I was fascinated with all the festivities surrounding the inauguration and the amazing traditions associated with it. Beginning the day with a traditional prayer service and sermon was quite encouraging. I was also moved by the fact that the oaths of office are still administered with one’s left hand on a Bible (the Bible used by V. P. Pence’s was opened to 2 Chronicles 7:14), and the exercise concluding with “so help me God.”
In the brief time that I watched the events, I heard no less than eight prayers, and all but two concluded with “In Jesus’ name.” I’m very thankful that Jesus was mentioned on multiple occasions, that the Scriptures were cited numerous times, and for the sense of our nation’s historic Judeo-Christian roots being valued.
On a side note, I was encouraged that the President shifted his narrative to make it clear that this nation is “the people’s” not the aristocrats’. My heart is filled with gratitude to be a citizen of such a nation.
But, I want to go on record to say, regardless of who is saying it, that something nags at me each time I hear, “We are going to make America great again.” Here’s why:
Only God can make a nation great.
It’s more important that we make God great again.
Greatness is not what most people think it is.
Only God Can Make a Nation Great
“He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.”
The problem with anyone or any group of people thinking they can make a nation great is really no different than anyone thinking they can make any institution or organization great…including ministries. God is providential and sovereign in all His ways. Even if we assemble the smartest and most political savvy leaders on earth, God still gives them their smarts and, frankly, their next breath. It is ludicrous to declare we can make an entire nation of over 300 million people great.
It Is More Important We Make God Great Again!
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…. Psalm 33:12 (ESV)
What joy for the nation whose God is the LORD…. Psalm 33:12 (NLT)
The greatest problem in our culture is the lack of elevating God to His rightful position as Lord. What is true on an individual level is true on a national scope. When we submit to the Lordship of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit takes hold. I love the NLT translation: “What joy for the nation….” It parallels Proverbs 29:2 (ESV): “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice….”
What was missing from our President’s lips in his inaugural address was any recognition that we want a nation that brings glory to God instead of glory to itself. Or any public recognition that we are under a Supreme Authority. This kind of attitude is a sure way to self-destruction. The fall of nations begins with the rise of self-exaltation. Pride.
Greatness Is Not What Most People Think It Is
Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
…Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.
I just finished reading an article that declared the New England Patriots and Tom Brady as the “greatest” team and quarterback in the history of football. They may not be the most liked, conciliatory, or giving. Nor would many say they are the most moral. But, it does not seem to matter because the world around us defines greatness purely in terms of winning. They believe being more powerful and wealthy defines human success. But not so in God’s eyes. He may or may not allow physical peace, prosperity, and power, but He promises something more…spiritual peace, prosperity, and power by growing “in wisdom, and in stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52, ESV). It must be in that order. God and then man.
…what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God.