The miraculous of God authenticates the one through whom or for whom God works the miracle (Acts2:22; Heb2:4). The miracles at America’s founding authenticate God’s stamp of approval upon this nation.
Just a few months after the miracle of the Battle for Brooklyn Heights in August of 1776, aka the retreat from Long Island, Almighty God once again confirmed His calling on both George Washington and America at the miracle of the Battle of Trenton.
At the beginning of the War for Independence, Washington asked Americans to sign a one-year enlistment agreement which ran through the end of December 1776. Tragically, because the Continental army had experienced more defeats than victories in that first year, the morale of the enlisted men was at an all-time low. Accordingly, at the beginning of December 1776, it was widely understood that many soldiers would not be reenlisting at the end of the month for another year/term. If this expectation proved to be true, the war would be over, and the American dream would have been turned into a nightmare.
In this context, God works His divine providence. Watch closely how the only Sovereign fits people, events, and even the weather to all work together, to create an impossible scenario, in order to:
1.make His great Name known to the present and future
2.to confirm His calling upon George Washington and America
With less than five days remaining until the re-enlistment deadline, another British victory would in all likelihood destroy any remaining hope for American liberty. Washington knew he had to do something quickly to keep his army together and the war for independence alive.
Across from Washington on the other side of the Delaware River, in Trenton, New Jersey stood the Hessians, an armed force of over 1000 German mercenaries fighting for the British. On December 25, 1776, Washington decided to cross the partially frozen Delaware river beginning just before dawn to hide their attack under the cover of darkness. Adding to the already impossible odds, a sudden raging snow and hail storm erupted that reduced their visibility to zero. What they did not know was that the storm ALSO sent the Hessian sentries scrambling from their posts seeking shelter. In addition, the night before the Hessians had been celebrating the holiday by drinking themselves into a drunken stupor. The Continental Army crossed the river in total secrecy and entered Trenton without resistance. The battle was short, lasting only 45 minutes, and was completely lopsided. The Americans killed 20 Hessians, wounded over 100, and captured over 1000 men. On the American side, 3 were wounded, and only two American casualties died from freezing to death. I repeat, not one American soldier was killed in the battle! A Christmas Miracle!!
Furthermore, General Henry Knox, who was in charge of the Delaware crossing declared, “the hurry, fright, and confusion of the enemy was not unlike that which will be when the last trump will sound”*. He continued, “Providence seemed to have smiled upon every part of this enterprise.”**
Incredibly, in the middle of the Trenton miracle, God worked yet another miracle. One of the three Americans wounded was James Monroe, who would later become the 5th president of the United States.
While marching under the cover of the morning darkness toward the Hessian encampment, the Continental army passed the home of Dr John Riker who was awakened from a deep sleep by the noise of barking dogs. Throwing on an overcoat, he angrily rushed out into the darkness to see what was going on. Once outside, his anger immediately turned to patriotism as he discovered the intent of the Americans. He declared, “I know something is to be done, and I’m going with you. I’m a doctor, and may help some poor fellow.”*** In the providence of God, as it turned out, as the battle raged, James Monroe was shot in the chest, severing an artery. Monroe later testified: “I would have bled to death if this doctor had not been near.”**** In other words, barking dogs saved the life of the future fifth president of the United States!!! Jeremiah 23:23 declares: “Am I a God near at hand, says the Lord…”
The miracle(s) of Trenton provided the American war effort not only with a much-needed victory but was also a morale booster breathing new energy and encouragement for the patriots to fight on. George Washington’s leadership, grounded in his trust and reliance on God’s providence, provided strong leadership inspiring the Continental Army to persevere against impossible odds and on to victory!
In Job 12:9, he cried, “Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this.”
*The General was quoting from 1Corinthians 15:42. I repeat, this American General was a man of God, who knew the scriptures.
**Drake, Life, and Correspondence of Henry Knox, Major-General in the American Revolutionary War (Boston; Samuel G. Drake, 1873), 36, to Mrs. Knox on December 28, 1776.
***The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (1880), 5:152-153, Lewis S. Coryell’s account of what was personally told to him by James Monroe.
**** The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (1880), 5:152-153, Lewis S. Coryell’s account of what was personally told to him by James Monroe.
The two great words of antiquity are behold and beware. Behold the possibilities and beware the temptations. – Jim Rohn