God said to Abram, "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you" (Gen. 12:1). God was calling Abram out of his natural identity into the dream He had to bless the nations. It was in that journey of faith that Abram became Abraham, the father of our faith.
God's dream revealed to Abraham marched down through the members of his family line, shaping their lives and destinies. Jacob, exiled and alone with nothing but a rock for a pillow, dreamed a dream in which God made him a promise: "This is the land that I will give you and your children's children."
God prospered Jacob and gave him a family, flocks, herds and a name, which he took home to his inheritance in Israel.
Joseph had a dream that got him into trouble with his brothers. From the pit to the dungeon to second in command of the civilized world, Joseph experienced God's dream as it was worked out in his life to save his family, and forge that band of brothers into a nation.
Dreaming of America
The same God who spoke to Abraham in dreams has spoken to the discoverers, fathers and founders of America from its inception right down to today.
Christopher Columbus' personal diary shows that it was Isaiah 40:22—"It is He who sits above the circle of the earth"—that made the young discoverer dream the earth was round, not flat:
"It was the Lord who put it into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies. All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me. ... For the execution of the voyage to the Indies, I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics or maps. It is simply the fulfillment of what Isaiah had prophesied. ... Oh, what a gracious Lord, who desires that people should perform for Him those things for which He holds Himself responsible!" (Columbus' Book of Prophecies).
Our Puritan fathers dreamed of "a shining city on a hill," a place where Christ was both the bedrock and borders of civil life and government.
The "father of our nation," George Washington, dreamed a dream of three great perils that would come upon the nation. The angel of the Lord told him the republic would come through these storms. Understanding that it is God and not man who governs the affairs of men, he said, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible."
His contemporary, Benjamin Franklin, wrote, "Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature." A witness of the First Great Awakening, Franklin wrote in his journal: "It seem'd as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk thro' the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street."Framer of the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson said, "The Christian religion is the best religion ever given to man." In his inaugural address, he appealed to the nation:
"I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with His providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power, and to whose goodness I ask you to join in supplications with me that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations."
Before Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro, Chavez or Ahmadinejab, father of American education William Penn said, "If we will not be governed by God, then we will be ruled by tyrants." A true prophecy that has come to pass in many places where societies are not raised on the Judeo-Christian bedrock.
Daniel Webster gave America its original English-language dictionary. He said: "Let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary."
During the nation's greatest trial to date, the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of National Prayer and Fasting and said: "We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."
Martin Luther King Jr., America's most famous "dreamer," envisioned a nation where character creates destiny, community and government. Was his dream only skin deep? His life and death testify that his dream was deeper, wider, more sacred and higher.
All these are dreams from our fathers. Their voices still speak today. They are calling us to awaken out of sleep.
Awaking to God's Dream
God asked Amos, "Can two walk together unless they are agreed?"
God began a journey called the American dream, and that dream is still marching on. Will we walk with Him, or choose to walk to the beat of a different drummer?
The Lord is speaking to us today as Americans to bring us into clear spiritual realization that we have an inheritance and an exceptional national destiny. We are engaged in a spiritual struggle for the harvest of righteousness sown by the Holy Spirit in the dreams from our fathers.
You are a part of God's dream come true. God planned in advance the national identity of every person (Act 17:26). As you awaken to your full inheritance, as you take a stand for our Christian heritage, as you speak with your neighbors and friends, as you refuse to compromise, as you vote, you will also find you have an important voice, and a crucial part to play in a great adventure—God's dream for America.