Thursday, January 22, 2009

Begin and Finish Faithfully

By Brenda Black

Human error, grammatical oversight or divine intervention? You decide.

The U.S. Constitution includes in the presidential oath a specific statement in which the newly elected Commander in Chief is supposed to swear to "faithfully execute the office of president of the United States". But Chief Justice Roberts reordered the phrase, moving the adverb “faithfully” to the end. Mr. Obama detected the faux pax and hesitated. It's one of the drawbacks of being such a polished speaker. Rote memorized speeches leave little margin for error. One tiny word can throw the speaker and leave him stammering as was the case with Mr. Obama. He obviously had rehearsed the sequence of promises hundreds of times since November. Yet, when faith was misplaced, it left two powerful men at a loss for words.

Certainly, the million people moment would cause the nerves of even the most stoic of public figures to err. But I have to wonder if a higher power than the president or a chief justice addressed the crowd on Tuesday. The God of our nation, the creator of the world might have something to say about how the next president performs his duties. Based on the number of times that faithfully was mentioned and where it was positioned in the oath of the highest office in the world, leads me to believe, the Lord expects loyalty.

He blesses those who faithfully adhere to His plan and listen to His wisdom. “So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today – to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul – then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle , and you will eat and be satisfied.” (Deuteronomy 11:13-15)

I heard one seasoned farmer say recently, “No matter how bad times may get, people still gotta eat.” If we are going to get through these tough challenges, he believes we need to “faithfully” insure that America's agriculture remains viable and profitable. Invoking God's blessings is a great way to begin since 90% of farming is in His hands.

We need his provision and we need his indwelling to faithfully imitate his pattern of love and forgiveness if we expect God to bless these United States. “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:12)

The president included in his inaugural address more than once the words “new age”. He said the world is changing and America must change with it. But according to the Holy Scriptures, some things never change, like the Lord himself who is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End and is the same yesterday and forever. Remaining faithful to Jehovah God in every shift of politics and in every age is a great way to begin, to live and to finish.

“Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then the Lord's anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers...” (Dt. 11:16-21)

The Lord demands from us what He has already offered himself – an oath of loyalty. One tiny phrase that speaks volumes of hope and warning. In the case of a U.S. constitutional promise, our freedom to believe and worship begins and finishes with faith. Let us pray that our new president faithfully executes the office of president of the United States – full of faith."


Anonymous said...

Amen! God has the ultimate power of authority over all. Many people are looking to our new president for hope in the trying times we are in. As he said, "things will get worse before they get better". Although I support our new president, my hope and trust do not lie with him. My hope and trust lie with God. Yes, we are to support and pray for our president, vice president and all people which govern this nation, but we are not to put our faith and hope in them. The only one who can help us, this country and the world is God. God is where everyones hope and trust should lie.

Awesome writing Brenda. God bless you my friend.

Brenda said...

Thank you Valerie. I believe there is a fine line between respect and reverence that often gets blurred in the midst of desperation and emotion. While the office of the president should be respected, only God should be revered. It is my prayer, as it has been for every U.S. leader, that they submit to God's authority and make decisions steeped in his perfect wisdom and will. I pray for open eyes and clear minds as we look to our nation's future.
Blessings on your day as well!

Sherri Watt said...

Great post Brenda!

How are you my friend? All is well I hope!

We are doing Beth Moores series on the Psalms "Stepping Up" on Wednesday nights. Its incredible!


Joy in the Burbs... said...

Those are good words. There is nothing new under the sun. So this 'new age' he's talking about. ha.
Anyway, did you know that President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts re-did the oath later that day. They just wanted to make sure it was right.
This was Chief Justice Roberts first time administering it. I'm sure he hated that he messed up.
I pray that President Obama follows the Lord faithfully and obeys His commands not what the special interest want him to do.


Brenda said...

Yes, I knew they re-administered the oath. In so doing, during the second oath, "faithfully" was therefore emphasized for the third time! Often the Lord repeats a message several times to clarify how important His mandates. I think He has spoken again during this historic occasion, wouldn't you agree!

Brenda said...

I love Beth Moore studies! Soak it up. I'm busy, busy, busy. Working on two columns and three feature articles for upcoming newspapers and magazine issues. I also sell ad space for one of the publications so I'm spending hours on the phone this week. When I'm not at my desk, I'm on the road. My son has three out-of-town basketball games this week - each 2 hours drive one way. And, I'm trying to organize a ladies' retreat for our church the middle of next month. Say, you and Pam and some of your blogging buddies who live in the area should road trip to the country!
Blessings your way!