(I realize all of our readers are not Americans, but the spiritual analogy behind what I’ve written below holds true for citizens of any country. We, as believers, are all citizens of a heavenly country. Vicki Huffman)
In 1776 about 50 legislators gathered in Philadelphia to debate a revolutionary document—the Declaration of Independence. Congress, realizing the seriousness of the situation, called for a day of national fasting and prayer on May 17th. The debate on the document continued until July 4th when it was ready for the final vote.
A few were still cautious so John Witherspoon, a minister in the delegation, spoke: “There is a tide in the affairs of men. We perceive it now before us. To hesitate is to consent to our own slavery. That noble instrument should be subscribed to this very morning by every pen in this house. Though these gray hairs must soon descent to the sepulcher, I would infinitely rather that they descend thither by the hand of the executioner than desert at this crisis the sacred cause of my country.”
On July 8th the people of Philadelphia waited expectantly in the streets. That morning the bellringer of the State House had gone to his post determined that his bell would be the first to peal forth the news. He waited a long time. Finally he heard his boy shouting: “Ring! Ring!” Grasping the iron tongue, he swung the huge bell to and fro—a bell that was inscribed with the words of Leviticus 25:10: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”
The crowded streets were filled with cheering. As other bells echoed the message of the Liberty Bell, the people celebrated the beginning of a new land founded on the premise of “liberty and justice for all.”
Liberty comes in different ways—to countries and to individuals. During World War II, an Englishman was held in a German prison camp for a long time. One day he read in his Bible: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). He prayed, “Father, I see all these men dying around me. Will I also have to die here? I am still young and want very much to work in Your kingdom here on earth.” God’s answer came to him: “Rely on what you have just read and go home!”
The man got up and walked into the corridor toward the gate. A guard called out, “Prisoner, where are you going?” He replied, “I am under the protection of the Most High.” The guard snapped to attention and let him pass because Adolf Hitler was known as the “Most High.”
The same scene was repeated with a group of guards at the gate. They all stood at attention while the prisoner “under the protection of the Most High” walked out a free man. He made his way through the German countryside and eventually reached England. He was the only prisoner who came out of that camp alive.
Jesus Christ, the Most High, has set us free from the bondage of sin and death. We have been freed to serve, not to waste away in the prison camp of misery and despair. The Most High has set us free to proclaim liberty to an imprisoned world.
How do we become truly free? By relying on the truth we read in God’s Word and acting on it. Jesus said, “Then you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32, NIV).
We obtain our freedom only when we are willing to sign a declaration of dependence on Him.