Who was it that said the following:
"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God.
"We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
"It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."
I read this quote this morning and was most moved by it. The source of the quote, I think, would surprise most Americans. To all those who claim that our nation should remove God from its schools, from its courthouses, from all ways of public discourse, I think it would surprise these individuals that a President of the United States proclaimed this moving message.
Abraham Lincoln stated these words when he gave his Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer. The year was 1863 and the date was April 30. How far we have fallen as a nation!
How can we expect the God of this earth to continue to guide and aid a nation that decisively plucks Him from all essential passageways and conversations within that very nation? This nation was founded on Christianity, as much as some choose to ignore that fact.
What has triggered this rush of emotion for me? It's been none other than a year's long study of the Old Testament with my seminary class. How frightening it has been to see the consequences of these ancient people who went whore-mongering after the idolatrous ways of their day. (The prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Amos are some good ones to study along these lines.)
Remember how the Lord helped Moses and his people escape slavery in Egypt? Flash forward hundreds of years later and this same people were practicing infant sacrifice and other hideous practices. Did they get there overnight? Obviously not. So how did it happen? Little by little -- all starting with removing God from society's consciousness. (Partial birth abortion comes to mind as a modern day form of infant killing.)
This is why, now at the end of a year of study in the Old Testament and after finding today this quote from Abraham Lincoln, I am deeply sobered and troubled at the state of our nation. What can we as a people do about it? Read next week's article, "Remembering God and Making a Difference."
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