“Blessed is the Nation Whose God Is YHWH”
Introduction: America is a land of immigrants. She has been blessed by the millions who have gained entrance through her shores. However, equally important are those who did not come to our land. This is especially true of our formative years.
From the first, God put a holy blockade around our land. He was very careful to keep the gold hunters out. The blockade began right after Columbus’ discovery.
The holy blockade was illustrated by:
I. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
When Columbus first discovered the New World, he heard the natives speak of a large island nearby. They called it Cuba; Columbus thought it was Japan.
He soon embarked for the island. He traveled northwest along the coast and felt convinced he had reached the eastern shore of China. He was convinced that the temples and palaces of gold that Marco Polo described were nearby.
Columbus wanted to press farther north, but long fierce headwinds stopped his northerly progress and forced him to turn back. He had come within 90 miles of Florida and was headed straight for it when the winds turned them back. God did not want greedy gold hunters in our land.
Columbus made a total of four voyages to the New World. Each time he tried to find a passageway through to China and Japan. He always felt they were nearby. Though he never found a passageway, he did find wealth.
On his fourth and final trip to the New World, he discovered a major source of gold in 1502. It was in Central America. That discovery began a tragedy that was far different from what God had in mind for our nation.
Because of this discovery, some of the cruelest and most brutal men in the history of the world were attracted there instead of here. The Central American countries were soon the scene of the bloodiest rape of a land the world has ever known, and all for the love of money.
Thank God for the holy blockade.
II. HERNANDO CORTEZ
On Good Friday 1519, Cortez and 600 soldiers landed on the mainland of Mexico. The Aztec emperor feared that the white god Quetzalcoatl had returned to avenge bad treatment he had received in the legendary past.
Gifts of gold and silver were sent to buy off the strangers. But this simply made the Spaniards hungry for more.
Cortez and his men were welcomed at the Aztec Capital (now Mexico City). The Spaniards immediately took Emperor Montezuma as a hostage. After the slaughter of countless thousands of Aztecs, Cortez was in control.
Cortez became very wealthy, and was very important in the politics of New Spain. By the end of his life he had over 20,000 Indian slaves working for him.
In 1535 Cortez led an abortive attempt to colonize the California peninsula. God refused to let such a man be successful here in this country. There was gold in California, but God kept it hidden for another 300 years. Thus, our West coast was spared another Aztec holocaust.
Thank God for the holy blockade.
III. VASCO DE BALBOA
Balboa helped settle a colony on Panama in 1510. However in 1513 his past began to catch up with him. He had left behind many unpaid creditors and he received word that he might be summoned to Spain to answer charges against him.
He felt his only hope for acquittal was a striking deed of valor, which would win the favor of the King and Queen. Fortunately, he had heard of rumors of gold in the South, not the North.
Hence, he took 190 of his best men and headed South to find the ocean that led to the fabled wealth of the Incas of Peru. He discovered the Pacific Ocean in September 25 and claimed it for the King and Queen of Spain.
His discovery did deliver him from his past, but not from a rocky future. In 1519 he was beheaded by his jealous superior, Governor Pedrarias, who convicted him of rebellion based on perjured testimony.
IV. FRANCISO PIZARRO
Balboa never made it to Peru, but one of his soldiers never forgot the tales about the gold. Pizarro was with Balboa when the Pacific was discovered. Being on that expedition caused Pizarro to go South rather than North.
His trip to Peru became a carbon copy of the Cortez slaughter in Mexico. Pizarro took the Inca chief captive by trickery, and demanded what he thought would be an impossible ransom. He commanded that a large room be filled to the ceiling with gold and silver.
To his amazement, the Incas met this ransom. Pizarro kept the gold and strangled the Indian ruler. The rest of this story can be told in two words: slaughter, slavery.
Pizarro may have been the most ruthless of all the conquistadors. God did not want him in Northern America. In 1541 Pizarro was assassinated in his own home by political enemies. They hacked him to death with swords.
