Remembering The Fallen
By Pastor J.D. Link
Psalm 120:6-7 says, “My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.” The Serenity prayer says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.” There are many things we have no control over. We must be at peace with this. Only how we view and react and conduct ourselves is in our power.
King David recognized that peace was not wholly up to him. Though we may desire peace (and as Christians, we certainly should – Ps 34:14, Mt 5:9, 1Pt 3:10-11), and live peacefully “as much as it depends on us” (Rom 12:18) – others may share that desire. Unfortunately, there are many men who do not wish to live at peace with others.
At this point, pacifists will either allow evil-doers to have their way; or those of the warrior heart will stand and resist evil. St. Augustine said the purpose for war is ultimately peace. There are those who would argue that war is never justifiable, but they would be in opposition to God Himself – who not only allowed wars, but at times commanded them to be fought. Jesus is called the Captain of the Hosts in Joshua (Jos 5:13-15); and in Revelation, He is described as the mighty Warrior-King, who rides upon a white horse with a sword coming forth from His mouth; making war and treading the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God (Rev 19:11-16). The Lord is a man of war (Exo 15:3).
In Numbers, the verse “be sure your sins will find you out” is in reference to certain tribes of Israel being warned that if they did not arm themselves and go fight, that would be a sin they would be held accountable for (Num 32:20-23). King David attributed his success on the battlefield to God (Ps 144:1, 18:34, 29). Nehemiah encouraged his people to arm themselves and fight for their wives and children and homes (Neh 4:13-14).
Even in the New Testament, we are told to put on the armor of God, war a good warfare, be a good soldier and fight the good fight of faith. If God was dead set against war in every circumstance, why all these military references in the New Testament? True, there are greedy profiteers in every war; and there will always be those who use war for selfish gain – but this does not mean that there are not noble and just causes for going to war. To fight for what is right is good and Godly; and it is those heroes who have died defending this nation, and upholding noble values, that we honor on Memorial Day.
Our Lord Jesus said the greatest demonstration of love is to lay down your life for your friends (Jn 15:13). Many combat veterans have said in the heat of battle, they fight not for a cause or a flag – but for the man to their right and left. Whatever we may think of war and politics, we must never confuse that with honoring those brave souls who have pushed through fear and done their duty with honor – even unto death. Selah.