~* GOD OF OUR FATHERS *~
Daniel C. Roberts, 1841-1907

If my people,which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
II Chronicles 7:14

We need to be reminded that a nation can receive God's blessing only when He is recognized as ruler and Lord. Christian people in every land have an awesome responsibility--to be models of God's righteousness--"salt" and "light" for a sinful and hurting society. The moral strength of a nation rests upon the knees of God's people.

"God of Our Fathers" also reminds us that concerned citizens of the heavenly kingdom should also be involved citizens of their earthly kingdom. The hymn text was written in 1876, the year that America was preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Daniel Crane Roberts, a 35 year old preacher at a small church in Brandon, Vermont, felt that the country should have a new national hymn for the occasion. His new song was sung for the first time by the members of the Brandon Village church for their worship service on July 4th, 1876.

Later, at the time of the actual National Centennial Observance commemorating the adoption of the Constitution, Roberts' hymn text was chosen as the official hymn for the event. These words remind us well that the God Who has so richly blessed our land in the past is the One still needed to be "our ruler, guardian, guide, and stay".



God of our fathers, Whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide, and Stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.




Washington praying at Valley Forge drawn by Henry Brueckner
QUOTE:
While encamped on the banks of a river, Washington was approached by Delaware Indian chiefs who desired that their youth be trained in American schools. In Washington's response, he first told them that "Congress... will look on them as on their own children." That is, we would train their children as if they were our own. He then commended the chiefs for their decision:
You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention." According to George Washington, what students would learn in American schools "above all" was "the religion of Jesus Christ."

For much more on George Washington and the evidences of his strong faith, examine the following sources... George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, Publisher, 1838), Vol. XII, pp. 399-411.





"We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and have vainly imagined that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.
Portrait of Abraham Lincoln courtesy of the White House.

*For Today*: Exodus 3:15; Psalm 33:12; Proverbs 14:34

Breathe a prayer of thanks for the heritage of Christianity and for God's continued guidance of our land.

Music

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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