Never before in history has our sense of national pride been at a lower ebb! Why? What has happened to cause the pride of our power to be broken?
With the strains of the stirring national anthem vainly fighting the bedlam on the floor, some of America’s foremost leaders jousted each other, shouted greetings, or discussed tactics as the opening session of a great political convention got under way.
Thousands of lights winked through the rising clouds of smoke in the huge Sports Arena as the giant building reverberated with the throes of the opening session of the Democratic National Convention. As a gaily uniformed band rose, struck up the tune of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” there was a barely noticeable lessening of the continuous din of hundreds of human voices.
These men, who were too busy to pay any attention to the very symbol of everything that is “American,” our national anthem, were committed to select from their ranks a man they hoped would hold the highest office in the political world. They had assembled to choose a candidate for the Presidency of the United States.
Several years ago The Rock Hill Herald, Rock Hill, South Carolina wrote: “We find that patriotism in the United States is at an even lower ebb than we had thought. At the opening of the national convention, the national anthem was played. Most of the delegates stood. Many others didn’t bother to stop talking or running up and down the aisles. It’s bad enough when fight fans are either too lazy or unpatriotic to honor the National Anthem, but when delegates to a national convention, assembled to select a candidate for the highest office in the land, can’t stop long enough to respect the national anthem, it is a frightening example of how far the nation’s spirit of patriotism has slipped.” Think of it!
Perhaps this seems like a minor occurrence, and yet, when you realize its great significance the great cause for which these men were assembled, then it is truly shocking.
Time was when the citizen felt a tingle of emotion go up and down his spine as he sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” or saluted the flag. Time was when the nation found itself in peril, and nothing else mattered. No sacrifice, even of life itself, was too great to make for the honor of our country. But things are different now.
But why has our patriotism slipped? Why is a real, fervent sense of national pride, a feeling of thankfulness for the freedoms, the liberties, the wonderful opportunities of a free people, why is this emotion so little in evidence? Because our peoples are under a curse!
Why are we losing our sense of national pride? Because God knew we would, He said we would, long ago! Little do most realize that there is a God in heaven who is about to take a hand in world affairs, to intervene in the course of nations here below.
The Great God is the One who had given us our national inheritances! It was He who led our peoples to the choicest places on earth, gave us every good and bountiful blessing!
Our peoples are enjoying the very national inheritances promised to the seed of Abraham! (Send for our FREE DVD series, “The Blessings of Abraham”)Today, we find ourselves living in a nation glutting itself on its own fat, bloated prosperity filled with apathy, public lethargy, and a sleepy-eyed unconcern! Adlai Stevenson once said, “If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick.”
God said this would happen! “And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof, but when you entered, you defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination” (Jer. 2:7).God says as our national prosperity would increase, so would our sins be multiplied!
Today, instead of the lustful, greedy and altogether selfish personal aspirations of the individual being swallowed up in the great national purpose, and the goals of the nation as a whole, we observe nothing but complete selfishness and a disregard for the purposes of the nation as a unit! As our prosperity has increased, we have become more and more self-centered, less and less concerned with our neighbors and our fellow citizens!
God indicts us for our mounting crimes, our great, heinous sins that are bringing upon us every evil! There are no peoples on earth that have more for which to be thankful, more for which to be everlastingly grateful to their God and , ironically, there are no peoples on earth who could seem to care less!
On a bright, brisk, sunshiny morning in Pasadena, more than one million people were jam-packed in the stands and the buildings, or standing on the streets, along the route which was to be taken by the annual New Year’s Rose Parade!
It was a stirring moment when the U.S. Marine Corps band struck up a lively marching tune, and, at the shrill whistle of the leader, dozens of beautifully marched palomino horses, neatly lined in rows of four, began majestically stepping along the parade route. Each rider, brilliant in gaudy costuming, carried proudly the fluttering stars and stripes of the United States.
Along the parade route, thousands were too cold or too tired to stand, while children played, others talked, took pictures, or munched unconcernedly on stale popcorn. Here and there a few rose to their feet, and a policeman saluted.
What a spectacle it was, to witness thousands of Americans too wrapped up in their own personal comforts to pay homage to the symbol of the freedom they enjoyed!
We are a lawless, rebellious nation! We are a people heedless of constituted authority! Just as American women want the word “obey” taken out of the marriage ceremony, so thousands of religionists want the words’ “law” stripped from the Bible!
But God thunders at us, “Hear, oh earth, behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to My Law, but rejected it” (Jer. 6:19)!
Yes, we are a lawless people. We are a rebellious, stiff-necked, resentful, despiteful, heedless, selfish, apathetic generation of thankless dolts!
Former Senator Mike Mansfield likens our sickness of spirit, our “don’t care” attitude to the decadence of Rome. Just as ancient Romans wanted nothing but entertainment and were no longer concerned with the over-all goals of the nation as a whole, so have our people descended into lazy gluttony. He went on to say, “We are sluggish, apathetic, undisciplined, smug and defensive.”
God prophesied that our national spirit would decay, that we would become defensive, self-concerned, and fearful. “If you will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments (many of us want to think God has abolished His laws) and if ye shall despise my statutes I will also do this unto you. I will break the pride of your power” (Lev. 26:14-19)?
It has already happened! When was the pride of our power broken? About 60 years ago. Actually, since the termination of World War II, there has been a tangible, rapid decline in national spirit. Public officials, alarmed over these trends, have been speaking out against them. Journalists have increasingly been publishing series of articles on early American History, on a sense of National Purpose, but seemingly to no avail. Even delegates to our political conventions seem to care less!
