by Raymond Houston
God established this nation under covenant with men and women who had promises from Him. In the preamble to the Constitution our founding fathers expressed their hope of this promise to “secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.” We have come to know more clearly and recognize the the hand of God in the founding of this nation. Those who came first at the risk of life and welfare were inspired by the desire to form a land where the God of creation could be worshipped freely and unhindered by government – a land where they could see the word of God fulfilled.
Not all of the people who came here would submit to the Lord. Many would turn their hearts from expressing gratitude to Him to praising themselves for their hard work. Some desired hard work made easy and the institution of slavery took force. These enslaved people were Blacks, birthed and blessed by God, but not qualified for the promises of the land.
In the midst of this godless institution, some who were inspired by the God of the covenant were keeping alive the promises for these people. A faithful few shared the word of God with the Blacks and hope was instilled. This new light in their souls was heard as they sang about their new found hope in God. Loud and clear was heard the cry of the founding fathers – Freedom!
The old Negro spirituals clearly tell us that the hope of this land had not died out and that even in the midst of the horrors of slavery God would show Himself again as the object of their hope. Controversy arose about teaching the Word of God to the slaves, but the Word prevailed and the God of creation was taught and hope in Jesus was sparked. Prayers were made both by the slaves who accepted Jesus as the answer to their dilemma and by others who knew that what was occurring was not the plan of God.
Prayers were answered and Blacks were freed, but that was just the beginning of their hope in Jesus. The majority of these freed slaves considered their release as coming from the hand of God. Now they had to learn to live as free men and women.
Today, most acknowledge that it was not man’s action that set the slaves free, but the Lord of mercy and grace. This same Jesus that intervened to bring freedom to the Blacks is also the One who intervened for the first settlers of this land. God moved sovereignly to bring the first white settlers to America, to keep them alive and instruct them in His ways. For the Blacks, He did a mighty move to do away with slavery. Now the hope of the land – freedom for ALL – could be actualized.
God has always had a greater purpose for America than just founding a nation where people could say, “Let freedom ring!” Some may even deny that there is freedom for all in America. However, there is no other nation that allows freedom of disagreement with the Constitution. In America today, it is loudly and clearly made known that a new generation has arisen that turns its back on the essence and substance of our freedom. The ability to behave in such a manner clearly demonstrates that freedom exists. But not all Americans who enjoy the blessings of liberty have forgotten the God of the American Covenant. We realize that God has been merciful on our nation and gratefully thank Him.
As a Black American, I have wrestled with the question: Do I have a rightful place in this country? Can I really feel that this new resurgence of love for our land and this new knowledge of its true beginnings have a place for me? I did not know how to interpret all of this. Then the Lord remind me of how my ancestors placed their hope in Him. It was Jesus about whom they sang – and they put their hope of deliverance in Him. He reminded me that many of my people had truly feared God and had been praying, placing their life in the hands of Jesus. It was Jesus who set my people free.
It was not the will of God for my ancestors to come to this land as slaves, but God prevailed as they put their trust in Him. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Now I see that there is no greater place on earth for me to be than in the United States. There is no greater opportunity to fulfill the destiny of this land than in the present. As God expects America to return to its original purpose, to be a place for the growth and spreading of the gospel, He is expecting me to include myself as one who is privileged to be a part of bringing about the true destiny of this land. God has released me from the trap of the enemy, thinking I could not have full participation in turning our country back to God.
God has not left any of us without hope. This whole country has the opportunity to fulfill God’s desire and be a springboard for the spreading of His word. Therefore we need to proclaim the release from the deception of the enemy that is designed to turn Blacks away from serving the God of power, love and mercy to serving themselves, which yields destruction. Let all of us not fail in sharing our nation’s inheritance of the good news of release from bondage into enjoying God’s blessings.