When God fights for us
by Sparta Live | July 2, 2018 9:14 am
By Steve Qualls – Christpoint Church
A young America during the war of 1812 and an oppressed Israel in the days of the judges have more in common than one could imagine. Both needed a decisive victory against a more powerful foe.
On Aug. 24, 1814, British troops invaded the United States at our nation’s capital. They captured the city of Washington and burned many of its buildings including the White House. It was an embarrassing and devastating blow to America. The invading enemy then set its sights on destroying and controlling Fort McHenry, at Baltimore. By gutting the eastern coast of the United States, at Washington and Baltimore, would have all but ensured a British victory in the War of 1812.
In the early morning hours of Sept. 13, the British began bombing the fort, at Baltimore. For 25 hours, the attack continued. Mortar after mortar fell upon Fort McHenry. Washington had fallen, and now the only thing standing in the way of American freedom was a lonely fort with a single American flag flying high above the rampart. They needed a God-sized miracle to work alongside their determination and resolve to defend our United States of America.
In the Old Testament book of Judges chapter 4, the nation of Israel needed a God-sized miracle of its own. The Jewish nation was being judged at the time by a wise and just individual by the name of Deborah. They were being ruled by Jabin, the king of Canaan, and oppressed by his commanding officer, Sisera. She summoned her military commander, Barak, to battle against Sisera at a place that God himself chose by the river Kishon. Sisera came against the army of Israel with 900 chariots. Chariots would be the equivalent of tanks today. Then something happened that ties Old Testament Israel with America, on Sept. 13-14 of 1812. God sent the rain. And not just a drizzle or a soaking rain, but a downpour, which was described by American and Jewish historians as a torrent, fell upon both battles.
Judges chapter 5 tells us the clouds sank to the earth, and the rains fell, and the river Kishon swept the enemy away. Horses and chariots are useless in battle when the mud is too heavy for them to maneuver. Israel won that battle because God leveled the playing field and brought about a great victory.
History repeated itself on that September day, in 1814, when the new British weapon, the Congreve rocket that was designed to explode in a fireball over the target and cause massive fires to break out, was one of the many continuous mortars fired at the fort. The British wanted to burn the fort to the ground. America needed a God-sized miracle, and God sent a torrent of rain as the shelling continued all day and through the night.
As the story goes, a local lawyer aboard a ship in the harbor was sent to negotiate the surrender of an American surgeon being held prisoner by the British and witnessed the entire battle first hand. He watched the rockets’ red glare over his home as they lit up the night sky. He saw the bombs bursting in the air over and over as they rained down fire. But with every burst of light and explosion through the heavy downpour, his eyes were fixed on one object – one symbol of freedom and endurance. He watched for proof through the night that our flag was still there. He knew that as long as the banner of freedom flew over the threats of men there was hope.
Men and women died that night defending our flag, and in the early morning hours of September 14, 1814, the dawn began to break. The fog lay heavy on the harbor from the rain as it mixed with the smoke and haze from the battle. The lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key penned the words:
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs 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
God brought about a torrent of rain and saved our nation from invasion. The Great American Garrison flag of 42 feet long was raised that morning for friend and enemy alike to see for many miles away, and our national anthem was birthed during that battle. There were more stanzas written by Key that are not a part of our song today. As the anthem goes on it finishes with these lyrics:
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Our freedom to be able to worship has been paid for by millions of lives. Our salvation was paid for by Christ. Let’s choose to worship together this Sunday. Come on out to Christpoint Church on the square in Sparta. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.