The heat was nearly intolerable as a bee flew through the open window of the Pennsylvania State House and landed on the desk next to Benjamin Franklin. Mr. Franklin was too focused to notice. Sitting on the edge of his chair with his cane in his hand, He was concerned with one thing only: the Declaration of Independence. The date was July 4, 1776, and the Second Continental Congress was debating about and preparing to vote on the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. The document had been in revision since Thomas Jefferson had submitted the first draft on July 2. Franklin knew the risks involved in making such a declaration as did the 55 men around him. They felt so strongly about this, however, that they were willing to conclude the document with the words, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." A month later, as they signed the document on August second, these 56 men were willing to risk everything for the freedom of themselves and the people around them.
This weekend as we celebrate Independence Day, remember that there is someone who is holding much of the world around us in captivity. He has bound people in darkness and sin, but we have been called to join with Jesus whose mission statement was this: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18, 19). Preaching deliverance and liberty isn't the safest thing to do though. Do you understand the risks involved in making such a declaration? Are you willing to rely on the protection of divine Providence and pledge your lives, fortunes and sacred honor to support the declaration of freedom? My prayer is that you would be willing to risk everything for the freedom of yourselves and the people around you.