The United States of America is the most blessed country on the face of the earth. According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States “has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world….” With a population of 324 million people, the market value of all goods and services was projected to be $19.4 trillion dollars in 2017 —equivalent to a staggering 25% of the entire world’s total output. Gross domestic product (GDP) data projected by the International Monetary Fund in 2017 indicated that the United States just about surpassed the goods and services produced by the next three economic–powerhouse countries—China, Japan and Germany—combined!
This country has been blessed with an abundance of natural resources: wheat, corn and other grains; cattle, poultry and dairy products; fish and forest products. The land is rich and fertile, blessed with a favorable climate. Deep in the heart of the earth are precious stones and minerals: gold, silver, copper and nickel. It has the largest coal reserves in the entire world! In a competitive world economy, where energy is a vital component for sustained growth, the United States can be energy sufficient with proven oil reserves of 36.52 billion barrels and 10.44 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves.
The United States is the leading industrial power in the world, highly diversified and technologically advanced. According to the CIA World Factbook, “US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers and in medical, aerospace, and military equipment….” Why has the United States been so blessed like no other nation in this world?
The Pilgrims fled religious oppression in Europe and sailed to America in 1620. Led by Governor William Bradford, these early settlers survived a treacherous New England winter that nearly decimated their colony. In the summer of 1621, fifty–six survivors out of the original 103 of the Plymouth Colony organized a three–day feast, giving thanks to God for a bountiful harvest of corn, barley and other fruits and vegetables.
During the decades that followed, the people of the Thirteen Colonies observed various days of thanksgiving for various reasons. The Continental Congress declared several days of thanksgiving for victories during the American Revolution, when it issued this proclamation on October 11, 1782:
“It being the indispensable duty of all nations, not only to offer up their supplications to ALMIGHTY GOD, the giver of all good, for his gracious assistance in a time of distress…do hereby recommend to the inhabitants of these States in general to observe…Thursday the twenty–eight day of November next, as a day of solemn THANKSGIVING to GOD for all his mercies…for His goodness, by a cheerful obedience of his laws….”
In 1789, in the first year of his presidency, George Washington issued a precedent–setting proclamation of Thanksgiving Day, which today is followed by his successors:
“Where as it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor…Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of the States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is or that will be….”
President Abraham Lincoln issued the next Thanksgiving Day proclamation on October 3, 1863. The country was embroiled in a bloody civil war that pitted brother against brother. Countless lives were lost, property destroyed, families separated. Believing the conflict was a punishment from God, Lincoln said:
“The year that has been drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever–watchful providence of Almighty God.
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….”
America faces far greater and more dangerous threats in today’s world. Religious extremists are fanatically committed to the destruction of this country and its people. Rogue nations continue to threaten to engulf it and the world in a nuclear holocaust. Our land is saturated with harmful chemicals. The food we eat is tainted. The water we drink is contaminated. The air we breathe is polluted. Gratuitous violence and sex fill our television. Our music is provocative, crude and filthy. Pornography is a thriving, disgusting business. Gambling casinos and lotteries bring in millions of dollars to states struggling with decreased revenue, but leave many of its citizenry in destitution, addiction and poverty.
Crime, violence and lawlessness are on the increase and getting bolder and more brazen. Corruption and bribery in the halls of government and the boardrooms of corporate America are increasingly rampant. Immorality has filled our land. Divorce has devastated our families and poses a serious threat to unraveling the very fabric of our society. What has happened to the richest and most blessed land that is America?
It has forgotten the Source of all its wealth, its blessings and its power. It has forgotten to acknowledge its Protector and its Shield. America has become an unthankful nation! The Great God, from Whom this nation has received the abundance of all things, says, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you” (Deut. 28:47–48).
Under siege by the relentless assault of materialism and secularization, the United States has indeed strayed far from the whole–hearted attitude of thankfulness, obedience and gratitude to God that was expressed by the early Pilgrims in 1621. President Theodore Roosevelt remarked that “the things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get–rich–quick theory of life.”
Today, we are faced with an economic crisis unparalleled in its depth and severity. We are threatened by a misguided yet fanatical enemy, bent on our destruction. As we gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with an abundance of food and drink, let us remember and turn to God, the same God who heard and granted the ardent prayers of those Pilgrims in 1621. Only He can deliver us, if we return to Him and obey what He tells us to do in His Bible: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chron. 7:14).
May you and yours enjoy a happy and abundant Thanksgiving!
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