It was on this date back in 1793 that George Washington laid the cornerstone of what was to become the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. It seems that as the fledging United States was trying to figure out where the seat of government would be, more than eight different cities had played host during the time of the young republic. Philadelphia, Baltimore and even New York were several of the places that housed the government before 1791.
Finally, an Act was passed that gave George Washington the power to choose a permanent site to house the U.S. government and he chose what was to become the District of Columbia, the land for which had been donated by the state of Maryland. The design of the building went through several iterations and the powers that made the decision about the various elements of the Capitol even changed architects along the way.
Eventually, it took more than 100 years for the building to be completed – with the growing number of states and the corresponding number of representatives and senators. At one point, the Capitol almost burned to the ground and it was used for various purposes, including during the Civil War in the mid-1800’s. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say that the Capitol now encompasses almost 4 acres of offices and chambers and is visited by millions of visitors every year.
The Capitol houses the legislative branch of the government while the Supreme Court represents the judicial branch of the government and, of course, the executive branch is presided over by the President of the United States. Together, these three branches of government, unique to the United States, form the basis for the checks and balances that our forefathers designed hundreds of years ago – to ensure that no branch of the government was more powerful than the others.
The idea of government is not a new one. It was even mentioned in the Bible thousands of years ago. We are all familiar with the Scripture that tell us to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” and the passage that tells us that “the government would be on His shoulders” – referring to Jesus. But tonight’s verse is a little different. It has to do with Moses and how the number of disputes that he had to settle had escalated to the point that Moses needed help from others.
Toward that end, we are told that there would be judges appointed to handle the lesser disputes. Moses tells us, in Deut. 16:18-20, “Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly. Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
This idea of government and judging is at the forefront of everyone’s mind as this years’ elections roll around. We are getting closer to the time that we will choose a new President and emotions are running high about which candidate is worthy to lead the nation. It is beyond the scope of TBTB for me to offer opinions on this topic, but my encouragement to you this evening is that whoever wins the elections, we are to respect the office that they will occupy and it is important to remember that God will still be on the throne in heaven. My prayer is that you will acknowledge that God is still in control, and no matter who wins, life will continue by the grace of God. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…