On this 4th of July weekend, is it right for us to pray for God’s blessing on America? I have blogged before about being careful with our terms that are biblical, unbiblical, or non-biblical. Clearly, the phrase “God bless America” is non-biblical—that is, this phrase doesn’t explicitly appear in the Scripture. But are there principles in the Bible that can make that phrase biblical?
Yes, I believe so IF we recognize why we have been blessed by God.
In God’s perfect timing, the next psalm in our series looking at the Selahs in the Psalms is one that addresses this topic.
Notice the very first word in Psalm 87 is the personal pronoun “He.” There is an assumption the sons of Korah make that their readers will know that “He” is The Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. In fact, they see God as the Prime Mover in this psalm, putting His words at the very middle of the psalm (v. 4).
Just before these quotation marks, we are invited to Selah—pause and carefully listen to God. He announces heavenly citizenship for age-old enemies of Israel: Rehab, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, Cush. Peoples from all of these nations are identified as: “those who acknowledge Me” and three times He says they are “born in Zion” (vv. 4-6).
God desires that none should perish. He wants people from every nation, tribe, and language to enjoy His presence forever in the eternal Zion.
The sons of Korah remind us of just how blessed Zion truly is (vv. 1-3) and how God establishes all who have Zion citizenship (v. 5). God does this so that all people will see God’s blessing on those people who acknowledge Him as their Lord and King.
So let’s return to my earlier question: Is it right and biblical for Christians to pray for God to bless America?
Let me ask it another way: Has God blessed America? I believe He has and we should be eternally grateful. I believe this nation was founded on biblical principles, and recognized as a place where people could have the freedom to worship God.
Will God continue to bless America? Psalm 87 says the blessing will last only as long as we Americans acknowledge, “All my fountains are in You” (v. 7). This is a call for us to continually recognize God as our Foundation and Source. We also have to remember that the blessing is only to us so that it can flow through us to all peoples, languages, and tribes.
The blessing stops when we dig our own wells, or we try to hoard the blessing.
There are two phrases in this psalm that stand out to me as prophetic.
- Selah (listen to this) and then “I will record” (vv. 3-4)
- “The Lord will write in the register” (stop to celebrate) Selah (v. 6)
God keeps perfect records of those who are citizens of Zion because they have acknowledged Jesus as the One who paid the price for their sins to be forgiven. So when John gives us a glimpse of the eternal Zion, he tells us about the rejoicing over those who are there “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9-10, 7:9-10, 21:22-27).
Just as Revelation records spontaneous praise to God, the sons of Korah build in those Selah pauses to worship too:
- Glorious things are said of God—praise Him!
- He has blessed us by His presence in our midst—praise Him!
- People from all tribes are entering Zion—praise Him!
May God continue to bless America so that we can use those blessings to tell the world about His love as we invite them into a personal relationship with Jesus!
If you’ve missed any of the messages in our Selah series, you can find the full list by clicking here.
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