DIVIDED…..WE ARE FALLING
“United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” The slogan first appeared in the fourth verse of “The Liberty Song”—a patriotic song written by John Dickinson in protest of the Townshend Acts of 1767. The laws were meant to show the colonists that the mother country was still in charge and could levy taxes as she pleased. Just like the Stamp Act earlier, it was also met with boycotts. The “Liberty Song,” especially the fourth verse, quickly became a favorite at political meetings and celebrations. The colonists understood the importance of unity to their struggle for independence. In the years since, the slogan “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” has appeared in many songs, public speeches and state seals. Americans have come to believe that a nation as large and diverse as ours can survive only if we remain united.
At a time when our nation is facing financial storms, it is paramount that we remain united as a people. It doesn’t help when some politicians use divisive speech to gain votes. Recently, class warfare has been the choice method to boost the election polls. At a time when Americans are losing jobs and facing financial hardships, any rhetoric that pits the poor against the wealthy or vice-versa only breeds fear and suspicion among fellow citizens. Never before have Americans been more divided on the issue of wealth than now. Add to this moral and social issues and the divide is even greater! What Americans desperately need is a leader who will unite our people in a common struggle to improve our economy. We need to fight a common enemy and not each other.
The Bible records a similar time in the Old Testament. Morale was at an all-time low. Israel had suffered two humiliating defeats at the hands of the Philistines. In the first, four thousand had died and in the second, thirty thousand had died. The Ark of the Lord had been captured by the enemy. This was a terrible blow for the people of Israel, for whom the Ark represented the presence of God. One woman even named her newborn “Ichabod”— meaning the “glory has departed from Israel.” Such was the description of the times. The people of Israel were divided with no leader and no vision for the future.
But God had raised a leader named Samuel. This man knew that before any change could happen, the people had to be united. It was no use trying to rally them against the Philistines until they could put aside their petty disagreements and become one people. So for twenty years, he travelled up and down the country, urging the people to put aside their idols and turn to the living God. Anywhere he could gather an audience he would speak to them, calling them to repentance and unity. It worked! The people threw away their false gods and turned from their sinful behaviors to the living God. 1 Samuel 7:2 “. . . And ALL the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.” For the first time there was unity among the people. They were one voice in their cry to God. Not only was the Ark returned but God Himself fought their battle against the enemy.
Following their victory, Samuel erected a stone at the very place that they had been defeated twenty years ago and called it “Ebenezer”—“thus far the Lord has helped us.” This was to serve as a reminder that God is faithful when we call on Him as one people. America needs a leader who will unite the people to call upon God. “United We Stand Before God, Divided We Fall Before the World.”