Recently, I attended a Christian men’s conference. It was a wonderful experince that helped my Christian walk tremendously.
However, when the conference started, it opened not with a prayer, psalm or spiritual song, but the Star Spangled Banner, the United States’ National Anthem.
I will admit, I did not sing along or put my hand over my chest. I didn’t show any respect. I was too busy staring at everyone with my jaw on the floor. It would have been bad enough to venerate a nation when were supposed to be gathered to worship the Living God of all the earth, but to place such a thing before God? To have this before meeting with the Lord?
I am very grateful to God that He, in His mercy, arranged my dwelling place to be in this nation. For here there is always plenty to eat, and I am not physically abused or persecuted for my faith in Christ. I am obedient to my government only as much as commanded by the Lord, who says to obey the laws of the land, respect my leaders, and live in peace. I am a loyal citizen of only one Kingdom and one people, the Kingdom and people of God Most High. I am merely a pilgrim in America, pitching my tent here until the Lord bids me go elsewhere. I am a foriegner in a strange land no matter where I go on this earth.
It seems that there are many Christians living in the U.S. who believe the U.S. to be special, better than other lands in the eyes of God. Perhaps some believe it to be the “city on a hill” that many Puritan and Seperatists hoped it would be when they first settled in the New World. I am sad to say that none of this is true. The U.S. is not a “godly nation” and it never has been. Like every nation on the earth, it is filled with godless men who pervert the ways of righteousness and satisfy their evil desires, and only a small remnant have turned back to God and have been brought into the everlasting covenant with Christ Jesus.
Why do Christians in the U.S. believe it is good to glorify and honor America? Do we not say and sing “to God be the glory”, or “glory to God alone”? If so, why do we then give honor and praise to the United States, its leaders, its flag, or any such thing?
My church has a Fourth of July service each year. Every time we sing several songs in honor to the nation which do not mention the Lord our God. I feel grieved in my spirit every time it happens.
I see nothing wrong with thanking God for our country, or for placing us in it, or to pray for our leaders, that God would guide and handle them for His glory and His Kingdom. But to glorify the land itself, or the nation itself is little more than idolotry.
On a side note, I find it interesting that the National Anthem of the U.S. was once “America the Beautiful”, which not only mentions God but glorifies and thanks Him. Now it is replaced by a poem made song of an entierly secular nature. I wonder why there aren’t any Christian protests about that when there are so many over other things.
Bretheren, I am happy to be in the United States, but I would take up my house, as Abram did, and leave for foriegn lands should the Lord ask it. I would have trouble adjusting, I am certain, for I am still in the flesh, but I would be just as welcome and as foriegn there as here, for my God is King of Kings and is Lord of all the earth.
America exsits only because God wills it. For the time being, America serves the Lord’s purposes, willingly or unwillingly. The day may soon come however when the Lord no longer has need of America, and will bring it down just as He brought down all the nations and empires of old. America is not special, it is no different than Rome or Babylon or any other great empire or kingdom.
The only kingdom to be exalted is the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world. For if it had been, God would already have set it up here with power. (John 18:36) We are only pilgrims in this land, we are only passing through. Do not worship this land or the flag above it, for they shall pass.