God of the Nations
Study Guide, July 3, 2022
Pastor Clay Olsen
In 1787 Benjamin Franklin spoke at the Constitutional convention. And as they were discussing how each state would be represented in the new nation, Benjamin Franklin reminded them all that they were to look for their guidance on all of this by calling on the God of the nations. Here’s what he said: “I have lived…a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured…in the writings of the Sacred Scriptures, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel.”1
One of the most understood and most important tenets of America’s Founding Fathers was that God governs in the affairs of men. They understood that God was sovereign over the nations of the world, and thus any attempt to build a nation and govern a nation was to be done by doing it according to God’s directions for all nations and people. Because every nation either represents a Towel of Babel or a Nation Under God!
That’s quite a revelation of a country’s real identification: A Tower of Babel or a Nation Under God. As of 2022, technically, the number of countries in the world is counted at 197. And of course, every country has its own identity. However, in reality, every nation that is seeking to build apart from the instructions of the God of nations in His ‘Sacred Scriptures’, is really, just as Benjamin Franklin pointed out: “…no better than the Builders of Babel.” So whatever they call their country, its real name is just another ‘Tower of Babel’. And those who govern their country are ‘Builders of Babel’. They are building their country according to man’s corrupt reasoning, and just building for the glory of themselves. And so, they are under judgment by the God of the Nations.
And that’s what the Founding Fathers were trying to spare America from…from being under judgment by God because of governing by man’s corrupt reasoning instead of by God’s blessed revelation. They understood that governing a nation is to be under God’s authority and the Scripture’s guidance just as much as governing a family is to be.
In the Scriptures this is all very clear. God’s sovereignty over the nations is proclaimed throughout the Bible. Take a look at just a few examples:
Ps 22:28- “For the kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations.” NASU
Ps 47:8- “God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne.” NASU
Ps 66:7- “For by His great power He rules forever. He watches every movement of the nations; let no rebel rise in defiance.” NLT
Ps 67:4- “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; For You will judge the peoples with uprightness and guide the nations on the earth. Selah.” NASU
Ps 72:11- “And let all kings bow down before Him, all nations serve Him.” NASU
Ps 82:8- “Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is You who possesses all the nations.” NASU
Ps 96:3-10- “Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name; bring an offering and come into His courts. Worship the Lord in holy attire; tremble before Him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.” NASU
What amazing proclamations from God’s Word! It is as Abraham Kuyper is quoted as saying: “There is not one square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’” And that includes all governments. And our Founders knew that! They knew that the Creator God was to be honored and served by all the nations of the world. You see, 50 of the 55 Founding Fathers were orthodox, evangelical Christians. James Madison said: “Religion is the basis and foundation of government.” And don’t you love this quote by George Washington: “It is impossible to rightly govern without God and the Bible.”
‘Impossible to rightly govern…’, he said. Which means that much of the governing going on in our country today is completely wrongful governing because it is governing without God and the Bible. And then this is another great quote from President John Quincy Adams: “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government and the principles of Christianity.” And ‘indissoluble’ means ‘cannot by separated’!
So, again, this is why when our Founders started laying the foundation for building America, they started with the Declaration of Independence before they compiled the Constitution. Let’s let Samuel Adams, the Father of the American Revolution, answer that. He said, “Before the formation of the Constitution, this Declaration of Independence was received and ratified by all the States of the Union and has never been disannulled.” Furthermore, the admission of territories as States into the United States was often based upon an assurance by the new states that they would not only uphold the specifics of the Constitution but also the principles of the Declaration.
Previous generations understood that the Constitution could not be properly interpreted apart from the God-centered principles and values in the Declaration. And let’s let John Quincy Adams clarify that: “The virtue which had been infused into the Constitution of the United States was no other than the concretion of those (Bibically based) principles which had first been proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence…This was the platform upon which the Constitution of the United States had been erected. Its virtues…character…consisted in its conformity to the principles proclaimed in the Declaration.”2
As wonderful as our Constitution is, it is like the walls and windows and doors and roof that were all built upon the foundation of the Declaration. The Constitution was never intended to stand on its own, or stand apart from the God-centered Declaration of Independence, which was basically their ‘Declaration of dependence upon God’. And the substance of the Declaration was made up from the principles of the Bible! Actually, much of the Declaration was made up from sermons from Colonial Pastors. Plus, according to a University of Houston study of roughly 1500 writings of the Founding Fathers, 34% of their quotes were from the Bible. It’s as John Adams stated: “The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.”
