• Today's Daily Devotion
Sabbath Rest: Pillars
Even though the earth is round, it stands on pillars. “The Great God has made the governments and rulers of the earth its pillars, and has set the world upon ...

Sabbath Rest: Pillars

Even though the earth is round, it stands on pillars.

“The Great God has made the governments and rulers of the earth its pillars, and has set the world upon them,” the Reverend Benjamin Colman declared to his Boston congregation on August 14, 1730. Although he preached years before anyone ever thought about a Continental Congress, Colman expressed a core belief held by many of the colonists that continued beyond the 1770s.

The messages of Colman and other prerevolutionary preachers led to a religious revival the vibrations of which extended from New England to Georgia. This Great Awakening took place between 1739 and 1742, but its ripples continued for generations. Historians have designated this awakening as the beginning of a new era, not just for the colonial faith but for the colonial mind.

Colman believed God ordained kings and their governments. His metaphor for the earth’s pillars came from Psalm 75:3: “When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.”

A building’s pillars are functional. Sometimes, they are a structure’s showpiece. “The pillar is a part of great use and honour in the building: So is magistracy in the world … Kings bear up and support the inferior pillars of government, and a righteous administration restores a dissolving state,” Colman said.

If God brings order to the world by ordaining governments and kings, then he also brings structure to his church. “In like manner, wise and faithful ministers are pillars in the Church: Which is built on the Prophets and Apostles, Jesus Christ being the chief Corner-stone, Eph. ii. 20,” Colman explained, adding that Christ told Peter he was the rock on which he would build his church.

Benjamin Colman’s sermon defines the way many colonists viewed both the government and the church. Earlier generations of Britons believed the king was appointed by God. English kings, such as Charles I a century earlier, believed in their own deity. But the colonists, particularly the direct descendants of the Puritans, rejected the divine rights of kings. However, they still embraced the belief that government was a pillar of the earth, established by God. As a result they elevated the king to the highest place of respect and obedience. They did not equate him with God, but to rebel against the king was to shake one of the pillars God had put in place.

For many, the Revolution was a wrestling of the heart and mind. Was it acceptable to push on the pillars God had established? Was there ever a justification for it? Would it result in an earthquake extending across the Atlantic Ocean? Many concluded that government was one of God’s pillars, but so was freedom from tyranny. Christ had set them free and they must stand firm for liberty.


You, O Lord, are my cornerstone. Be the architect of my life. Give me structure and strength that I may house a life that honors you.

“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. ‘For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s; upon them he has set the world’”

(1 Samuel 2:8).

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