Through the Word in 2020 - 5/22 #38 - Memorial Day
In the US, this is the Friday before Memorial Day. Following the Civil War, it began as Decoration Day. A time to remember those who have served in our military and died in that service. In 1971 it became an official holiday. That such remembrances are fitting needs no explanation. All of us who live in the freedoms we presently enjoy find it simply right.
Many will remember by name those who have given their lives for this nation. Family members or friends, even if no one else remembers them individually. And it strikes me as providential that in today’s reading in 2 Samuel, we have a memorial chapter honoring those heroes in David’s ancient army. Let’s pause and think on that for a minute.
I’m Reid Ferguson, and you are listening to Through the Word in 2020.
Circumstances prevented me from visiting with you yesterday. Those readings were 2 Samuel 19:16–23:7; 2 Corinthians 10:1–11:15; Psalm 92; Mark 12:1–17. Today they are followed with 2 Samuel 23:8-24:25; 2 Corinthians 11:16-33; and Mark 12:18-27. And since Monday is Memorial Day - we won’t be together then - but please do continue to read the assigned portions on your own.
As one reads the list of names in 2 Sam. 23 -very few of them are familiar to us. They served. They fought. They performed great exploits in defending God’s earthly Kingdom. And here, they are memorialized. Perhaps forgotten by men, but never by God. Our service for the cause of Christ is never forgotten by Him. Each one who is known to Christ as His own, have their names written in what Revelation 21:27 calls “the Lamb’s book of life.” Memorialized by God for eternity.
The Church has had many heroes of the Faith throughout the centuries - early names like those of the Apostles, or later luminaries. Augustine, Athanasius, Justin Martyr and many others come to mind. And then those at later epochal moments like Martin Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards and the like. Or from our more recent past, Spurgeon, Ryle, D. Martin Lloyd-Jones - and some contemporaries too.
But the truth is, for each of these, there are multiplied thousands, whose names we’ve never heard - in every generation who are true heroes of the Faith. Those who in the rigors, woes and challenges of everyday life in every generation and under all sorts of adverse circumstances served Christ faithfully.
Who prayed for their children. Nursed their afflicted loved ones. Carried cheerfully on in widowhood, disability, loneliness and childlessness. Having suffered abuse, abandonment, hardship and adversity of every kind. But in it all they sought Christ. They longed to know Him, serve Him, love Him and make Him known. They quietly and secretly pursued growth in grace. They lived in their sphere to honor Him in all things. Unknown. Unrecognized. Unsung. And yet eternally memorialized by their King.
One wag, once trying to exacerbate a rift between Whitefield and John Wesley asked Whitefield if he would see Wesley in Heaven. “No sir,” he replied; “I fear not. He will be so near the throne and we shall be at such a distance, that we shall hardly get a sight of him.” And so it will be with so many I have just catalogued above. These faithful saints who silently, courageously, faithfully and hidden from public view fought the fiercest battles on the forsaken front lines of keeping the faith alive where they were. Despite loneliness, fear, weakness and doubt. Lone candles in deep darkness. Maintaining Gospel light by their lives, lived for Christ.
Let us remember them this weekend along with our civil heroes. And pray for the day when we can glory in their reward in Christ with them at the resurrection.
Let that soak into your soul today lonely Christian. Your God, has not forgotten you any more than He has each of them.
God will bless, and God willing, we’ll be back next Tuesday.