Indivisible (Part Three: America's Forgotten Symbol of Liberty)

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Those words, “under God,” were added to the pledge in 1954. Having experienced two World Wars and a devastating depression, America was on the mends. The people had enough awareness that after 5 decades of horrific challenge, God had shed His grace on our great country. And the desire to acknowledge that grace was strong enough to insert the phrase “under God.”

This is significant because the pledge was special then, quoted every day in every school, before every session of Congress, and in thousands of other places throughout our country. “Under God” was/is a reminder that, with God, we maintain our Republic. And with God we maintain our unity of purpose, this “indivisible.” If we stay under God and hold that in common, that as our unity, we can walk again in the blessings of God.

Another symbol for America is the Statue of Liberty. It was a gift of friendship to America from the people of France. “Lady Liberty,” as she is called, rests on Liberty Island and is a symbol of liberty to all the world.
The words inscribed have inspired many immigrants throughout the decades to risk all and leave all for hope and freedom:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teaming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

The Pledge and the Statue represent all that America has been, and maybe, yet can be. It depends. It depends on what the church does at this pivotal moment in our nation’s history.

That brings me to another symbol. A symbol that America was birthed on, and blessed by, that sadly is being neglected and ignored, and perhaps even forgotten. I take you to a story in the Old Testament.

Text: Joshua 22:1-6 (NIV)
Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh and said to them, “You have done all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded. For a long time now—to this very day—you have not deserted your fellow Israelites but have carried out the mission the LORD your God gave you.  Now that the LORD your God has given them rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan.  But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. Then Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their homes.

Vs. 21-29 - We built this as a witness between us and the generations to follow. And a witness that we too serve the great God of Israel. This altar is not for offerings and sacrifices, it is a reminder of the relationship we all have with the Lord. The altar is our reminder!

And here’s the question: Have we forgotten the altar?

Today, I bear the burden of my heart with you and what I believe to be God’s Word to us.

  • America has forsaken and forgotten the altar.
  • Our churches have forsaken and forgotten the altar.
  • Our homes have forsaken and forgotten the altar.

May I remind us today, the altar is a reminder of the relationship we have with the Lord and the witness to generations that follow us.

And I’m asking, “How could America turn away from the Lord and build our own altars in rebellion against the Lord now?” God has blessed America, and if we have a chance at remaining in favor with Him, we must rebuild our altars that have been broken down. The altar is our witness too. It is a reminder of sacrifice. It is a reminder of God’s faithfulness.

But I’m telling you, none of this we merit on our own. God has been faithful to us. And if we neglect the altar – the symbol of our commitment to Him, we will lose what we have been so blessed with.

The altar they built back at Geliloth served as something else. The altar "is a witness between us and the generations to follow." Oh church, if for no other reason to rebuild our altars, we must do so for the sake of our children.

Church, we cannot neglect our altar here. If we continue down this path, our children will not know the Lord. They will not experience the power of God.

We must be the church! We can’t give in to the ploy of the devil to compromise, dilute the truth, and neglect our values and Biblical principles. You must rebuild your personal altar! We must rebuild our family altar!
The altar is our reminder! We cannot – we must not – for the sake of our families, ever forget the altar.