We cannot seem to become aroused by the indignities suffered by our private citizens and our political emissaries around the world; we can’t seem to become disturbed by international “incidents” which are direct slaps in the face to free men everywhere! Just look at the facts!
Several years ago, Gene Symonds, a photographer for a top news magazine in this country, was brutally beaten and left dead by a mob of rabid Red Chinese in the streets of Singapore. American citizens have been seized, thrown into prisons, American planes hijacked, flown into buildings, and for a while people seems to care, but that didn’t last long. Soon after, it was business as usual.
American newspapermen, journalists, pilots, soldiers and private citizens are slapped, beaten, kicked, spit upon, perhaps even murdered in some countries. Our Presidents have been publicly insulted, our Vice-President spit upon.
Prior to World War I this nation had pride in its power. That power was but a fraction of what the nation actually possesses today.
Years ago Kaiser Wilhelm sent a German battleship steaming into Manila Bay to take the Philippines for Germany, President Theodore Roosevelt sent him one short, curt note, telling him to order his battleship immediately back to Germany. The Kaiser ignored the President’s demand. It was a slap in the face. What happened? Plenty!
President Roosevelt sent one more note. This note was not addressed to the Kaiser. It ordered Admiral Dewey to send the entire U.S. Fleet after that German battleship, and if it did not turn around and steam back to Germany, to open fire and sink it.
The United States had pride in its power in those days. No nation, king, or ruler insulted the United States or its President and got away with it. Nor did American citizens or office holders apologize for America’s power and strength.
But what happened with these past attacks on American citizens, did the Pacific Fleet show up offshore Japan, did squadrons of thundering jets fill the sky with an ear-piercing shriek over the serpentine, writhing mobs of up-start students in the streets of Tokyo? Did a big, bristling American battleship pull into port of Cuba, with its sixteen-inch guns plainly trained on Castro’s headquarters? Did hundreds of jet bombers roar overhead? Did convoys of U. S. Marines land to protect our property, our dignity and the lives of our citizens? What happened when our own Vice-President was spit upon? What happened when Gene Symonds was murdered in Singapore?
What happened when unarmed planes were shot down in the waters near the China coast, when American citizens were kidnapped, their planes hijacked. When American soldiers were beaten and slapped in the Congo, when Americans were kidnapped in Iran? What happened? Did U.S. Marines show up in force, demonstrating clearly to the whole world there is no nation on earth today that can get away with such vile acts?
The answer is “NOTHING.” As God foretold in your Bible, the pride of our power has been broken!
In the midst of this material wealth, life somehow has lost purpose and meaning. We have become selfish, fat, conceited, soft and lazy. Where once we were doers, we are now viewers. Where once we fought for freedom and democracy, we now take it for granted – or, even worse, ignore it. The fact is, we have no purpose.
We seemingly fail to be disturbed or aroused over things which occur out side of the immediate realm of our own personal lusts, desires and aspirations! Our way of life is leaving us with a great, gluttonous hangover! We have no driving, energizing sense of mission, of a goal ahead! We are not “on fire” with an idea anymore, not inspired, we can’t seem to be stirred up about anything!
Just as your Bible prophesied, we have lost our national pride! Because of a senseless, meaningless, sin-filled way of life that leaves us flat, with no real sense of accomplishments, we are drifting into a dangerous “don’t care” attitude. We feel empty, purposeless, without any real goals to accomplish!
There is only one goal that is really worthwhile in this life, only one really great purpose! That purpose was outlined by Jesus Christ. It is explained by the Gospel which He brought from the Father.
Christ brought the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, the time of world government from God Himself that is just around the corner! He taught and trained His disciples, commissioning them to preach this dynamic, living, vital message to the whole world. It is a message with a purpose. There is a sense of mission involved. There is a great goal to be accomplished!
That goal supersedes and transcends personal aspirations! It is a goal outside and beyond any personal selfishness! That goal is a far greater one than mere freedom. It is far greater than any political ideology, any public reform, and “religious” movement!
Christ described that goal when He said, “And he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers, even as I received of my Father” (Rev. 2:26-27). Christ said you could become a joint-ruler with Him! He meant it! Literally! He meant you can tell the leaders of this modern world what to do. That is the real goal!
Paul told the Gentiles, “Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners (from every nation, color, and race) but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19). We can become citizens of the Kingdom of God, now!
But Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). He used the word “cosmos,” meaning the present system. His kingdom is yet to be set up here below; it is to come from heaven! Paul wrote: “For our citizenship (margin) is in (from) heaven, from whence we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). Think of it!
By real repentance of our sins, by being baptized, according to God’s prior conditions, and by receiving God’s Holy Spirit, we become citizens of the coming, WORLD-RULING, KINGDOM OF GOD.
It is not an earthly, competitive kingdom, a social reform, a new religious movement to make this world a better place in which to live! It is not a church on this earth; it is not just another nation on this earth, but the real, dynamic, Family of Almighty God!
It is only when we come to find the very purpose in human life, when we can be lifted above the carnal, selfish, lustful personal goals, and can begin to fulfill that purpose, that we will come to have a real sense of mission. We will then begin to know the meaning of a really deep sense of patriotism!
As citizens of the heavenly kingdom, we will be conducting ourselves in a totally different manner in this society! “Wherefore, by beloved, as ye have always obeyed work out your own salvation with fear and trembling that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:12-15). There is the true patriotism!
It is the quickening, pulsating, heart stirring devotion to the greatest cause on earth! It’s belonging to the winning team. It’s knowing the triumph of being a part of the greatest nation in all history, the very nation of God!
It is the very love of the Father, the driving, energetic, enthusiastic, zealous spirit of one who is striving diligently toward the greatest goal ever set before mankind, inheritance of eternal life and the whole world.