Deuteronomy 6:3-12 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 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.’
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 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.
8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Caution Against Disobedience
10 “So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build,
11 houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full—
12 then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
I love America! Travel where you will, a great land.
-- The liberty, opportunity, and prosperity for us all.
--America - so much is right in it; yet a lot is wrong.
--We are wandering away from God. We have enemies.
--These times require right thinking, right living.
--And unity! It needs God's help! It needs our help!
Let's hear these words of Deuteronomy 6 again.
--"Fear the Lord your God .. keep His commandments .. that it may be well with you .. beware lest you forget the Lord .. You shall love the Lord your God..."
--As fresh and needful today for any nation as when Moses got them from God, and spoke them to Israel.
On this anniversary of independence, what can we do?
I. WE CAN PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRY. IT NEEDS PRAYERS.
--As we pray for a better America, we help better ourselves, our neighbors, and our world.
--Our founding fathers were people of prayer and faith.
--We can know the Lord, know how to pray, for America.
We need people of prayer, like Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and others - not afraid to pray.
--When the Continental Congress was divided, Ben Franklin stood up and called them to seek the wisdom, presence, and blessing of Almighty God - by prayer. --God answered their prayers. God has not changed! --Praying people laid solid foundations for America. --Prayer - we all need it. We all can do it.
God says, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land" (II Chronicles 7:14). A way that will work.
People of prayer formed the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights .. Pledge of Allegiance.
--These gave us liberty, but as Lincoln said, "not just to the people of this country, but hope to a world."
--In our home hangs Lincoln's words, "I like to see a man Proud of the place he lives; and lives so his place will be proud of him." Good citizens so live!
When Moses gave his sermon of Deuteronomy 6 to Israel, he was reminding the nation of the Ten Commandments in verses 1 and 2, "to keep all His commandments."
--"That you may do them." Obedience is its emphasis.
--In verses 10 to 14 Moses warns, "beware lest you forget the Lord." And "go after other gods."
--"For the Lord your God .. gave you the land, houses, cities .. all good things." By God's grace.
--"For the Lord your God is gracious."
In verse 3, "Hear .. and be careful to observe (obey), that it may be well with you .. as God has promised you, a land flowing with milk and honey."
--That may also be said of America!
--That is why so many, over the world, want to come to live here. America has its wrongs, but much is right.
Look at verse 5, not to be forgotten, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." Let's do it!
--This is what we all need to hear again and again.
--Our Lord Jesus, remember, quotes this as being greatest of all the Commandments in Mark 12:28:31.
--Jesus adds, "The second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."
--As God, let us take the word of Jesus seriously.
Let's not look to others, but how do we do on these?
--Do you and I "love the Lord our God .. with all our heart, and soul, and strength .. and our neighbor as ourselves?" To pray for others .. even our enemies.
--We have enemies, as 9/11/01, outside and inside.
--We have not done all we should, for God's blessing.
--Isn't now a good time to get back to God?
--To make a commitment .. a decision .. to obey Him?
Samuel the prophet said, "God forbid that I sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you" (I Sam. 12:23).
--For one another. For our nation. Our world.
--He cautions, "Only fear the Lord and serve Him, with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you" (v 24).
--Friend, what a debt we owe the Lord!
--Let's seek to repay, with a life devoted to prayer!
Have you read Washington's life? A fine churchman.
--Well-versed in the Bible. A man of much prayer.
--At an early age, he wrote his "Rules of Civility."
--Visit Mount Vernon.. Or go to Valley Forge, PA.
--Learn of suffering he and soldiers endured the winter of 1777-78; insufficient clothes, food, shoes.
--Washington wrote of bare feet bleeding in snow.
--But we see Washington, on his knees, praying.
America needs prayer today, like its founders prayed.
--It is one thing we all can do to help our country.
II. WE CAN LOVE AMERICA - AND SO LIVE TO IMPROVE IT.
--Our ancestors came seeking freedoms, and safety.
--One was the freedom of religion - not from religion.
--Freedom to worship - not to forget it, or God.
--They loved this land. Labored to build for us.
--Loved its opportunities to succeed, given to all.
--Loved its laws that were just. Its worship places.
--Loved the way differences should be settled - by ballots,,not bullets .. by doing right, not wrongs.
Why has God blessed America these many years?
--Because our forefathers loved God! Loved His Word!
--When a nation honors God, all are blessed.
--When it forgets the Lord, things do not go well.
--Once "a nation under God." Let's keep it so.
Dr. T.B. McDormand was a friend who headed Baptists in Canada, and as such traveled over it by train a lot.
--One long trip he got acquainted with a fine porter.
--One day the two walked through the coaches together.
--The porter picked up papers, tidying up on the way.
--"Are all these your coaches to keep? That's a lot."
--"0 no," the porter replied, "these are not all of my cars to keep - but this is my train! I love it; am glad to work to make it the finest, for all people."
--What a wonderful attitude that porter had!
Apply that attitude to America, my dear friend.
--It may not be "our car to keep," but is our country!
--Let's love it, and work to make it the best for all.
Love of the Lord, and love of country, go together.
--Moses proclaimed, "Hear, 0 Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one" (Deut. 6:4). One, true, living God! God is the translation of the plural, Hebrew, Elohim.
--Christians worship only one God-Father, Son, Spirit.
--The God of the Bible. Creator, Redeemer, Eternal.
--Deuteronmy teaches us of a "living God" (Dt. 5:26).
--A "merciful God" '(Dt. 4:31). A "faithful God" (7:4).
--A "great and awesome God is among you" (Dt. 7:21).
--The "eternal God" (Dt. 33:27).
--"No one like the God .. of the heavens to help" (Dt. 33:26). The God we all ought to be worshiping.
This is the God that Jesus came to reveal.
--To show us, in the flesh,. what God is really like.
--"Who dwelt among us .. lives within us .. died on a cross to save us .. arose, so we may live with Him."
So what shall we do? Follow Him, to improve ourself.
--And, as we do, America will be improved.
--To be worthy moreso, of God's essential blessings.
--To "love the Lord our God with all our heart .. soul .. and strength .. and our neighbor as ourself."
--It's the first time in any religion known where people are commanded to "love God and neighbor."
--This God, this Gospel, this Book, excel all others!
--Let's so live that America will be God's country!
God says to us, "Beware, lest you forget the Lord."
Alexander Grigolia, my seminary professor, fled from a communist-oppressed Russia. Told us his hardships.
--He loved the Lord, America, teaching - in that order.
--He never ceased thanking God for America!
--One thing we can all do - we can love our country.
Love of God, and love of country, should go together.
So many devote a love of prosperity, power, fame, and worldly pleasures .. with little time for God or country .. except for those of our armed forces and others.
--A few sacrifice so much for the many to enjoy.
--Remember, it is God who gives. Ours to live for Him.
All can love the Lord. Follow the Lord Jesus.
--Obey the Living God, and His commandments. Be sure.
--Make that decision. Commit your all to God.
--For a better life, nation!
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 298