In the last tidbit, I offered a better understanding of the National Anthem’s third verse in the context of America and slavery. This week I offer evidence for God’s providential approval of the Anthem: which is His miraculous power in behalf of its inspiration.
During the War of 1812, as the British marched towards Baltimore, they captured an elderly medical doctor named William Beane. The people of the area he served were fearful the British would either keep him captive in the belly of one of their infamous prisoner-of-war ships, where men were literally starved to death; or simply execute him. Therefore, they asked attorney Francis Scott Key, along with American colonialist colonel John Skinner to arrange for a prisoner exchange. After a week of intense negotiations, America and Britain agreed to exchange prisoners on a one-for-one basis. After informing the jubilant prisoners they would be freed, Francis returned to the ship’s captain, who informed him the prisoner exchange would be null-and-void, because unless the colonies yield, they planned to use the fire-power of the entire British fleet, to level Fort McHenry! Key objected indicating the fort had woman and children. The British commander responded that when the huge 30 x 42 foot flag flying over the Fort was lowered, and the White flag of surrender raised, the shelling would cease. To protect their plans to destroy Fort McHenry, the British decided to place Key and Skinner under arrest until the attack was completed.
As the bombardment commenced, Key began to report the results to the prisoners, who were initially concerned only with whether the flag was still flying. One hour, five hours, ten hours passed, and the British mercilessly pounded Fort McHenry! As the hours passed, the American captives began to cry out to God, for flag and country! Fifteen hours, twenty hours…for 25 hours the British shelled Fort Mc Henry, with over 1800 cannon balls, rockets, and mortar shells! The American cannons were not as powerful, and not being able to respond, they simply had to absorb the onslaught!
There are two differing versions of the end:
1.The huge flag continued to take direct hits from the British bombardment, which caused the pole to ultimately tilt. Key and Skinner observed the flag’s tilt, but did not understand the reason until later. As cannon balls fell, and the flag took hits, and began to tumble, several American soldiers ran-out to physically hold the flag in place. As those men died, several more soldiers would replace them! For 25 hours, as shells pounded the fort and hit the flag, and killed the soldiers, the tilt of the flag was the result of being held in place by the bodies of dead patriots!!!
2.For 25 hours, the fort took a merciless bombardment of nearly 2000 British cannon balls. In the providence of God, rain began to fall during the night, making the ground, in and around Fort McHenry soft. As the 1800 cannon balls hit, many failed to explode, or simply sunk into the softened earth. Of the over 1000 soldiers, not including women and children, only 4 people died!
Whichever version is literally true, after 25 hours of continuous British bombardment, the flag remained upright!! No White flag was ever raised over fort McHenry. A few weeks later a peace treaty was signed, and the nation was once again miraculously preserved!
At the end of the battle, the Holy Spirit inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the words to what we now call the Star-Spangled Banner! The second half of verse one tells the highlights of the battle:
“…And the rocket's red glare, the bomb bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there, O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Yet, it is the fourth verse, that offers witness to America’s divine preservation:
Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n rescued land Praise
the power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation! Then
conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto -
"In God is our trust"
Let’s review! It was Almighty God who:
1.Brought supernatural deliverance to Fort McHenry
2.Inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem…
including its lyrics!
3.Inspired America’s national motto from the fourth verse: “In
God we trust”
These points further give credence to what I pointed out in the last tidbit:
The National Anthem is permanently linked to the National Motto, which are both permanently linked to the American Flag; which are all permanently linked to America; which is permanently linked to THE GOD of America: Who is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ--Who sovereignly created all these links, AND offered all this inspiration!
To disrespect the National Anthem; to disrespect the Flag; to disrespect the National Motto; to disrespect America…is to disrespect God’s calling(work), AND the God of that calling!
The Bible declares:
-One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts (Ps145:4)
-They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness (Ps145:7)
-All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD (Ps145:10)
Here is my question: Can a Christian disrespect the works of God—and still honor God?
The answer is a resounding NO! What God has blessed…no man can curse (Num22:6,12,18)!!! On the contrary, if man attempts to curse what God has blessed, the curse reverts back to him(Gen12:1-3)!
It's not what you are that holds you back, it's what you think you are not. - Denis Waitley