Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial

image used under Creative Commons license, photo by Justo Ruiz on Flickr
Exodus 12:14 (KJV)  And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

OK.  I know I'm stretching it a bit with that verse.  The holiday, in the US, is Memorial Day, honoring military members who gave their lives to protect our country.  Scripture is talking about the original Passover becoming a consistent annual celebration.

With the original Passover, the Jews had a specific ceremony, after which they were to put the blood of the paschal lamb on their doorposts.  That would be notice to God that they were His and He wouldn't kill their firstborn.  There is a similarity to our holiday.  The military who gave their lives, did so that our firstborn (and others) be protected from an enemy.

Joshua 5:14a (KJV)  And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come.

That verse is an angel responding when Joshua asked if he was for the Israelites or not.  Maybe it's because it is Memorial Day, here in the US, but it got me thinking about the phrase "the army of the Lord".  There's a song with that phrase, I've heard people use that phrase in terms of their evangelism, making it sound like we're essential to that happening.  And I can understand being pumped up about doing God's work.  I certainly do.

When we look in the Bible, we get a different picture.  While the Jews and others had (and have) armies, none are referred to as the host of the Lord or God's army.  That kind of terminology is reserved for God's angelic host.  If we think about it, we still need protecting and help in most really big spiritual battles.  So, why does God have us get into the thick of it?

As I was meditating on why God makes such active use of us, several thoughts came to mind.
  1. God is God.  He doesn't need our help.  He doesn't even need the angelic host.  Nothing can overcome the Lord.  So, He uses the angels and us because of other reasons.
  2. Like confession and prayer, this is another opportunity for us to see where we're at, internally, and whose side we're on.
  3. God wants us to have a sense of our unity with Him.  What better way than to see Him work through us?
So, any connection we might have to God's army isn't because He needs us to fight His battles. God wants us to have the blessings that go along with the status of being connected with Him.  Just some thoughts on our service to God.  But let's get back to Memorial Day.

Genesis 13:9b (KJV)  if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

That was the verse for May 25 in "My Utmost for His Highest".  In discussing that verse, Oswald Chambers said, "God sometimes allows you to get into a place of testing where your own welfare would be the appropriate thing to consider, if you were not living the life of faith.".  Particularly today, those entering the military make the choice to hope in returning home intact.  But more importantly, they choose to place our well being ahead of their own, knowing they could return home greatly injured or dead.  They're willing to make that sacrifice for us.  That's a humbling thought.

Most pictures available for Memorial Day include American flags.  I chose one that didn't.  That's Arlington cemetery, where our military can be buried.  While today celebrates the sacrifice and the heart of those who gave their lives for our country, I realize that other countries have such places and their own holiday to honor their fallen heroes and heroines.  So, while we here in the US celebrate the fallen members of our military, those of you in other countries might want to take some extra time to celebrate those who gave their lives for your rights and countries.

2 comments:

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  2. Bill I was thinking the same thing as the last few sentences of your article when I helped produce this little bit for the glory of God and the memory of the fallen who defended what is right and just everywhere. Tell me what you think please, it's an audio file located at http://cqsbusinesssolutions.com/happy-memorial-day-2014

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