Today, I celebrate the delight of truth. My prayer for our country and all countries, is for truth.
Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Anything short of truth is not freedom.
July 2, 1776 our forefathers formally declared our country’s independence, Congress approved the document July 4th, and it was signed August 2, 1776. A new government or the notion of a new government began, floundered and still flounders, each term replete with its benchmarks and errors. Sometimes our leaders erred, and others guilty of underhanded deeds, deeds of intent.
We were born into this time of history, two hundred and fifty one years after the Declaration. Isn’t that interesting. No doubt our founding patriots expected the presidents, among other things, to be upstanding, truthful, bi-partisan, and a strong commander in chief. That job description seems to have been filled by only a few pair of shoes since 1776. Thankfully, some attributes still exist, in part.
I delight in truth, and as a Christian, believe that the way to the truth is Jesus. The closer we are to Him, the less the collateral damage.
Truth is a delightful thing. It cannot be repressed. We are supposed to stand with the truth, in respectful ways. Today, in our country, we need truth more than ever. Perhaps we can pray for it more than we do.
Without truth, a sad continuum follows. First comes an evil, next the hiding of it. Corruption has deep roots and long reaching branches, going far beyond the act itself. It seeks annihilation of the truth in any way possible. It needs a network of those nearest it, to learn and cooperate with a new version of the truth. There might be a killing or removal of a witness who knows the truth. Or, a burying or sealing of the evidence, in a secret place.
But can truth be altered or stopped?
I can lie about a sin, but my maker knows what I did. He ingrains the knowledge in my conscience. Until I confess it, it remains there. When I was five, I stole some gum or some such, in a corner store. I knew it was wrong, I felt guilty. My mother made me pay for it, apologize, and tell them I wouldn’t do it again. Pilate tried to wash his hands of the murder of Christ. But he couldn’t—water being a mere removal of the blood upon the knife. How interesting Pilate did this. He felt the stain upon him, and wanted to be freed of it, underscoring a universal truth. We all want our sins washed away.
A loving God knows that. The plan of salvation is simple, but complex. To summarize the genius of it, God sacrificed what was dearest to His heart, Jesus. He made Jesus to be sin for us, and put power in the blood. That shed blood is the compound that washes our sin white, as stark as snow. He alone can hear our confession, and remove not only the stain of, but the sin itself.
I can burn a document to make it disappear, but whatever was written thereon remains. When King Jehoiakim burned God’s scrolls in the hearth fire, God dictated a replica to Jeremiah, and then Baruch the scribe, and God added several more words to it the second time. (Jeremiah 36). My childhood diary is long gone, but God heard the words of a little girl’s heart on those pages; they remain in His heart.
If someone is murdered, God knows who and where, and exactly when. He is an avenging God, the Judge of all good and evil. When Cain murdered Abel, Abel’s blood cried out from the soil. (Genesis 4) God made Cain a fugitive and vagabond, though he did set a protective mark upon him, as well. The truth mixed with grace.
The Lord sorrows with those who sorrow for the truth. He may tarry, but He will not let unrequited sin go unpunished. He loves to forgive, but he wants people to live by the truth; these are partnered.
Truth comes around full circle, for it dwells eternal. Buried truth is not unknown to God. When Achan stole a Babylonian robe, two hundred pieces of silver and a gold bar worth fifty gold pieces from the spoils of Jericho, items God said belonged to Him, God revealed where Achan buried them, in his tent. Achan and his family were stoned for it, because he defied God right to His face. This was no small thing. It was brash disobedience, and put all of Israel in danger.
Locked up truth has chains that snap. Guards, barred doors, thick walls and ankle bracelets did nothing to stop the release the Paul and Silas in prison. They’d been singing praises to God for hours. And at midnight, God sent an angel to wake them up, and accompany them into the street, where they went free.
If man thinks truth can be altered, burned, forgotten, buried or locked up, he’s a fool.
I like the third verse of The Battle Hymn of the Republic: He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; he is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat; O be swift, my soul, to answer him; be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
Our country is not perfect. Some presidents have done things unbecoming of their stature. Perhaps Abraham Lincoln comes closest to having a pure heart. He was not without opposition, of course (though the Lord Himself had enemies). But Mr. Lincoln believed in sincerity of prayer, and working for a land free of enslaved thinking. In our house hangs this of his wise sayings, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”
“Be joyful always; pray continually.” ~1 Thessalonians 5: 16, 17
Happy July Fourth! We cannot celebrate a perfect nation. But we can celebrate God’s watch care of this nation, for two hundred and fifty one years. And delight in truth.
Rejoice. And pray often.
Is there something else you pray for our country?