An Appeal to Heaven
Imagine a flag with a tall evergreen tree on a white background with the words, “Appeal to Heaven”. This was the flag that George Washington flew on his ships. As the colonists fought British forces, this banner symbolized their just cause and their hope for liberty. This was the flag under which our nation was born.
Our forefathers believed freedom from tyranny was worth fighting for. They knew the odds were against them, that achieving self-government would require divine intervention. So they appealed to heaven. Our creed, The Declaration of Independence, acknowledged God four different times. Patrick Henry’s words, “Give me liberty or give me death!” were sentiments shared by his fellow countrymen.
Where did these ideas of liberty and justice come from? The Founding Fathers were familiar with the writings of John Locke. Plus, being educated men, they all knew the Bible. John Locke believed that human rights were derived from nature’s God, not granted to people by any government.
In An Appeal to Heaven, author Dutch Sheets writes, “Locke made the case that when people have done everything humanly possible to experience God-given rights and have failed to do so, there remains but one option: ‘to appeal to heaven.’” (See his resources at www.dutchsheets.org.)
At times in our history, thousands of citizens were caught up in a movement called “The Great Awakening.” People began to pray and call upon God. Churches were filled. Cities were affected. Astute scholars attribute these revivals of repentance and united prayer to key turning points in America’s life. Our culture shifted toward righteousness as “we the people” called upon God. In humility, we turned from self-reliance, appealed to heaven, and began to become a great nation by becoming a people under God.
We need another Great Awakening! Our beloved America is no longer “…one nation under God, indivisible…” We’re deeply divided! We have rejected God, ignored his ways, and are quickly losing the blessings and the unity that heaven bestows.
Absent the respect due God’s authority, the sustaining grace formerly present in America’s schools, homes, and institutions has diminished. Deep mistrust and discord exist. We failed to realize that just government originates only from heaven’s throne.
Secularism has replaced reverence for God. We take glory away from Deity and give it to vain men. We invite judges to intrude into the holy place once reserved for the Almighty. Sacred sex is sullied. Sanctity of life is slaughtered. Bonds of marriage are betrayed. Civil society is ripped asunder by racism. Children are not safe in our streets.
Our great land suffers from amoral angst. Disconnected from our covenant, few can be counted on to stay true or to speak truth. Honor is absent. Societal stress fractures appear. Unplugged from God, we see signs of withdrawal. Moral boundaries are blurred. Economic miracles have ceased. Family ties become unglued. Even the climate seems to fight us!
The prevenient care of Providence has lifted. Left to our own cleverness, we pretend to be mighty but our greatness is a mere ghost of our past. Even atheists admit that our nation is in serious trouble. It’s time to appeal to heaven again.