Memorial Day History
Sunday May 28, 2017
These – War is a significant part of Biblical history and God’s interaction on earth. He has gifted certain individuals to be fighters. We should honor those who have served our country in war just as we honor those who serve in other significant ways.
The appropriateness of giving honor and remembering
- It is appropriate, and Biblically correct, to establish holidays to honor those who came before us. Deuteronomy 32:7 – Remember the days of old. Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you
Highlights of Memorial Day history
- 1868 – after the Civil War, General John Logan issued a proclamation calling for a special day each year to decorate the graves of the men who had died during the Civil War. His proclamation read, in part, “The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
- Initially, this annual commemoration was known as Decoration Day.
- By 1890, every state recognized Decoration Day.
- 1918 – after World War I the name Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day in order to commemorate those who died in all American wars.
- 1968 – the Uniform Monday Holiday Act changed Memorial Day to the last Monday in May. This took effect in 1971.
War is part of God’s Word
- Isaiah 13:3 – I have commanded My sanctified one; I have also called My mighty ones for My anger – those who rejoice in My exaltation.
- 1 Chronicles 5:22 – for many fell dead, because the war was God’s. And they dwelt in their place until the captivity.
- Revelation 19:11 – Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
- Throughout the Bible there are references to God performing miracles on behalf of military operations:
- Exodus 14 – the parting of the Red Sea allowed the Israelites to escape the army of Pharaoh.
- Exodus 17 – God allowed the Israelites to defeat the Amalakites as long as Moses kept his hands raised.
- Joshua 6 – the fall of Jericho’s walls was a military operation.
- Joshua 10 – God held the sun still so Joshua’s army had time to defeat the Amorites in battle.
- Genesis 14 – Abraham, the father of our faith, gave a tithe of is war winnings to Melchizedek.
- 1 Samuel 17 – the story of David killing Goliath during a war. 1 Samuel 18:7 says, “So the women sang as they danced, and said: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.’ “
- Hebrews 11: 32-33 – And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions
God’s giftings for war
- God has gifted many individuals to be fighters. Psalm 144:1 – Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle
- The United States has been involved in many wars where these gifted individuals have sacrificed their lives.
- Past presidents – who were associated with great wars – have openly prayed and invoked God’s name: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (lead the nation in prayer during the D-Day Invasion), Dwight Eisenhower (prayed his own prayer at the start of his inaugural address.)
Honoring those who have sacrificed
- 2 million military personnel have died in our nation’s wars.
- We are doing the right thing when we remember and honor them. Romans 13:7 – Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
Reflective Questions for David Barton’s Memorial Day Presentation
- What was new information for you in David Barton’s presentation? How did this new information add to your understanding of God’s relationship with war?
- The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8). How do you reconcile that God is love and is also a god of war?
- What is something you can do to demonstrate honor to our military personnel who have died in our nation’s wars?