Of God and Country: God Bless America


Amos 8:11-12 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

As the United States celebrates the 4th of July today – Independence day – we’re often reminded of the price that was paid for our freedom. The founders pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in defense of the Declaration of Independence. In that same spirit let us recall a time when a heavy price was paid for a translation of our Bible.

William Tyndale, a 16th century Englishman, translated the Bible into English while living in Germany. Finally in 1525, he was able to publish a New Testament in English. But the church authorities at the time were not pleased and they angrily sought to destroy Tyndale and his translation. Finally, he was caught and brought back to England where he was burned at the stake.

As he was dying, he uttered these words: “Lord open the eyes of the King of England.” His prayer became a prophecy, as it was the King of England, King James, who finally did publish the entire Bible in English about a hundred years later.

Our English Bible translations became a reality through William Tyndale’s heroic sacrifice and bravery, ultimately at the price of his lifeblood. The work and sacrifice of William Tyndale not only led to the publishing of the King James Bible but to earlier English translations like the Geneva bible which the pilgrims brought with them to America.

This Independence day, don’t let your Bible sit on the shelf gathering dust. Considering the cost that was paid so you could read it in your native tongue, let’s all take full advantage of this precious gift.

The freedom that we so enjoy on this day is only a taste of the real freedom we have in the Lord; the promise of eternal forgiveness and freedom from sin. The cost of that freedom was the precious blood of our savior Jesus Christ. William Tyndale offered his life so we could read about this spiritual freedom in our own language. Our founders fought and gave their lives for the freedoms we now enjoy as a nation so as we celebrate our earthly freedom this Independence Day, let’s not forget to also give thanks for our eternal liberty that we find in our Lord.

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