And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord ... And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord ... So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them .... Judges 2:11a, 12, 13a, 14a
Somebody at NBC made a decision. Showing children reciting the "Pledge of Allegiance," a decision was made to remove the words "under God" from the patriotic video that was shown during its coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament on June 19th.
Viewers went ballistic. Before the program was over, NBC offered an apology. It said the edit was not done "to upset anyone." Then the network added, "We'd like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it."
As many of our Daily Devotion readers celebrate America's birthday, I want to go on record as saying that was a lousy apology.
· It was lousy because it doesn't say why ANYBODY at NBC felt they had a right to edit ANY part of the Pledge. Congress -- having both the right and authority -- hasn't made any modifications since 1954.
· It was a lousy apology because it didn't explain why the words "UNDER GOD" seemed to be fair game for the editor.
· It was a lousy apology because there was no admission of error. Read carefully. NBC didn't say: "We were wrong and we're sorry." Instead of a confession, NBC said, "We're sorry YOU got upset." There is a difference.
In contrast to NBC's editorial declaration of independence from the Lord, I suggest it is time for Christians to come together in confession.
And what shall we confess? We need to confess that it is the Lord who has brought us and this nation to this point in time. It is time for us to confess that far too often we have wrongly taken the credit for our nation's bounty and successes. It is time for us to confess that the Lord has blessed America for a purpose -- and that purpose is to serve Him.
We dare not follow the route that an editor at NBC suggested; we should not walk in the footsteps of the Children of Israel who, as the passage above reminds us, "did what was evil ... and abandoned the Lord." Scripture records God's punishment of their disobedience, and history shows what happens to other nations that forget God's bountiful hand.
Which is why, on Independence Day, let us give thanks the Lord has, by His bounty, given us earthly freedom and through His risen Son's blood freed us from the tyranny of sin, death and the devil.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we cannot say exactly why You have and continue to bless our nation. We do know that we have often failed to acknowledge Your manifold temporal gifts. For these shortcomings we ask Your forgiveness. Now we pray that our country and our citizenry may acknowledge You from whom all blessings flow. In the Name of our greatest Blessing, the Savior, Jesus, I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries