On the third Monday of January each year, America observes the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in recognition of his active involvement in the fight against racial discrimination and his fight for equality amongst men. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, but many still remember him for spear-heading the Montgomery Bus Boycott and his famous “I have a dream” speech.
As our beloved five year old son, Reuben and I were talking about the diabolical effects of segregation and racial prejudice, he said “Underneath our skin, we all have the same colored blood, correct?” and I could tell that his mind was seeking an answer to the question, “How can man be so blind to not see beyond the skin?” I used the opportunity to tell him, how God created man, both male and female, in his own image and that we are all made equal in the sight of God for there is no partiality in God (Romans 2:11). Then as I read the “I Have a Dream” speech, it dawned on me that from each section of the speech, there is hidden in it a beautiful reference to the Bible. The Bible is inspired by God and so in that sense can be said to be THE KING’S speech, for God is King over all, or rightfully so, it must be “The KING of kings Speech”.
Given below is excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech (in red italics) following which is a reference to the Scripture.
It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
Psalm 30:5 states “… in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
God’s favor is life. Our trials are tribulations are merely temporary.
So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
Psalm 69:5 states “O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.”
Psalm 69: 7 “shame hath covered my face.”
Sin is a shameful condition and Romans 3:23 asserts that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God
This note was a promise that all men, … would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
2 Peter 3:9 states that God is patient not wanting anyone to perish, but that all come to repentance and have eternal life. Jesus’ sacrifice makes this possible.
2 Corinthians 3:17 states that “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 states that “Blessed (happy) are those who trust in the Lord (Jesus Christ), whose hope is the Lord (Jesus Christ). For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
Only in Jesus are we guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and happiness.
Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
Psalm 40:2 informs us that Jesus lifts those who are in the miry pit (quick sands) of sin and sets their feet on a rock solid foundation; on himself.
There will be neither rest nor tranquility … until … one is granted his citizenship rights.
Philippians 3:20 asserts that “Our citizenship is in heaven from where we look for our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
John 14:2-3 assures us that “Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, so that we may be where He is (in his Father’s house, which is in heaven).
Revelation 21:4 asserts that in the presence of God, there will be no tear left unwiped, for God will wipe away every tear.
Only in the presence of God, is there true rest and tranquility.
Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
Matthew 5:44 counsels us to “Love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us”
Jesus said. If someone strikes you on your cheek, turn to him the other as well as recorded in Matthew 5:39.
Jesus was indeed saying, don’t drink from the cup of bitterness and hatred by saying “Fight hate with love”
They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
John 17:21 records that Lord prayer wherein, Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples, that we may be one, so that the world would believe that Jesus was sent by God. We cannot walk alone.
No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
Amos 5:4 states that we ought to seek God so that we can live and Amos 5:24 records that judgment will roll down as waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
We must seek God and not be satisfied until we find Him. Jesus said, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all things shall be added unto you, which is recorded in Matthew 6:33.
Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
James 1:2-4 counsels us that persecution produces perfection.
1 Timothy 6:12 counsels us to fight the good fight of faith and hold on to eternal life.
We must continue to work with (keep) the faith that the present suffering is nothing compared to the future glory, in a city whose builder in God as recorded in Hebrews 11.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
Psalm 23:4 assures us that even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, there is nothing to fear (nor despair).
Death is but a shadow to all those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and that means those who are sanctified and saved have no reason to wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.
James 4:13 teaches us that if we plan for the day or for the next, let it be so, according to God’s will
Matthew 6:34 informs us that tomorrow has enough troubles of its own.
So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, let us dream that it is according to God’s will.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.
Genesis 1:27 proves that God created man, both male and female in the image of God
Romans 2:11 states that in God, there is no partiality (i.e.,) all are created equal.
I have a dream that one day … the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
John 15:15 records Jesus’ words, “I call you not servants (slaves), but friends”. But Jesus did not stop there, after his resurrection, he called his disciples, brothers as recorded in John 20:17.
When we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are changed from slaves to brothers and can sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day … a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
Isaiah 32:1 records “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.”
Injustice shall be turned to justice and oppression into an oasis of freedom and justice, because Jesus the king will reign in righteousness.
I have a dream that my … little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Philippians 2:15 counsels us that we ought to be blameless and harmless, as sons (and daughters of God), without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, wherein we ought to shine as lights in the world. Our belief in Christ Jesus imputes his righteousness on us and makes us blameless as sons of God, and when judged by men, let us be judged for the content of our character – one that emulates Jesus Christ.
I have a dream that one day, … will be able to join hands … as sisters and brothers.
Mathew 12:48-50 records two rhetorical questions of Jesus, wherein he asked: Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? He himself then answered, “Whoever does the will of God the Father who is in heaven, is his brother, and sister, and mother.
When we do God’s will, we join hands as sisters and brothers of Jesus Christ.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
The Prophet Isaiah brings the word of the Lord, in Isaiah 40:4-5 that “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back … with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
The opposite of fear is not courage, but faith. When the disciples were afraid in the boat, Jesus did not say, “O ye of little courage”, but instead said, “O ye of little faith” as recorded in Matthew 8:26. Faith drives out fear and this is our faith as recorded in Matthew 12:21 that Jesus Christ is the hope of all nations.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the … spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Galatians 3:28 states “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
John 8:36 asserts that “He whom Jesus, the Son of God, sets free, is free indeed”
Free at last, thank God Almighty, because of Jesus, man can be free at last!.
Points to ponder:
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is known, remembered and celebrated for his fight against and victory over physical oppression.
Jesus Christ, the King of kings, is known, but sadly not always remembered and celebrated for his fight against and victory over spiritual oppression of the devil.
God is saying, “I have a dream”. Dream that all men come to repentance and believe in Him, for the sin of the world is unbelief in God (John 16:9). God’s dream is that you and I are free!
Are you free? Free from the bondage of sin and its wages, which is death? If not, I pray that you Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for He will set you free and that is His Dream (desire).