The Evidence Of Faith’s Substance ~ Greatest Threat to America
July 5, 2014
By Ed Croteau
Forgetting we must always defend Freedom
Leviticus 25:10 “You shall consecrate the 15th year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants.”
What are America’s values? Do we as a nation hold any ideals dear in our hearts? We probably don’t think about this much, but on this July 4th weekend, as we watch the turmoil erupting around the world as well as within our own borders, this week’s verse will help you identify one of America’s values that was the guiding value behind our yearly celebration on July 4th, which makes us the envy of the world - liberty.
If you’ve ever visited the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia, you’ll find Leviticus 25:10 inscribed on the Liberty Bell itself, placed there in 1751, 25 years before our famous Declaration of Independence, to commemorate William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges, Pennsylvania's original Constitution. Tradition tells of a chime that changed the world on July 8, 1776, with the Liberty Bell ringing out from the tower of Independence Hall summoning the citizens of Philadelphia to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.
Penn understood something that our founding fathers knew but many Americans today have forgotten – freedom is tied directly to our Christian roots in our faith as a nation in the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ. Freedom is distinctly an American ideal. And to hold freedom as a core value demands defending it.
As Father Dennis Edward O'Brien of the United States Marine Corp once famously explained, the very freedom we enjoy as Americans has come at the ultimate expense of the sacrifice of our soldiers as they have defended it: "It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the organizer, who gave us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag. And whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."
But there is a major problem with valuing freedom. It is hard – it requires personal responsibility and sacrifice. For example, Europeans value security over freedom. They give up personal freedoms in exchange of being taken care of by their government. And if we in America do not wake up, we will one day find ourselves at the same place.
But this is not an American problem – this is a human problem. If we carefully study our bibles, we see it is the natural tendency of people to want to be taken care of, even at the expense of their freedom. In the same book of Leviticus from which our verse this week was taken, God reminded the nation of Israel that He personally acted on their behalf when they cried out to Him in anguish over the bondage in Egypt: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.” (Leviticus 26:13)
Any yet, as God through Moses lead Israel out of bondage and into the freedom of following and trusting only in Him, how did they view their newly acquired freedom? When they discovered freedom is hard work, they wanted to go back to being taken care of by their cruel masters in Egypt: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water and our soul detests this worthless bread (Numbers 21:5)?”
This freedom God offers every one of us, on which our nation was founded, comes at a price – we must place personal security behind personal accountability and, as our founders proclaimed, trust not in our government to take care of us but in the Lord Jesus Christ, who has promised us that in Him freedom has been won for us at the Cross.
What frees each of us isn’t the ability to do what we want. It’s doing what we ought. It’s the foundation of righteousness that is the value system our great nation is built on – just look on any American coin and you’ll find it: “In God We Trust, Liberty, and one Nation under God.”
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.