Night Whispers - March 4

Night Whispers Devotional

March 4th

Dream word – HONOUR

Malachi 1:6

“A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honour? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts.” NKJV.

Rough and ready

Driving along the Brownsboro road from Louisville to the city of Goshen Kentucky, I would pass the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery and always gaze at the regimented white gravestones all neatly lined in rows. Of course it is here, where Virginia born but Kentucky bred and prospered, former President of the United States lies interned on his own plot of land in his own mausoleum. Just a few miles down the road on the left hand side, still part of an old farm lay another old mausoleum, a white wooden church, which I am sure a heavy sneeze would have brought crashing down around it’s ears. This old church is the remains of a former slave church. I do not know where its original occupiers are interred.

Zachary Taylor, “old rough and ready,” descended from Edward 1st, and having not a few near relatives by blood and marriage as an high ranking Confederate officer, had a military career in the US Army himself, spanning some 40 years. Nevertheless, he and his family were still the proud owners of 10,000 acres of slave plantation in Kentucky. 

It was the slavery issue which dominated Taylor's short term in office and I wonder, if the assassination theories are correct, (Taylor’s family had his body exhumed in the 1990’s to check for arsenic poisoning) and that it was that which also got him killed? You see, although President Taylor owned slaves, he took a moderate stance on the territorial expansion of slavery and this angered fellow Southerners. Indeed, in answer to their sabre rattling, he told them that if necessary to enforce the laws, he personally would lead the Army and “Any persons taken in rebellion against the Union, he would hang… with less reluctance than he had hanged deserters and spies in Mexico.” President Taylor died in mysterious circumstances whilst the Henry Clay Compromise of 1850 was being debated. The compromise failed.

I am focusing on this story tonight, not to indulge in the conspiracy theory musings of the majority of United States citizens but to acknowledge both a different age and a different perspective. An age where today in 1849, Zachary Taylor, an elected slave owning President of the United States could not be sworn into office because his inauguration was on a Sunday! This old Episcopalian did not wish to violate the Lord’s day and thus for one whole day the nation was forced to proceed without a President. The nation, it’s young bureaucratic wheels, the emissaries of foreign powers, dignitaries and paying customers one and all, all had to wait while old rough and ready gave God the honour He so rightly deserves.

Times have, in many respects, unquestionably changed for the better, but my how in many more respects maybe, times have also changed for the far, far worse.

In the human condition, times are rarely optimal and people, nations, societies and communities are all, in one way or another, in a constant mess of change. The same will, to some extent, be true of your community today, whether it be nation, city, church, work or family. The lesson from old rough and ready President Zachary Taylor is very simple tonight. No matter how rough the situation is, always be ready to give God the honour and the glory He so richly deserves. Even if it means closing down the country for a day!

Listen: “Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honour before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.” - Jeremiah 33:9 NKJV

Pray: Lord tonight we pray for our leaders and ourselves as leaders. We are pulled down and broken Lord, heaped up to the hilt in death and swill.  In Your anger O Lord, remember mercy.  In Your fury, do not forget Your goodness. In Your hostility, no longer hide Your face from us. Rather, by the blood bought grace of Jesus, bring us health and healing; and reveal to us the abundance of peace and truth. Cause our captivity to cease and rebuild those places we have pulled down and cleanse us from all our iniquity by which they have sinned against You, in Jesus name we pray, amen. (Adapted from Jeremiah 33:4-8)

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