Patriotism, God, and the 4th of July–Does God Want Me To Be A Patriot?

Patriotism and God 4th of July

And they sang a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9

Not Of This World

“…persons from every tribe and language and people and nation,” they sang. And Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” So patriotism is out right? I mean, Jesus died for every nation so, God doesn’t play favorites. He doesn’t put our country at the top of His list of nations and say, Yeah, they’re the ones to root for, they’re who I favor in the world, so you should favor that nation too. No, He doesn’t say that. So patriotism is out, right?

Some people see it that way. But what do we find in scripture?

Joseph In Egypt

You know, what I notice in scripture are God’s people bearing fruit wherever they find themselves. Joseph was sold to Potiphar, a high ranking military official in Egypt. And what did he do when he was there? He worked as hard as he possibly could to bring success to his master’s house. Then he was wrongly accused of rape and thrown in prison. Did he fight for legislation to improve the judicial process of the Egyptian government? Although it wouldn’t have been wrong to do so, no, he didn’t do that. Instead he did everything he could to make the jail run as well as possible. Then after he was pardoned he did everything he could to ensure the success and prosperity of Egypt. And you can bet the Egyptian government wasn’t perfect. And the Egyptians didn’t follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob either. But Joseph didn’t focus on those things, he bore fruit wherever he found himself, and he found himself in Egypt. (Genesis Chapters 39-41)

Daniel In Babylon

Daniel was taken as a prisoner of war and carried back to Babylon. They demanded that his friends worship the king as a god. When his friends refused they threw them in the furnace. When he went to work for the Babylonian government, a group of his colleagues tried to have him executed. The Babylonian government was a dictatorship that was flawed and had serious problems with corruption. And the nation of Babylon didn’t follow Daniel’s God. But Daniel didn’t focus on those problems, he did everything he could to ensure the success of Babylon. (The Book of Daniel)

You In Your Country

There are other examples in scripture as well that make me think that what we’re supposed to do is to bless the organizations God puts us in. Our family, our class, our school, our workplace, our city–and yes–our country. If Joseph and Daniel could show patriotism for the dictatorships of Egypt and Babylon, you can be patriotic for your nation.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

You and Your God

When Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees and the Herodians about whether or not the Jews should pay taxes, Jesus tells them to show him a denarius. So we still have these things around today, these denariuses (or denarii, if you like). And we know what was on that coin was the image of Tiberius Caesar. So Jesus asks them, Whose image is on the coin?

Caesar’s, they answer.

“Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s,” Jesus said. (Luke 20:20-26)

So the coin made in Caesar’s image is to be given to Caesar. And you, and I, who are made in God’s image, are to be given to God. So yes, it’s good to be a patriot. It’s good to be enthusiastic for and helpful to our country (in a godly way), as long as our passion for patriotism doesn’t become primary and take the place where God belongs.

Give yourself to the One in whose image you’re made. Give yourself to God. Seek Him first. You will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29)

You might also like 9/11 and the Coming Election, and The Election is Over–Now What?

Resources:

Amy E. Black, Beyond Left and Right: Helping Christians Make Sense of American PoliticsBaker Books, 2008

[Image via Arnie Bracy – Creative Commons]

2 thoughts on “Patriotism, God, and the 4th of July–Does God Want Me To Be A Patriot?

  1. I agree Kurt! My primary passion for patriotism is in the capacity of a soldier of Messiah Yeshua/Jesus.
    2 Timothy 2:3-4 reminds us:
    Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
    No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
    We as Believers should pay our taxes; my household certainly has over the years because even Messiah our Commander-in-chief paid taxes from the mouth of the fish. We are beholden to obey His commands & His example. In so doing we are examples to others who lack such diligence & understanding.
    However, I have for many years chosen to pledge allegiance to the Lamb who died for me so that I could be declared righteous in Yehovah through His perfect sacrificial lamb. I hunger for the day that my King returns with His Kingdom to rule righteously and to eliminate all unrighteousness in politics, religion, & economics. Moreover, as The Judge of all creation He will destroy those who destroy His property. REV 11:18
    The kingdom of God is within the heart of the soldier of Messiah; it is not functioning on earth yet. With any discernment one can agree with that; yet some insist on building the kingdom of “God” with a foundation that is merely sinking sand.
    To that I’d say, let me know how that works out for you. Our government can’t even run in righteousness. Wake up sleepy soldiers! Our redemption draws nigh.

    Like

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