Because I’m a historical biblical fiction author—and until I could find some eternal significance in our historical past, I saw no need to study it.
Guess what? Found it.
History’s Reach–Past, Present, and Future
I study the Bible because its history directly affects my present and my future. As opposed to studying as a kid: Indiana History, U.S. History, and/or World Civilizations–which seemed void of relevance. I can see the need for such knowledge now, but as a teenager I cared little about the sixteenth state, Pilgrims, and Vikings.
What Is Independence Day?
July 4th is the day on which our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence, a document debated, revised, and edited for two days after the decision was made. It was actually on July 2nd that a closed session of Congress voted to declare the United States independent from Great Britain.
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. 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. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”[Adams Family Papers. Massachusetts Historical Society. Retrieved June 28, 2009.]
Adams was spot-on about the pomp, parades, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, etc. He missed the date, however, and sadly he was also wrong about our country’s solemn acts of devotion to God.
Why Celebrate on July 4th?
As I pondered this magnificent oooops in history, I wondered why it happened. It didn’t take long to arrive at the answer.
Signing a paper publicly is far more memorable than making a decision privately.
Isn’t the same true of our spiritual lives?
“Those who accepted [Peter’s] message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.” Acts 2:41-43
- We are saved from sin through a private prayer of forgiveness, but baptism publicly declares our commitment to Jesus Christ.
- A private decision to trust in God’s promises is good, but when we step out in faith, publicly trusting God with every step, the whole Church bears witness to His faithfulness.
- The early Church realized the importance of community, fellowship, sharing their lives and their faith together.
The celebration on July 4th is about community. It’s about remembering that the leaders of the United States were publicly united under God’s direction in 1776. They debated and discussed behind closed doors and then displayed their unity on July 4th, when ALL signed the document.
Declaring Independence to be Dependent
I don’t remember my history books mentioning the faith of our forefathers. It’s a glaring absence since God is mentioned repeatedly in our national documents and in historical leaders’ personal diaries. When our forefathers declared independence from Great Britain, they didn’t plan to fight the war by human power alone. They intended to fight with God’s help!
Logic and reason said they were fools to “thumb their noses” at the most powerful country in the world. Odds were against them. But when those fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence, I believe they declared their dependence on God.
Our Declaration of Dependence
- Is an unhealthy relationship tying you up in knots?
- Does your job require more time, energy, commitment than is reasonable for your family’s well-being?
- Are you a slave to your habits or undisciplined lifestyle?
Declare this day the day you rely on Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life, your Best Friend, and the Provider of all your needs.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19
Begin today seeking His direction toward freedom, relying on Him to lead the way. Our hearts were designed for one Master with room for only one Lord on the throne.
- When fifty-six men signed that Declaration of Independence, they declared their dependence on God.
- Declare your independence from bondage and your dependence on the Lord.
- Our hearts were designed for one Master with room for only one Lord on the throne.
- Do you have a favorite July 4th tradition or memory?