Should God Bless America?
By Shane Pruitt
The phrase, “God bless America,” has probably become just as much a patriotic staple as the National Anthem. Most people believe that the phrase comes from the same song that’s now sometimes even sung during the seventh-inning-stretch of Major League Baseball games. Politicians are seemingly required to end their speeches with the phrase, it’s printed on bumper stickers and t-shirts, and it’s our rally-cry anytime our national security is threatened. Sadly, however, the phrase has transitioned into a cliché that few people stop to consider what they’re saying.
What does “God bless America” really mean? Well, hopefully, we’re not arrogant enough to think we can demand anything from Him. So, it seems as though it would be more of a prayer asking God to bless our nation, rather than telling or commanding Him to do so. Some of us believe that America enjoys God’s blessing by divine right. After all, He has blessed America throughout history, so He’ll continue doing that no matter what we do. But His blessings are not measured, as most people believe, by material affluence, power, and world dominance. The greatest blessings God has graciously given America have been spiritual blessings, freedom for the Gospel to be preached, and freedom for Him to be sought after in the public forum for Divine guidance.
But, if we’re asking Him to bless America. . .A relevant question would be, “Why should God bless America?”
The definition of blessing is, “God’s favor (favor means approval and acceptance) and protection.” So, by asking God to bless America, we’re asking Him to approve us, accept us, and protect us. However, we’re a nation that is entertained by sin, we celebrate sin, and we make laws protecting our sinful rights, while at the same time, chastising and belittling anyone who calls sin. . .sin. According to the Bible, God can’t bless sin, because He doesn’t approve of it or accept it. Sin is not going to be blessed, because it actually evokes His wrath. “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming” (Colossians 3:5 – 6).
In America, think about what we’ve begun to approve as a nation: We’ve murdered millions from future generations, we’ve redefined God’s invention of marriage, we’re gluttonous, racist, prideful, and wasteful. We’ve asked God to leave our schools, courtrooms, and any public arena. Basically, we want Him to stay in those little buildings with the steeples on top. At the end of the day, we’re more concerned about being “politically correct” than we are about being “biblically correct.”
So, should God bless America? The answer is actually a resounding, “No”! We don’t deserve it by our actions, and we don’t deserve it just because we are Americans. There is actually no good reason at all for God to bless us. As a whole. . .we’ve turned our backs upon Him, forgotten Him, and openly rebelled against Him. What we deserve as a nation is God’s wrath, not blessing. “The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17). “And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 8:19 – 20).
However, that’s the point of grace isn’t it? That He gives us something that we do not deserve. Without a doubt, we deserve God’s wrath as a nation, but Christians should be pleading with Him to continue graciously extending patience, long-suffering, mercy, and yes, even blessing. Maybe as Christians, when we say, “God bless America,” we should be asking God to treat our nation better than we deserve. We’re not asking Him to approve or accept our nation’s atrocious actions, but rather, relent His anger long enough for the church to shine forth with the Gospel. After all, Moses pleaded with the Lord over and over again not to destroy Israel, even when they deserved it (Exodus 32 & Numbers 14). Paul said that he’d be willing to taste Hell if his fellow Jews could come to know Jesus as Savior (Romans 9).
The remedy to our nation’s moral and spiritual problems must begin within the church. Reform starts with God’s people, and the process starts with personal repentance. It’s easy to blame culture for the state of our nation from inside our church pews and house walls. However, if Christians truly want to see God’s blessing on our nation, we ought to be models of genuine contrition and humility, rather than merely pointing fingers of blame at the evils of secular society. After all, people without Christ are going to act like people without Christ! What’s utterly defeating is when those who have been redeemed by Christ still operate as though they weren’t.
So Church, let’s model personal repentance for our own sinful actions, even those we think are somehow less offensive to God than those committed by the culture around us. And let’s be people who model forgiveness, humility, and grace, besides, we have been bestowed those gifts infinitely more than we ever deserved. And when we ask God to bless America, may we seek to be part of that blessing by taking the gospel forward and shining the light into the darkness.