Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Throughout history it has been the general rule for most of humanity that they have lived under oppression and injustice. Think of the pagan empires of antiquity--Assyria, Rome; also the horrors of the Dark Ages (a professedly Christian era in Europe!), when the masses knew little but useless toil and privation.
In antiquity the only real relief was under the divine government of Israel. There it was the law, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof" (Lev. 25:10). That was rare! Had you been born in a pagan land, you likely would have been a poverty stricken peasant or even a slave conquered by a ruthless invading army (unless of course you had been one of the oppressors!). You would have been fortunate to live in a land where paganism was replaced by the worship of one true God.
The oppressions of Europe have not been far behind some of us who remember parents or grandparents who "came over" in order to escape oppression in Europe. Many found here not only liberty, but prosperity too. As a blot to high heaven, slavery in America has been the horror of antiquity brought back to life. What we enjoy in America would have seemed to ancient peoples as pure Heaven on earth. And yet many here still live in grinding poverty.
America, rejoice and revel in the multitude of your blessings! But "call to remembrance the former days" (Heb. 10:32). Think of what you would be were it not for the grace of God that lets you live under the American Constitution, however imperfect it may be, it has brought unequaled blessings, all the way from the commitment of those who signed the Declaration of Independence, fought the Revolutionary War, sacrificed themselves in the Civil War, helped win World Wars I and II, and in many ways have devoted themselves to the public good, up to the present.
Look upon what you have as not yours--only lent to you in trust to help relieve the still-present sufferings of humanity. Think of July 4 as a holy day.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 4, 2003.
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