God Bless America, America Bless God

 

Will God bless America, if America does not bless God?

 

By Don Ruhl

 

Irving Berlin introduced a prayer by saying,

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

Then he gave this prayer,

God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains To the prairies,
To the ocean white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

The original version was written during the summer of 1918 at Camp Upton, located in Yaphank, Long Island, for a show called Yip, Yip, Yaphank that Berlin was writing.

He tucked away the prayer until 1938, when in the fall of that year, Berlin decided to write a song about peace. Recalling his prayer from twenty years before, after altering parts, it was introduced on November 11, 1938 by Kate Smith.

God Bless America

How good it is to see “God bless America” everywhere in America. The song has always been special, but since September 11, 2001 it has increased in its endearment and so the title has been seen increasingly.

If God did not bless America, during the night of troubles, as the song implies, our nation would cease to exist. Another popular song reminds America, “America! America! God shed His grace on thee,” which is true because grace is unmerited favor. If you know the demands of a righteous God, and the spiritual state of America, but you also know the favorable conditions in America, you have to conclude that God sheds His grace on America daily, even as He does the rest of the world. Perhaps we are receiving more, because we have songs like these in which Americans acknowledge Him from whom all blessings flow.

Think with me of the ways in which God blesses America and how we want Him to continue to bless America.

According to Acts 14, God is responsible for the food of America. This is why many Americans give thanks before meals and why we have a special day on the fourth Thursday of November, called Thanksgiving. Paul explained to a group of people who were about to worship him that they should not do it,

But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, [including nations such as America, as seen in the next verse] who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us [America and other nations] rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:14–17).

Can you see that America or any nation is included in what Paul said?

Daniel 4 teaches that God is responsible for the government of America, even down to who is president. God showed a ruler that he was king because God made that man king. King Nebuchadnezzar thought that his government and his glory were of his own doing. So God made the king suffer, until he learned something. Thus, the prophet told the king the length of the time of suffering.

This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know [Are you living? Then here is something God wants you to know] That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men [such as the United States of America], Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men (Dan. 4:17).

Do you think the words of Daniel apply to Babylon alone? They certainly would be true of Israel, but Babylon was far more anti-God than we imagine America being. Therefore, these words are true for the land we love.

Jeremiah 18 reveals that God is responsible for the prosperity or adversity of America. However, listen to these words carefully, because they will lead us into the second half of my article, which is the second half of the article title.

The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it (Jer. 18:7–10).

All these things are why we sing,

God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains To the prairies,
To the ocean white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

This is why we say in the Pledge of Allegiance, “One nation under God.” “What does this mean? It means that we have this land, this flag, this government as a gift from the Great God Almighty. It means that this did not become ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’ by blind fate or a happy set of coincidences, but that a wise and benevolent God was hovering over us from the very hour of conception…and long before” (“Which Way, America?” The Rebirth of America, p. 228).

Therefore, we say, “God bless America,” meaning that He has blessed America and, God, please continue to bless America. For everything to continue to be as I have shown you from Scripture, and as was taught in Jeremiah 18, there is another truth that cannot be forgotten.

America Bless God 

People often say that God loves unconditionally, that He gives grace unconditionally, that He blesses unconditionally. There is a measure of truth to these, but there is also a measure of falsehood. If all God’s blessings were unconditional, no one would be lost, no nation would ever be destroyed. Yes, God gives love, grace and blessings first, before we bless Him, and in that sense they are unconditional, but He expects something in return. If He does not see it, He will cease to bless. This is why it is not only critical to the health of any nation, including America, to acknowledge that God blesses America, but that then America or any nation, bless God.

Deuteronomy 8 was spoken to Israel, but you will see that what was true for Israel is also true for America.

“When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you…And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God” (Deut. 8:10, 18, 20).

Do you say to yourself that this passage only applied to ancient Israel? Do you say to yourself that it is Old Testament and does not apply to us? If so, look at verse 20 again, which is the last sentence in the quote above. That verse shows that what God demanded of Israel, He also demands of other nations. The whole chapter sounds like America, so indeed God must be thinking those thoughts about us!

There are two verses in the Psalms, that make a deep impression upon our souls. If Deuteronomy 8 is too much to remember, store these passages in your heart.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance
(Ps. 33:12).

Happy are the people who are in such a state;
Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!
(Ps. 144:15).

Whenever Americans say, “God bless America,” America is indeed blessing God. That is good. Let it be backed up with godliness. Powerful forces seek to keep America from blessing God. The Bible was once used as a textbook in schools. Prayer is no longer allowed in schools. There have been attempts to keep the Pledge of Allegiance from the schools. There is an attempt to remove our national motto, “In God We Trust.” In short, major forces seek to keep God out of daily public American government life.

What Are We Doing to Bless God as Americans? 

Are you even a Christian? Do you know that being a Christian is far more important than being an American? America shall perish, but the Kingdom composed of Christians “…shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom [of God] shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44). Becoming a Christian is the best thing that you can do for America, for then you will be the salt of America and the light of the land we love.

Don Ruhl has been preaching since 1980, starting in Long Beach, California, then Klamath Falls, Oregon and since October 2002, he has been preaching with the Savage Street Church of Christ, 220 NE Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon 97526-1310, 541-476-3100, Rdruhl@aol.com

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3 thoughts on “God Bless America, America Bless God

  1. Don,

    You say, “Will God bless America, if America does not bless God?”.

    As usual you think and use Bible patterns in your studies and teaching.

    The Bible pattern above is called “chiasmus” (God bless America – America bless God) reading the same backwards as forward. Find other Bible examples by going to http://www.biblelimericks.com, and entering “chiasmus” in the Search Box.

    Keep on preaching and teaching God’s word.

    Jim

    Philippians 1: 6

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