Article II., Section 3 of The United States Constitution says the following.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
Like much of the rest of our Constitution, the interpretation of that section of the Constitution has degenerated. Thus, the State of the Union has become a grand stage show. Our president makes a flowery speech before both houses of Congress. Like many of his predecessors, only worse, the current occupant of the White House uses the opportunity to further his agenda by promising us “other” people’s money and defining his enemies.
Perhaps, if we held the State of the Union on Independence day, more of us would insist that our president’s speech focus on how well our nation upholds the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence. As it is, even on Independence Day, we rarely consider the cause of the celebration. We wave flags at marching bands and pretty floats, not the heroes who left as their legacy, our liberty. We ooh and we aahh to booming of fireworks. We have forgotten the sacrifices, the long campaigns, the endless waiting, the arduous marches, the cold, the heat, the desperation, the men and women who gave their all in hard fought battles. Instead, we use gloriously colorful fireworks to symbolize the struggles that gave us our liberty, not the drab weariness characterizes a long war.
Yet if we are more thoughtful, if we love our family, friends, and neighbors, the events here of late must alarm us. If we understand the value living in a free country — if we are not blind to the threat to our nation’s institutions — then we must see that those institutions are failing. We must see the unraveling of bonds that once united the People of United States.
What is happening? What is the difference between an enslaved people and a free people? Slave peoples submit to the rule of men. Free peoples uphold the rule of law.
Why would any people submit to the rule of other men, mere mortals like themselves. Because we have put our trust in the wrong place, we would do so in terror.
Jeremiah 17:5-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
5 Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Instead of trusting in God, we look to our self. Because our pride is misplaced, we risk failing like that shrub in the desert. Instead of trying to see everything through our Lord’s eyes, we take the measure of all things relative to our own desires. Instead of serving God and our family, friends, and neighbors, we seek first and foremost our own wants. Yet what matters is that God, the Creator, loves us, not that a puny man loves himself. We are nothing. The universe is too big, too complex, for us. Thus, the man who cares only himself finds himself alone, helpless, and afraid.
Why would a people submit to the rule of law? It is in the hearts of men to do so. Hence, we have the Code of Hammurabi and the Athenian and Roman republics. At God’s inspiration, Moses explained it to the Hebrews this way.
Deuteronomy 10:12-22 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Essence of the Law
12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? 14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 The Lord delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 18 He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 19 Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 21 He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. 22 Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude.
Because our Constitution is the creation of men, not God, many confuse the meaning of a secular government. Too many think we can govern ourselves without God. We cannot. Unless we each choose to be guided by God, then we cannot behave honorably. We cannot make honorable laws. Nor can we honor the laws we create. We can only selfishly pursue our own ends. Then our leaders must divide us, terrorize us, and enslave us.