Happiness and the Law


July 4th

The joke is told about an officer in a police helicopter who spotted a car speeding down the Interstate. He radioed his partner on the ground and the patrol officer in the car stopped the speeder and began writing a citation.
“How in the world did you know I was speeding?” the man asked.
The patrol officer didn’t say anything but pointed skyward.
“Aww,” the man moaned. “You mean, He’s turned against me, too?”

The speeder wasn’t happy, thinking that the police wasn’t the only authority out to punish him. His conscience bothered him for he knew there was a Higher Power to whom he must answer for breaking the law.

This scene brings to mind the proverb that says, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law,” (Prov. 29:18, New American Standard Bible, NASB).

Another word for “vision” is “revelation.” God’s Law was divinely revealed through Moses who recorded it when he was leading Israel to the Promised Land. It is outlined in what is called, “The Ten Commandments,” (Exodus 20:1-17; 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13). Without his Law, there would be no restraint in a civilized society. And without restraint, there is no order.

Sadly, some believe that we do not need God and his Laws of order in our society. They assert their belief on the words, “wall of separation of church and state.” Besides what they’ve already done to take God out of public institutions and property, they would also like to abolish words like, “In God we trust,” from our money, and “So help me, God” from oaths stated in Congress.

Just the talk of these issues cause strife and anxiety among many.

Of great significance regarding our legal system is that the Hebrew-inscribed Ten Commandments held by Moses are sculpted on the Supreme Court building. Not surprisingly, there are some who are trying to have this removed, too. Just think of it: The Supreme Court of our land without a visible reminder of the Supreme Laws of God to guide and direct the ones who make landmark decisions according to their own interpretation of the laws by which we live.

While most persons will agree that something just doesn’t seem right in all of this, others insist they are justified for removing God from our laws and institutions. Unfortunately, this situation is created because many do not understand what “wall of separation of church and state” truly means.

Here is a simple explanation from a Time.com article updated January 16, 2018, written by James Lankford, Senator from Oklahoma, and Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. An excerpt from the article titled, “The Real Meaning of the Separation of Church and State” says,

Jefferson’s famous phrase came in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut. The Baptists were worried about the freedom to practice their faith, writing to Jefferson, “what religious privileges we enjoy, we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights,” which is “inconsistent with the rights of freemen.”

Jefferson wrote back that religious liberty, free from state tampering, would be a key part of the American vision. The Constitution, he wrote, would “restore to man all his natural rights.” In this same letter, Jefferson explained the intent of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution, which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This, he said, built a “wall of separation of church and state.”

Jefferson was not suggesting that religious people or religious motivations should be exiled from public debate. As a matter of fact, the letter was from a religious people appealing to an elected official for their rights — an elected official who, by the way, attended church services during his administration inside the United States Capitol. http://time.com/5103677/church-state-separation-religious-freedom/

We understand, therefore, that God’s Law was never meant to be kept separate from our government and the constitution. In fact, it’s because of respect and obedience of God’s Law that our nation was formed. Our founding fathers knew, for example, that without God we could not enjoy the freedom he has given to us—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, along with basic human rights. They knew that without God’s Law our country would inevitably suffer from unrestrained chaos and disorder that would prohibit such freedom and bring on oppression and tyranny.

Here’s what a few of them said:

  • “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” [Alexander Hamilton, “The Farmer Refuted”, February 5, 1775]
  • “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” [JOHN ADAMS, Signer of the Declaration of Independence; One of Two Signers of the Bill of Rights; Second President of the United States]
  • “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” [THOMAS JEFFERSON, Signer and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence; Third President of the United States]
  • “Righteousness alone can exalt [America] as a nation. Reader! Whoever thou art, remember this; and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others…[T]he great pillars of all government and of social life: I mean virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible.” [PATRICK HENRY, Patriot and Statesman]

The Declaration of Independence, signed by our nation’s founders, recognizes God and his Law. They referred to the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God—in other words, Laws of a higher, divine order—”…endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…”

When Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence and inserted, “Laws of Nature,” and “Nature’s God” he was referring to God’s Law, founded in God’s Word. But where did Jefferson get these now-famous words?

It is pointed out that Jefferson was a student of Lord Bolingbroke, an English politician, government official, and political philosopher. According to Lord Bolingbroke the Law of Nature’s God is the Law which is found upon God’s Word. Bolingbroke reportedly wrote to English Poet, Alexander Pope, saying,

“You will find that it is the modest, not the presumptuous enquirer, who makes a real, and safe progress in the discovery of divine truths. One follows nature, and nature’s God; that is, he follows God in his works, and in his word.” (article by Bill Fortenberry, “What is the Law of Nature’s God?” The Federalist Papers, Current Events, 4/6/2013. https://thefederalistpapers.org/current-events/what-is-the-law-of-natures-god)

Those who would try to erase God and his Law from our American system are fools. They reject our historical foundation—a foundation based on the moral and spiritual instructions of God’s Word. Without it, we have no liberty. Freedom is lost.

As the wise man wrote, “Happy is he who keeps the law.” When the Law of God was given to Moses, the key to blessings was revealed. Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.”

If wonderful blessings are granted to God’s chosen inheritance, Israel, then think of the blessings our nation will enjoy if all Americans follow those same principles, too! We, likewise, will be happy as a nation enjoying power, prosperity, and protection “under God.”

Have a happy Independence Day to all fellow Americans!
Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

P.S. You’ve heard the song, “America the Beautiful.” But you’re probably only familiar with the first verse. Here’s the song presented by Twila Paris with other verses that are also inspiring. Notice, especially, the verse that has the words, “America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law!”   

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