With the Presidential Election occurring yesterday, we started taking a look at some of our past Presidents. Yesterday we looked at George Washington’s godly wisdom, and today we are going to look at Abraham Lincoln’s godly instructions. Being it is near Thanksgiving, let’s read an excerpt from his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863.
No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people; I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to our beneficent Father, who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him that, for such singular deliverances and blessings; they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
Like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln understood the power behind what happened in the United States of America. In this government proclamation he gives us some very powerful instructions. He didn’t lay out to them how to cook the turkey or which football team to cheer for. He instructed them to take a particular day of the year and spend time in prayer and thanksgiving to God for the benefits He gives them. He also asked that they say prayers for all those who had served in war and their families. He reminded the people that there had been national sin. He wanted them to implore (entreat, beg, beseech) God to heal the country and restore it. These were not casual prayers he was instructing the citizens of the United States to make. He wanted fervent prayers made for the country and words of thanksgiving to be given to God for his mercy and grace.
As Christians we are called upon to be devoted to prayer and to give thanksgiving to God. Read what Paul told the Colossians in 4:2.
2 Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.
We should take Lincoln’s and Paul’s instructions seriously. We would not be where we are without God protecting and guiding our country from its start. We should be able to recognize like President Lincoln that as a country and its citizens we have sinned. Our country needs to be healed. Just like the people of Lincoln’s time we need to implore God to forgive us and heal us. We need to beg Him for mercy and grace. We need to be thankful for what He has done for us.
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