"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain."
As I was pondering the upcoming July 4th celebration, I was reminded of how our country came into existence and the need for God that the Founders recognized they had in order to bring about a new country. Benjamin Franklin, at eighty-one years old, addressed the Constitutional Convention in 1787 as they were struggling to write the Constitution of the United States in Philadelphia. These are his words, "In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor Have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?"
Sometimes in our country and in the midst of all of our progress, we forget that we have a need for God and His providential care and guidance. We forget that we would not be here were it not for God. Those attending and participating in the Constitutional Convention needed to be reminded that they needed Divine intervention and guidance because without it the Constitution and the beginning of a new nation would all be in vain.
Franklin went on to say, "I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this" These words to the Constitutional Convention helped to refocus the participants and authors of the Constitution to remember that they were mere mortals who were in need of God and His wisdom and guidance.
Today, as we celebrate our independence as a nation, we also need to be reminded of our continuing need for God. Unless the Lord builds the house, the family, the nation, they labor in vain who build it. We need the Lord more than ever today. There are so many conflicting ways that people desire to live. There are so many varied moral standards that truly we live in an almost anything goes culture. As believers in Christ, we are not to get caught up in that but rather to continue to recognize our need for Him in our lives. We need His wisdom, His Spirit, His fellowship in our lives in order to help us to keep our perspective, our focus on the things that are truly righteous. Let's be careful that we allow Christ to be the architect of our very lives so that we can live on the most solid foundation that exists.
Rev. Laura P. Skiba is the pastor at North Star United Methodist Church.
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