearts. May we, his Church, embrace this redemptive mission with all of our hearts! This weekend, praise God that you are dependent upon him.

Shepherd Press