Who comes to mind when you think about America’s greatest president? Is it Kennedy, Truman, Washington or perhaps Jefferson? There have been a handful of truly great presidents, but one name that usually comes to the forefront of most Americans’ minds is Abraham Lincoln.
He’s credited with leading our nation during one of the darkest times in our history. The Civil War took more than 600,000 American lives. The nation began to rip apart at the seams. South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860. This action created a domino effect as more states such as Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee followed suit. It was like the Titanic, splitting in two pieces, as it sank into the frigid ocean waters.
Luckily, the United States did not sink as a result of the Civil War. Through Abraham Lincoln’s leadership and God’s providence, the U.S. was able to fix the hull of its broken vessel.
What made Abraham Lincoln a great president, and a leader who was able to navigate through icy waters? I’d say a key factor was Lincoln’s faith in God, and his devotion to the principles of Christianity.
As early as 1854 Lincoln began voicing his opposition to slavery, as he was morally opposed to it. Throughout Lincoln’s early political career he did not campaign for complete equality of the races, but over time he became more supportive of equal rights and eventually called for the emancipation of the slaves. Initially, Lincoln supported the idea of colonizing the slaves (African Americans). He felt sending them to places such as Central America and Liberia would give them a chance for a new life, free from white prejudice. He wasn’t even sure blacks and whites could get along after all the strife that had occurred. Lincoln’s views changed on this issue over time and he came to believe the unity of blacks and whites was possible. He believed division could be overcome.
On September 22, 1862 he issued the Emancipation Proclamation and is quoted as saying, “I can only trust in God I have made no mistake…It is now for the country and the world to pass judgment on it.” The war would eventually end, and Lincoln and the Union would win. But not without great division. Before the outbreak of war, Lincoln gave a rather prophetic speech on June 16, 1858. He stated, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved- I do not expect the house to fall- but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or the other.” Lincoln’s inspiration came from a verse in the Bible- Mark 3:25, which says, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
The truth is, Lincoln knew the country would be divided on slavery. He knew the country had to unite in order to stand. The country, in this case, had to put aside their differences and do what was right- the abolishment of slavery.
Lincoln was also a clear and vocal supporter of the Jews. He had a high regard for them as God’s ancient people. Some of Lincoln’s closest advisors and friends were Jewish, his own doctor included. Lincoln’s policies favored the Jewish people, and he went out of his way to make sure prejudice against them was not tolerated. Lincoln grew up in a religious, Calvinist family, who taught him about the Old Testament, and the Jewish people. He is quoted as saying, “I myself, have regard for the Jews.” On March 20, 2015, a special exhibit called Lincoln and the Jews opened in New York City. The exhibit highlights Lincoln’s relationship with the Jewish people, and how he supported them.
Perhaps Lincoln’s support for the Jews, and for emancipation are not so different. The slaves were mistreated and misused for too long. They were persecuted and battered- their rights taken away. For centuries the Jewish people have been persecuted and mistreated- thrown out of their own counties, their rights taken and dispersed among the nations. Lincoln didn’t even see the carnage that took place during the Holocaust. I can only imagine how he’d react.
So what would Lincoln think about America’s relationship with Israel right now? The once strong relationship forged back in 1948 (when America became the first nation to recognize Israel), is becoming strained. There are cracks forming in our “unsinkable” ship. Two nations, once forged together, seem to be tearing at the seams. The rivets that held the ship together are popping loose, as world politics keeps sending forth new icebergs.
The United States and Israel are starting to look like a divided house. Maybe some people think the United States doesn’t need Israel. It can stand on its own. Not so. The two countries were forged together through God’s prophetic plan. God blessed the United States with great land, wealth and power. Now leaders in the U.S. government want Israel to give away pieces of its God-given land. They want Israel to become slaves to terrorists. This is not what God wants. Like the South, who seceded in the Civil War, we can’t just secede from Israel. We can’t back anti-Israel policies because the world wants their version of peace. That peace will not come from negotiating with terrorist nations just as peace would not come from holding on to the idea of slavery.
Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865. He passed away the next day on April 15, on Good Friday, which was also the fifth day of Passover. I couldn’t help but think of Lincoln on April 15, 2014, when the first blood moon (total lunar eclipse) happened on Passover. Though it was exactly 149 years later, Lincoln’s words and ideals still rang true. “A house divided cannot stand.” April 15, 2014 was also the anniversary of Titanic’s sinking. It hit the iceberg on April 14, and sank on April 15, 1912. That evening, when I watched the eclipse, I couldn’t help but wonder if America would stand. Would America stand with God’s plan? Would America cut its ties with Israel in the future, dividing these nations? It was a disturbing thought. A house divided against God’s plan cannot stand. It will eventually get blown down like the story of the Three Little Pigs. It will eventually sink like Titanic. The dates matching up may be coincidence, but as I always say What Are The Chances?