Today I'm going to present to you some thoughts as sort of a potpourri of spiritual lessons. A couple of short lessons, each having a spiritual point to them. I hope that you find them beneficial to your soul and my prayer is that they are in approval with God's Way.
As most of you know, my wife and I returned recently from a trip to Washington DC and, as we usually do, took some back roads and visited various parts of our country. One of the places we stopped, actually came upon it by accident as we were headed toward another historical site, was the "Flight 93 Memorial." Refreshing your memory, that was the airline flight that the passengers took over from the 9-11 hijackers and crashed it in the gentle rolling hills of Pennsylvania.
As we tuned off of the highway en route to the memorial I noticed a grove of freshly planted evergreen trees alongside the roadway. As we neared the actual memorial I observed several more groves being planted. I was to learn from the caretaker that this was the first part of what will eventually be 40 groves of 40 trees representing the 40 passengers and crew members who perished on Flight 93. There is a phrase there that reads "A common field one day. A field of honor forever."
I was reminded of another memorial consisting of a grove of trees honoring a group of people also killed by Muslim extremists. In 2005 in Madrid, Spain, terrorists set off a bomb in the train station killing 192 innocent people. Spain has planted a grove of 192 trees to represent those killed by the bombing and they've named it the "Forest Of The Absent."
Here's my spiritual tie in to the memorial trees of these two incidents - to their purpose for being planted in honor of something. There's a beautiful psalm written by David to the glory and honor of God and it's found in 1 Chron. 16. It was to be sung to the people and I can easily see this as a memorial to God. The entirety of the song is seen in verses 8 through 36 but I'd like to point out verse 33 for you to consider: "Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because He cometh to judge the earth."
My second short lesson sort of relates to what I said about the passing of time as three days from now, Lord willing, we'll celebrate the 4th of July, the day that our nation declared it's independence from England. Here's a few thoughts of mine regarding that occasion.
The first line of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence says that it's "self evident that all men are created equal." What I found interesting about that statement is, that those men who framed and wrote both the Declaration and the Constitution were wealthy individuals. Remember the times in which these documents were written: times of slavery and bondage.
They were actually times wherein many people were not seen as being equal with some others. Not only materially-wise, but in rank or social standing. Recall, there was no democratic nation anywhere then. They were governed by royalty. They certainly did not see the non-royalty class as being equal to them. And the framers of our nation were born and raised in this atmosphere. Yet, they started off by saying that "all men are created equal." I find that amazing.
How could that have occurred? Something this foreign to the thinking and mores of that day? Here's my humble opinion - God! The basis of my belief in this opinion: many documents and letters from those early days speak about their asking for God's guidance in creating this nation. The Dec. of Ind. even has these words written at the end of the declaration: that they "relied on the protection of Divine Providence" in their work.
One of those framers was Benjamin Franklin, an extraordinary individual. In a speech, relative to the establishment of the Constitution, he said these words: "The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God governs in the affairs of men."
There are many other examples that could be cited but time and space preclude the use of them. Back to my opinion: I firmly believe, that by their stated reliance in the direction of "Divine Providence - God" a nation, foreign in nature and commonly held beliefs, was established. One wherein "all are equal." No one has any more or any less rights than their fellow citizens. Am I the only one to see God's hand, His influence if you will, in this endeavor? I hope not.
Psalm 33:12 says "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord..." I believe that our nation started out having our God as our Lord, but I'm afraid that we have, as a nation, left Him. Remember from studies of the Old Testament how Israel was formed as a nation by God and was tremendously blessed by Him. Then recall how they, over a few generations of time, left him to pursue other gods? Do you remember what he said of them? How He referred to them as "a nation void of counsel?" (Deut. 32:28) Are we becoming a nation such as that?
Personally, I'm afraid that we are. It seems like every poll taken regarding Christianity or religious faith shows a smaller percentage of Americans that profess to believe in or follow God. As our nation turns from God it makes me wonder what gods it's turning to. My guess - that we're now "worshiping and serving the creature more than the Creator." (Rom. 1:25) And I think that we're rapidly becoming a "nation void of counsel."