Thank God for the holy blockade.
V. PONCE DE LEON
Early in the exploration proceedings, Florida became of interest to the Spanish, but not because of gold. Ponce de Leon had heard of a “Fountain of Youth” that existed in Florida. This spring supposedly restored youth to old people, and cured all ills. Ponce De Leon thought it might be Water of Life flowing from the long-lost Garden of Eden.
He first sighted Florida in 1513 on a search for the Fountain. But he waited till 1521 to make an all-out effort to find it.
However, his expedition had barely landed before they were fiercely attacked by Indians. The Commander himself suffered an arrow wound. The expedition hastily returned to Havana, Cuba, where De Leon shortly died.
God was determined to keep the rapacious conquistadors from ravaging the North.
Soon Spain tried again, for rumors began to spread of gold in the region.
VI. CABEZA DE VACA
De Vaca sailed to America in 1527 as second in command on the disastrous expedition of Pánfilo De Narvaez. This attempt to conquer Florida proved as unsuccessful as that of De Leon’s.
The climate, disease, and Indians killed all but De Vaca and three others. These four men tried to escape as best they could. They tried to sneak through Indian territories, but were captured a few times and made slaves. They would escape and continue their trek along the Gulf coast. After nine years of desperation, the four finally arrived in Mexico in 1536.
The Spanish wanted to know what the wayfarers had discovered. Was there gold in Florida? Silver? A Fountain of Youth? De Vaca simply described it thus: “It was a place of unbearable squalor.”
But not everyone was convinced.
VII. HERNANDO DE SOTO
De Soto was wealthy as a result of the help he gave Pizarro in destroying the Incas of Peru. De Soto spent his fortune trying to find riches in the Southeastern portion of what is now the United States.
Despite De Vaca’s assessment, De Soto believed Florida was “a land of gold.” He landed his expedition at Tampa Bay in May 1539. He had tried to get De Vaca to come along, but De Vaca wanted no part of that.
De Soto’s tour took him through lands that later became Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
On May 8, 1541 he discovered the Mississippi River. A year later, while still on this expedition, he died of fever. His men weighted his body and buried it in the river he discovered.
His men immediately headed for Mexico, and arrived there in 1543. Their report was essentially this: “De Soto looked for gold, but discovered instead a river, and a watery grave.”
Due to climate, disease, and ferocious Indians, the Spanish repeatedly failed to settle Florida. Finally, in 1565 they did establish St. Augustine, the oldest city in the USA. However, this city did not exert much influence on our way of life. It was even sacked and burned by Sir Francis Drake in 1586.
The Spanish did not fare any better in the mid-west than they had in the far west (California) and the east (Florida to Mississippi).
VIII. FRANCISCO CORONADO
In February 1540 Coronado and his men left Mexico and headed North to find the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, where the streets were supposedly paved with gold. They pushed through Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and even into Kansas.
The trip was arduous, but Coronado was not discouraged. He convinced himself that these hardships were God’s way of balancing accounts for the delights to come. They finally returned to Mexico tattered, exhausted, and empty-handed.
In the summer of 1542 Coronado made this report to his superiors: “The North has little riches to offer.” Our nation was spared.
Conclusion: The greedy Spaniards failed on all three fronts to make inroads into the North. As a result, the Spanish had very little influence on our nation’s beginnings. Thus, our country was spared their concepts of strong Catholicism that advocated no separation of Church and State. Also, their views on an unlimited monarchy which squelched human rights was kept out.
For America to be right, it had to begin right. So God kept the Spaniards out. That which made our south lands originally unattractive was what kept America safe.
This study helped me appreciate the sultry heat of Florida, the deserts of the southwest, and the barrenness of Texas. God blessed America.
American Folklore and Legend, (Reader’s Digest Assoc.).
Encyclopedia Americana, biographical articles in all men mentioned in sermon
Marshall, Peter and David Manuel, AThe Light and The Glory (Revell: Old Tapppen NJ, 1977)
World Book Encyclopedia