So what is it about the Declaration that so blesses a nation when honored and followed, but also so curses a nation that dishonors and rejects it’s guidance? How about the fact that it proclaims that there is a Creator! Therefore, all people owe their lives and allegiance to Him. The Founders knew all about Ps.24:1- “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” NASU Therefore, God is the sole Owner of all…all nature, all nations, all people, all creatures…God owns it all. That makes everyone else on Earth a ‘steward’ or at most a ‘manager’ of that which is solely owned by God, including everything from our buildings to our bodies. (That’s one of the reasons why the saying of ‘My body, my choice’ is so false and so destructive to human understanding. You would have to be the ‘creator’ of your body in order to be the ‘owner’ of your body. But no one has created themselves, and thus no one owns themselves. God is the Creator and the Owner of every ‘body’, and thus, everybody is accountable to God for what he or she does with their body that is owned by God alone! We are only permitted to do with these bodies that are owned by God that which God has permitted us to do and will bless us in doing. Everything or anything else we do with our body that God does not permit is rebellion against our Creator, which is the essence of ‘sin’ against our Creator.)
And then along with Psalm 24:1 is Ps 2:10-12- ‘Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal Son, or He will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—for His anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in Him!” NLT All the kings and rulers of the earth are commanded to serve the Lord. So the first two steps for anyone to take who is assigned a position in government is to humbly acknowledge God as the sovereign Creator over the Earth and to then submit to God’s authority as they serve in their governmental position. And by the way, it’s this submitting to God’s authority over the nation that then leads to ‘limited Government’. It’s when God is removed from government that the government then starts acting like it is unlimited in its power because the government then acts like it is the god of the nation. But that’s called an ‘idol’…a false god. That is a government that is guilty of ‘Idolatry’! And idolatry is always judged by God! Nations are judge ‘in time’ and individuals are judged ‘throughout eternity’!
Then, it’s from the Declaration of Independence that we proclaim our freedoms! “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” And we know that part, but not as many know the rest of it. So let’s continue: “…that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government…” And that’s exactly what the Founding Fathers did!
So when our American government was founded, our Founders even reminded everyone of what the purpose of government is in the first place! Why does our government or any government even exist? The answer is: God established government in order to secure and protect the rights of all people who are created by God and are also endowed by God with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! That’s why God created government in the first place and that’s what every government on earth is accountable to God to carry out…securing and protecting our God-given rights! And it all starts with….Life! One of the reasons Bible believing Christians are rejoicing over the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade is its declaration that no government has a constitutional right to permit the destruction of human life. The unborn have committed no crime worthy of capital punishment, and therefore, the government is responsible to protect this God given right for another human being to live!
Then, another responsibility of government is to secure and protect the individual freedoms of every person to live according to their personal beliefs and conscience…freedom of religious beliefs and the practice of them…as long as they do not infringe on the inalienable rights of others. And, one such freedom is that other inalienable right…the pursuit of happiness. Which does not mean the pursuit of anything that someone thinks might make them happy. That would be the destruction of everything the Declaration was declaring! What’s the context? The context is that life, liberty, and happiness are gifts from our Creator. Therefore, we have the right to pursue whatever the Creator has given us the right to do! And in pursuing that which the Creator has given us the right to do, we then discover and experience ‘happiness’.
Again, each of these inalienable rights are connected to our Creator, as our Founding Fathers were trying to make it clear, that everything is connected to our Creator, especially the outworking and the responsibilities of government. And in declaring such, they were also stating that government is limited to such. Again, the purpose of government is to secure and protect these God-given rights of all people; and get this: and to only collect enough taxes to carry out this purpose!
But, again, all governments are responsible to govern in submission to the God of all nations. And that also explains, right there, why so many in our present government are intentionally ignoring and omitting the Declaration of Independence in their governing of the nation…because there are so many in our present government that are rebelling against the God of the nations…rebelling against the God of this nation. As such, they are under judgment by God, and thus, sadly, are also causing so much pain and problems for our nation. Their rebellion is nothing new…it’s just another form of a godless government and godless culture that our Founding Fathers tried to get away from and tried to protect succeeding generation from by giving us the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They even sought to educate the people about the kind of government our Creator gave to nations. And then they worked to honor God and to do all they could to establish a God centered government in a nation called ‘America’, where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness would be secured and protected as everyone lived their lives ‘Under God’, under God’s authority and under God’s instructions for nations.
That’s the kind of America we are to work on and pray for as well. And also then assist and pray for every God fearing Brother and Sister in Christ who are in positions in our government…pray for these godly warriors, who are already tirelessly working toward having the Lord build the house, looking to the Lord to build our nation, instead of letting the rebels further build just another Tower of Babel! A ‘Nation Under God’ or a ‘Tower of Babel’. It’s either one or the other!
- William J. Federer, America’s God and Country, pp. 248,249
- David Barton, Tim Barton, The American Story, p. 221