What Makes a Great Nation?

The celebration of the thirty-ninth anniversary of Independence comes at a most propitious time in our nation’s history. The wave of lawlessness and the bad press of our seeming inability to address this menace threaten a major source of our income, namely tourism. Added to the above are the social ills that plague our nation and limited budget that equally pose obvious challenges. How do we celebrate under these conditions and possible threats?

It is hoped that these challenges will propel us to look beyond our helplessness to a Power and Source very much capable of remedying our situations for the best. However, it is not automatic, as it calls for a looking unto Him and recognizing that He is to be revered and worshiped. According to the fifth book of the Bible (Deuteronomy 4.7-9), it is observed that a nation is great “who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for. “ Additionally, it explains that a nation is great when it has “statutes and judgments so righteous.” Thirdly, a nation is great when it remembers God and passes on His teachings to successive generations as noted by Moses when he penned: “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.”
Based on these three points, one must ask, “How does our nation fare?” “Do we consider the importance of God’s presence, His statutes- and ensure that coming generations know Him?” Undoubtedly, these are questions pertaining to the Bahamas that need to be answered. More so, they are questions that beg answers from each of us.

Acknowledging God’s Presence
It may surprise you that we acknowledge God’s presence through small and apparently insignificant things. For example, saying thanks to God each morning we awake, recognizing that it was not by chance that we awoke. Also, before consuming the meal, saying thanks. Yes, we acknowledge His presence when we seek His guidance, mindful that He alone protects ultimately. We acknowledge His presence through learning to depend on Him and leaving our lives and the well-being of our family to Him for sustenance and not to chance and gambling. And so, before we retire for the night, we would want to thank God for His protection and leading during the course of the day; and ask for His protection while we sleep, for we are unaware of what might be lurking around.

Adhering to God’s Statutes
A nation without laws and regulations is a nation that is doomed for failure and chaos. But a nation that has laws and enforces them makes for a nation of order, discipline and law abiding citizens. Adherence to rules and regulations should begin at home and continue outside the home. It is when children are allowed to get away without discipline that they grow up to take greater chances and continue until they are caught. However, with proper disciplining and responsible parenting, many an embarrassment could have been prevented or avoided. Police Commissioner Greenslade’s appeal for us to pay attention to minor offences and infractions, if adhered to, will serve to have a great impact on law and order. Vandalism of public and private property could be avoided, and chances are our jails would not be so crowded, and funds expended for courthouses could be applied elsewhere.
A former US Judge, Roy Moore of Alabama, is possibly most remembered for his refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom wall. Because of this bold stand, he was removed from the bench. Notice the following poem that he wrote since then:

America the beautiful, or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrims’ pride; I’m glad they’ll never see.

Babies piled in dumpsters, Abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty; your house is on the sand.

Our children wander aimlessly poisoned by cocaine
Choosing to indulge their lusts, when God has said abstain

From sea to shining sea, our Nation turns away
From the teaching of God’s love and a need to always pray

We’ve kept God in our temples, how callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool, and Heaven is His throne.

Recalling God’s Favors and Blessings
A nation that recalls God’s blessings is a nation that shows gratitude and appreciation. Therefore, Bahamians ought to be the first among nationals to express thanks to God, for He has blessed us in so many ways. Consider our geography which is the envy of many; our economy, though challenged, now has the potential for a turn around; our people are gifted, and our seas are rich in resources. Above all, we need to pass on the legacy of these blessings which are to be attributed to God, for when a nation forgets its God, it is destined to failure and hardship; but when a nation remembers God, it is bound to be blessed and receive His favors.
Bahamas, if ever we needed the Lord, it is now. If ever we needed to know Him, it is now. Let’s put our trust in this God, for He is able to keep and sustain us individually and as a nation.

Have a Happy Independence!
Pastor Leonard A. Johnson, president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventists.