On August 26, 1783, General George Washington addressed Congress in session at Princeton, New Jersey, graciously accepting their accolades but humbly reminding them that the credit for the victory over Great Britain should go to many others, especially to God:
“Notwithstanding Congress seems to estimate the value of my life beyond any services I have been able to render the United States, yet I must be permitted to consider the wisdom and unanimity of our national councils, the firmness of our citizens, and the patience and bravery of our troops, who have produced so happy a termination of the war, as the most conspicuous effect of the Divine interposition, and the surest presage of our future happiness….
“Perhaps, sir, no occasion may offer more suitable than the present to express my humble thanks to God, and my grateful acknowledgements to my country, for the great and uniform support I have received in every vicissitude and fortune, and for the many distinguished honors which Congress has been pleased to confer upon me in the course of the war.”*
George Washington’s humility and his acknowledgement of God’s vital role in it America’s victory over the world’s greatest military power is yet another lost episode in American history.
Read and reflect: Read Isaiah 12:4-6 and reflect on the call to praise God for his deliverance and compare it with the sentiments expressed by Washington.
Prayer: Praise to the Holy One of Israel who has done mighty things in our midst. May we continue to remember and declare your deeds among the peoples with humility and thanksgiving, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: George Washington’s address to Congress in session at Princeton, New Jersey as found in Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington; being His Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and Other Papers, Official and Private, Selected and Published from the Original Manuscripts, 12 vols., (New York: F. Andrew’s, 1834-47), 8:475.