“He delivered me from my strong enemy… for they were too strong for me.” by Kelly Gneiting
When mentioning the word ‘strength’ what comes to mind first?—an army of 100,000 tactical infantrymen poised and ready to attack, or Jesus bleeding and dying on the cross?
The title of this article comes from a verse in the Bible—Psalms 18:17, in which King David praises the Lord for his greatness and preserving care. It also accurately describes the sentiments of George Washington as commander of what America referred to as a “Continental Army,” but which was really a group of untrained men riding on the wings of Providence.
Said Ezra Taft Benson concerning this fact:
“From the standpoint of numbers, equipment, training, and resources the rag-tag army of the colonists should never have won the war for independence. But America’s destiny was not to be determined by overwhelming numbers, or better military weapons, or strategy. As Adams declared: “There’s a divinity which shapes our ends.” God took a direct hand in the events that led to the defeat of the British.” (God’s Hand in our Nation’s History, speech at BYU on March 28th, 1976)
When the war was over, here is how Washington ascribed the victory:
“The success, which has hitherto attended our united efforts, we owe to the gracious interposition of heaven, and to that interposition let us gratefully ascribe the praise of victory, and the blessings of peace.” (To the Executives of New Hampshire, November 3, 1789.).
And John Jay, America’s first Chief Justice, likewise remarked:
“We should always remember, that the many remarkable and unexpected means and events by which our wants have been supplied, and our enemies repelled or restrained, are such strong and striking proofs of the interposition of heaven, that our having been delivered from the threatened bondage of Britain, ought, like the emancipation of the Jews from Egyptian servitude, be forever ascribed to it’s true cause, and instead of swelling our breasts with arrogant ideas of our power and importance, kindle in them a flame of gratitude and piety, which may consume all remains of vice and irreligion. Blessed be God.” (Ira Stoll, Samuel Adams: A Life, (New York, NY: Free Press, 2008), p. 8.)
The story of David and Goliath has been almost cliché in America today, but is an overwhelming testimony to the truth that God intervenes in the battles of those who seek His protection, and STRENGTH. We as mortals are all equally weak, yet it seems today, as a country we seek out an admire those who are perceived to be “strong” among us—the bulging muscles and undaunted fierceness. Today’s rising of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) popularity is a testimony to this, as was the gladiator era in Rome.
America’s world-caliber athletes train year-round, and for many hours a week, yet the soldiers who fought and won America’s independence were no Olympians. What is the greater victory, an Olympic gold medal, or a Nation, rare in history, founded upon the principles of liberty?
For the entire 8-year War of Independence, failure and hopelessness seemed to be just around every corner. Yet, this had a profound effect on the people since it brought out a pure reliance on “the interposition of heaven.” It produced the faith necessary to bring God down from heaven to fight their battles.
As humans are all equally weak, God is infinitely strong! “Behold…” Isaiah says, “…the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance… All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.”
This led Isaiah to ask the question, “To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?” (see Isaiah 40)
That question has echoed through the centuries, to speak to true patriots of today. One of the beautiful truths, verified in the example we have before us in the War of Independence, is that as mere men we CAN take upon ourselves the strength of GOD!
It’s this truth that made Samuel Adams exclaim to John Hancock, “Oh, what a glorious morning this is!” as they were hiding in a church from searching British troops. The date was April 19th, 1775 and the shot at Lexington and Concord initiating the War of Independence was heard “’round the world.” New England, and particularly Massachusetts, where Adams and Hancock hailed from, led the struggle for liberty.
Two years later, at one of the low-points of the Revolution—a time in which twenty-five delegates met, not in captured Philadelphia, but a hundred miles west in York, Samuel Adams continued to show his resolve to some doubting members of Congress. What plan did he suggest?
“Through the darkness which shrouds our prospects, the ark of safety is visible. Despondency becomes not the dignity of our cause, nor the character of those who are its supporters. Let us awaken then, and evince a different spirit,–a spirit that shall inspire the people with confidence in themselves and in us,–a spirit that will encourage them to persevere in this glorious struggle, until their rights and liberties shall be established on a rock. We have proclaimed to the world our determination to die freemen, rather than to live slaves. We have appealed to Heaven for the justice of our cause, and in Heaven we have placed our trust. Numerous have been the manifestations of God’s providence in sustaining us. In the gloomy period of adversity, we have had “our cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.” We have been reduced to distress, and the arm of Omnipotence has raised us up. Let us still rely in humble confidence on Him who is mighty to save. Good tidings will soon arrive. We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection.” (Ira Stoll, Samuel Adams: A Life, (New York, NY: Free Press, 2008), p. 4.)
Truer words were never spoken.
In our day, today, the solution to regain our independence is the same as that found in history. The solemn fact is, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants” (Thomas Jefferson) and quoting closer to our day, that great statesman J. Reuben Clark said in 1952:
“I say to you that the price of liberty is and always has been blood, human blood, and if our liberties are lost, we shall never regain them except at the price of blood.”
These statements will frighten some Americans, yet inspire others. The good news is, I’m convinced, there exists men and women today of the caliber of our Founding Fathers, and as hopeless as our situation seems, history will repeat itself. Said Ezra Taft Benson:
“The only questions before the final victory are, first ‘What stand will each of us take in this struggle?’ and second, ‘How much tragedy can be avoided by doing something now?’”
Likewise, truer words were never spoken. What an opportunity to be involved in the fight to restore 1791 America, and relive a day when God will intervene once again!