In the LORD I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain”? For look! The wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow on the string, that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The LORD tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.
Psalms 11:1 – 7
Preparing for a very important election year in 2022 and again in 2024 has reminded me again why the Foundations of our Freedom need to be remembered and realized. I would like us to be prepared for decisions we will make as we are given the right and privilege to vote for future candidates and on issues that will affect our lives. That is one of the main reasons I want to write on the subject, The Foundations of Freedom.
Have you ever had someone, or a group of well-intended friends or families try to give you counsel based on their own bias? I have. How did it work out for you?
This is exactly what was happening with David. He makes a statement of his unshakable trust in the Lord as His refuge during times of challenge. Then it appears his “counselors” respond in panic with advice and support… their lack of faith is revealed in how they responded.
Let’s take a moment and see what is going on in this Psalm of David…Psalm 11:3 – 7.
The pivotal verse may very well be verse 3… “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Perhaps the best translation from the Hebrew and interpretation of this verse is done by Joseph Alexander in the classic three volume commentary, The Psalms: Translated and Explained; first published in 1850 and printed again by Baker Book House in 1975. On page 53 Alexander wrote…
The year was 1833. The place was the island of Jamaica, the Crown Colony of the British Empire. The issue was the abolition of slavery. Although the British considered Jamaica an important resource to their empire, their Parliament had voted to set the nation free. A date was set, and the island slaves waited for their freedom with great anticipation.
Finally, the morning came, and as the rays of the sun announced the day, across the Island could be heard the song, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, free at last.”
Likewise, there is a song of freedom at the heart of the American spirit. We are a nation founded upon the idea of Freedom.
Our Constitution declares we were established:
“To secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and those who would follow.” Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg address declared our nation to have been, “conceived in liberty”. Freedom and America are synonymous terms.
But true freedom never comes apart from God. Our Forefathers understood and acknowledged that vital truth. That is why when they establish this land, they made sure that America was built on solid foundations from the Word of God.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF OUR FREEDOM.
John 8:32 “And you will know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.”
A clear understanding of the truths of life, morality, honesty, and social order are best found in the Bible. The teachings of no other document more plainly describe the principles upon which nations build a civilized society.
These Biblical principles have come to be known as the Judeo-Christian Ethic. And although they are numerous and found throughout the Bible, we will look at seven of the most basic ones that have undoubtedly served as foundations for our great nation.
America’s Founding Fathers gave us the country’s founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and others. For them to form such documents, they had to lean upon some common understanding of law, government, social order, and a basic moral code. These understandings sprang from a common acceptance of what has come to be known as the Judeo-Christian Ethic. The term “Judeo-Christian” refers to “the influence of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament on one’s system of values, laws and ethical code.” It is not just a system of theological thought, but a culture of values as seen in one’s individual’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Some would argue that a few of our nation’s Founding Fathers were not Christians; some were Deists. Whether they were Christians or not, their writings, words and votes indicate that the vast majority of them embraced the Judeo-Christian Bible as the basis for a civilized society and social order. It is especially important during these days of rampant pluralism and situation ethics that we pastors (and our people) remember these same anchors of faith and values that are brought to us through the Word of God.
Although there are many biblical principles from which our Judeo-Christian values spring, I have selected seven biblical principles that seem to have the greatest relevance in America’s past and present. These “common sense” values provide moral balance in a seemingly unbalanced world.
Principle #1 – The Dignity and Sanctity of Human Life
Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder.”
Matt 22:39, “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The Scriptures emphatically teach the great importance of the respect and preservation of human life. In the Declaration of Independence, our nation’s Founding Fathers wrote that every man, woman, and child have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” We Americans not only believe this for our land, but we also send our brave men and women in our military forces across the world to defend the rights of those whose lives are threatened.
When we believe and understand that every human being has measureless worth that does away with bigotry, racism, self-centeredness and all the rest that goes along with it. If people and nations do not grant this respect and protection for the born and unborn, all other professed morals and values are meaningless, because they are no longer undergirded by the most basic of human needs—the need to exist. FACT: 79,817 abortions were performed in Florida in 2021.The dignity of human life is not just a principle of the Bible—it is the beginning principle of any civilized society.
Principle #2 – The Traditional Family
Genesis 2:21 – 24, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
The biblical view of marriage and family is the basis of our society and serves as the backbone of a healthy social order. The clear plan of God involves a man and a woman producing children within the institution of marriage. Since the joining together of Adam and Eve, marriage has been defined as a holy union between one man and one woman, and out of that union comes children born into a loving home with a father and a mother to nurture them and teach them how to become healthy, productive, and responsible citizens.
God instituted the traditional family defined as one man and one woman. If this marriage is blessed with children, those children have the rights to a godly and secure home with a dad and mom.
When God’s definition of “marriage” and “family” are no longer respected, these institutions become meaningless. World history has proven over and again that preserving the traditional family is vital to the future of any great nation.
Principle #3 – A National Work Ethic
2 Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”
Meaning that people should work for their own livelihood and the welfare of others. We are not to be dependent upon the government for our livelihood. Ingrained deep within the American spirit is the willingness and desire to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. This independent spirit has no desire to exist on handouts from the government or siphon off a living from benevolence or friendships. And it is this independent spirit that has allowed America to create the greatest and strongest economy in the history of the world.
