Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

The desire to commemorate occasions goes back to Old Testament times when people like Jacob set up memorials to remind them and future generations of what God had done. I Samuel 7:12 says, Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far has the LORD has helped us. Beginning with Jacob building a memorial at Bethel (Gen 28:20-22), the setting up of stones to commemorate significant events has been a part of Israel’s culture. Joshua used stones to mark the place where God opened the waters of the Jordan and allowed Israel to cross into the Promised Land (Joshua 4:1-21). Before his death, Joshua set up a stone to remind Israel of their vow to serve God alone (4:26-28).

In I Samuel, a stone was used to commemorate the victory over the Philistines. Ebenezer literally means the stone of help. The stone was a reminder that God had helped them thus far and that they trusted Him to continue to help them.

About 12 years ago we received an Ebenezer dish as a Christmas present. We write scriptures on new stones as we celebrate joys and trials in our lives and remember God’s faithfulness from year to year.

We all need to create reminders of God’s faithfulness in our lives. Over and over again, the scriptures tell us to remember what God has done in our lives and to tell others. In Psalm 78:5-7, we read,

He commanded our forefathers to teach their children so the next generation would know them, even children yet to be born and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and not forget His deeds but would keep His commands.

Today is a day that our nation has set aside to commemorate those who have given their lives to win and maintain the freedoms that we enjoy today. As we remember those who have fallen and honor those who have served our country, we are to remember their sacrifices and vow to live in such a way as to demonstrate our gratitude for these freedoms and do our part to maintain what they have attained.

And as Christians, we remember the ultimate sacrifice that was made on our behalf – the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross of Calvary, the sacrifice that gave us our freedom from sin and its eternal effects.

As we enjoy this day off from school and work, as we enjoy our picnics with family and friends, let us take time to stop and remember the One who died for our eternal freedom and the many that died for the freedoms we enjoy here on earth.

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