Devotion for the Week of March 4, 2013 - INDEPENDENCE AND DEPENDENCE


Leviticus 25:10, “…and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof:”

The year 1776 is a year that every American recognizes as the Birthday of our country.  However, many are not aware of God’s hand in two other events in that year.  George Washington and his troops found themselves trapped on Long Island by the British forces led by General Howe.  Washington had 8,000 men and the English forces surrounded him in a semi-circle.  Behind him the British ships were preparing to cut off any attempt at retreat. 

Washington devised a strategy that by man’s standards seemed impossible.  He collected every boat he could find and set out to remove his troops at night.  Surely the British would see the ships in the moonlight, or hear the oars of dozens of ships splashing in the water.  Historian John Fiske wrote about this event and said this, “The Americans had been remarkably favored by the sudden rise of a fog which covered the East River.”  The next morning the British were shocked to see that the American troops had seemingly vanished.  This opportunity for the British to finish off their enemy and end the war would never come again.  God had guided the mind of Washington, silenced the oars, and blinded the eyes of the enemy.

A second event that took place in 1776 was the Battle of Trenton.  The American troops were getting ready to prepare for winter.  Washington knew that many of his men were discouraged and that many were considering leaving.  The only hope for the Colonial army to stay together was to win a victory.

On Christmas day, Washington moved his troops toward the Delaware River.  The troops made the dangerous crossing without losing one man.  How was it possible for all of these boats to cross an icy river in pitch black?  The only explanation is the protection of an all powerful God.  If the American soldiers had been seen crossing, they would have been easily captured.  The Hessian soldiers who were in the fort at Trenton had been celebrating Christmas and were completely surprised by Washington’s men.  The Hessians were routed, and the Americans experienced their first great victory over the forces of the British.

There is a famous picture of George Washington kneeling in the snow and praying after he crossed the Delaware.  No doubt he was thanking God for giving him the plan and protecting his men from a very dangerous situation, and for giving them a great victory.  1776 was the year we declared our independence, but it was also the year we learned our dependence on God.


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