Today, I had to make a decision. A very consequential one, or it may be that I am over dramatic in analyzing the decision.
I was in line at the wonderful Tuscaloosa County License Department to renew the license plate of my wife’s car as well as my own, albeit I’m 5 months behind in renewing them but that is beside the point. So, after paying the taxes and the late fees, the young gentlemen asked a simple question while pointing to two different pictures:
“Which of these two plates which you like to have on your car?”
I glanced at the pictures only for a few brief seconds. One picture was of a nice lake or pond showing the beauty of the state of Alabama and it also included some hills in the background, possibly symbolizing the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Picturesque to say the least. While the other one was quite bland, having a white background with the American Flag somewhat visible at the top and with bold letters draped at the bottom, it read “God Bless America.”
You can see the dilemma. Pretty plate or patriotic plate? I went with my gut and decided on the original God Bless America one. Walked out, pleased with my decision, still contemplating the phrase so boldly put onto the metal.
As I was driving, I kept coming back to the famous slogan and the meaning behind it all. We sing a song about it, put it on t-shirts, posters, yard signs, and the backs of our cars. But as I thought about it even more, I came to the realization that it’s not a patriotic thing, it’s a Christian thing. This is one man’s opinion which he came to while driving a 15 minute drive. Why a Christian thing? I am reminded of scripture found in the Hebrew letter:
For when God made the promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” (Heb. 6:13-14)
And in Acts 3:26
For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.
We see that in the Hebrew letter, God blessed Abraham and all who followed after him and he uses that as an example, which leads the writer to Christ. It is Christ who is our true blessing. Our anchor and our hope set before us.
And in the passage of Acts, we see that blessing. Albert Barnes states it well:
The design of Peter in these remarks was to show them that the Messiah had come, and that now they might look for happiness, pardon, and mercy through him. As the Jews might, so may all; and as Jesus while living sought to turn away men from their sins, so he does still, and still designs to bless all nations by the gospel which he had himself preached, and to establish which died. All may therefore come and be blessed; and all may rejoice in the prospect that these blessings shall yet be bestowed on all the kindreds of the earth. May the happy day soon come!
That highest blessing that anyone can have is to be turned away from sin. Christ blesses no one in sin, or while loving sin, but by turning them from sin.
As we go about in our cars, whether having a lovely scene of a pond on our bumper or that “patriotic” phrase, let us remember to always make it our prayer, that God will truly bless America and all the nations. What better prayer to pray now during these nefarious times.