Last Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, two historic events converged. One was Inauguration Day—the swearing in of the president of the most powerful nation on earth. The other, Martin Luther King Day, the commemoration of America’s most prominent civil rights leader, who fought to free African Americans from the chains of racism and bigotry.
Throughout American history, presidents have used their inauguration speeches to invoke the blessings, direction and approval of God as the Creator. Likewise, the highly regarded civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., also appealed to the Creator in referring to God’s vision of the future as he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln memorial in August of 1963.
Having both the inauguration and this national holiday occur on the same day in 2013 was a coincidence of timing, especially when we consider their shared historical references to God and the need for His guidance.
Fifty-seven inaugural ceremonies and speeches have taken place in the past 224 years in America, and in virtually all of them the people heard many references to “God.” In President George Washington’s very first inaugural address, delivered in 1789, he referred to his fervent prayer to the God that “rules over the universe” and “presides in the councils of nations.” He spoke of asking God to enable the government of the United States to successfully “do His will,” knowing that such success depends upon the blessing that comes from God Himself!
In his legendary “I Have a Dream” message of 50 years ago, Dr. King ended his speech by presenting a vision of a time in the future when all of mankind will sit down at the table of brotherhood, when true freedom and justice will exist—a dream of a time when children of different races will treat each other as brothers and sisters—a vision (quoting from God’s Word) that “one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”
Now come to Inauguration Day of 2013. The inaugural speech by the president last week did acknowledge GOD—but precious few times … all without the beseeching of God’s divine hand of providence in doing “His will” as has been the case in most inaugurations in the past 200-plus years!
It is obvious on this year’s Inauguration Day … things have changed.
The good news is that the dream of Dr. King (and millions of others) will be fulfilled! There will be a time of peace, brotherhood, of true freedom and justice. There is coming a time when the valley of man’s despair and malice will be replaced with happiness and joy; a time when the crooked paths of moral confusion will be made straight.
This new world will come at a time when the divisiveness of politics and the shackles of bigotry are no longer the rule.
God’s Word shows us that this dream will not come about because of a government’s effort to engineer social justice or due to the evolution of a president’s sense of right and wrong!
While our human leaders may still use God’s “name” in their documents, their prayers and their speeches, the days of sincerely invoking the guidance and will of our Creator seem to be gone.
While we may see an alarming trend among our nation’s leaders to rely less on God’s guidance, we the people can choose to follow the lead not of men, but the lead of God, His Word and His divine providence in our lives.
We can understand His plan for that “world tomorrow”—and be a part of God’s preparation for it.
For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m Doug Horchak.