True, Americans have had their challenges. The Great Depression of the 1930s knocked us to our knees, but it did not beat us. Americans, hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart helped one another and lifted our nation back to economic might.
The powers of the world may look at our nation and ask where this spirit of honest labor came from. Where did this work ethic originate in the American psyche? It came from the men and women before us who were raised to believe the principles of honest work found throughout the Word of God.
Principle #4 – The Right to A God-Centered Education
Deuteronomy 6:1 – 7, “Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you—“a land flowing with milk and honey.’ “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
We read in Proverbs 1:7 that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” One cannot possibly understand the creation without first knowing its Creator.
Our forefathers certainly understood this. For example, did you know that most of America’s oldest and most respected universities—such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth—were founded by Christian preachers or churches?
Harvard University, founded in 1636, adopted “Rules and Precepts” which included the following: “Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life.” The university’s original seal has upon it these words: “Truth for Christ and the Church.”
In addition, the first textbook for school children, The New England Primer, taught the ABCs to children by instructing them to memorize: “A—In Adam’s fall, we sinned all. B—Heaven to find, the Bible mind.”
This does not mean that all schools should be Christian, but it does mean the recognition of the Creator God.
Today’s youth are tomorrow’s future. Our nation’s first president, George Washington, reminded us of the importance of a God-centered education when he said, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle…it is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
Principle # 5 – Recognizing the Abrahamic Covenant
Genesis 12:1 – 3, “Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Galatians 3:7 “Therefore, know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.”
Psalms 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…”
The book of Genesis records the story of God coming to Abraham and making a covenant with him. Meaning that a Nation under God was a nation which was especially blessed above all the nations of the world.
The basis of this covenant was that, if Abraham would follow God in obedience to His laws and commandments, God would bless Abraham with generations of children that would outnumber the stars in the heavens (Gen. 15:5). Abraham believed God and obeyed His Word, and God rewarded him with a nation of people known as the Jews.
The Abrahamic Covenant states that if a person or a nation obeys God, observing the moral truths found in the Bible, that person or nation will be blessed. If they disobey, they will bring punishment upon themselves. For most of our nation’s history, Americans have accepted as fact that good deeds produced good results, that people who were “God-fearing” and respectable in language and lifestyle would be blessed by God. This fact has been proven to be true time and again. The writer of Proverbs tells it plainly, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
Principle #6 – Common Decency
Matthew 22:39 “The second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
Simply put, decent nations are made up of decent people who, when faced with a situation, would do the decent and honest thing. For the most part, this has been the experience of our national history. For example, Americans have given their lives in wars on foreign soil so that others might taste freedom. Americans have worked to feed the world’s poor and hungry, to clothe the naked and aid the crippled. Americans have opened their arms to many of the world’s oppressed peoples and allowed them safe harbor upon our shores.
Engraved on the pedestal on which stands the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor are these words by Emma Lazarus:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
A world-renowned symbol of freedom, this Statue reminds us all that America has indeed been, and continues to be today, a nation of common decency.
Principle #7 – Our Personal Accountability to God
Hebrews 9:27 “…it is appointed for men to die once but after this the judgment.”
Perhaps the greatest restraint for acts of evil against one’s fellow man is the realization that every person and every nation of people will one day give an account for their actions to Almighty God. Certainly, the Bible tells that we are responsible for our actions, and we will be held accountable for what we do or don’t do. Also, there is a penalty for doing wrong to our fellow man, and there is a blessing when we do that which is right, noble, and just.
The story is told of Daniel Webster, the great American statesman who was once asked, “What is the most sobering thought that ever entered your mind?” He quickly responded, “My personal accountability to God.” Daniel Webster knew that one day he would stand before God in eternity and give an account for his actions. The same applies to every man, woman, and nation.
The Founding Fathers knew that these and other principles of Scripture are essential for the preservation of our national freedom.
America has been blessed as a nation in a particular way. We are not a special people above all other nations—not at all—but God’s blessings have certainly been given to us, because for the greater part of our history, a greater part of our people have honored and obeyed the teachings of the Bible. What is true for us is true for all others who choose it, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Ps 33:12).
THE GREATEST FREEDOM OF ALL
Upon our coinage is stamped these words: “E PLURIBUS UNUM” It is Latin meaning: “From Many — One” America is nation of ones. For the “Land” to be free, the people must be free!
That is the message of the Gospel. Jesus told us the reason He had come into the world to set men free. Certainly, Christ is the greatest Freedom Fighter this world has ever known!
Galatians 5:1 (NIV), “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm…”
Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from law of sin and death.”
FREE from SIN…
Think about it… No longer do sin and the weight of sin control our lives. No longer are we controlled by the World, the Flesh and Devil. We become free to live our own lives for the very first time.
FREEDOM from DEATH…
Death no longer has control over us, for through Christ we have conquered Death, Hell, and the Grave.
Are you free today? I’m not talking about political or social freedom but spiritual freedom. Eternal freedom.
Have you been set free by Christ? You can make your eternal proclamation of Freedom today. Place your faith alone in Jesus Christ (The real foundation for freedom) and He will become your Savior. Allow Him to Set You Free!
Even if our country no longer holds to any or all the seven biblical principles that have the greatest relevance in America’s past and present, we can remain free in Christ!
Thank you to Dr. Richard Lee for information used in the preparation of this article.