Today is Veteran’s Day. It is the day that we celebrate and remember all who served in the Armed Forces of the United States. It coincides with the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice ending World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918. Various countries around the world remember the day by different names, but President Woodrow Wilson signed the law enacting the celebration of the date in 1919. It is noteworthy that I emphasize that Veteran’s Day celebrates and remembers all people who have served in the military services while Memorial Day, in May of each year, remembers and celebrates those who died in the service of this country.
Of course, there is solemn pride in remembering those who have fought for this country. Those in the armed services are proud of their service and those of us who have benefitted by their effort are appreciative that we live in a free country – paid for with the efforts and lives of those who have fought for our freedom since the late 1700’s.
As you may recall from previous posts, I did not serve in the military. But my father, father-in-law and others in the family have spent their time defending the country. While my father wasn’t too vocal about his military service, I do know that he talked about rank and the orderly processes the military follows in the deployment of our troops. And I have known enough Army Rangers, Green Berets and others to know that following orders is of the utmost importance. One of my co-workers, Ron, at the cafeteria is a veteran and he asked for, and received, permission to wear a military issue shirt in lieu of his usual work clothes tomorrow. I have seen pictures of Ron in a radio shack in Viet Nam and I have a special appreciation for his efforts during that war. Maybe because I am so close in age and I could have been there alongside him.
God uses a variety of methods to protect his people as well. Primarily, when it comes to any type of military maneuvers, God seems to prefer the use of angels. That’s right – angels… We are told in the Scriptures that there are legions of angels and they seem to be ordered in ranks – like military personnel in our armed services. Michael and Gabriel seem to be the leaders of the ranks of angels – that is if you don’t count Lucifer, the fallen angel now know as the Devil, or Satan… After all, Lucifer was to be the lead angel until he fell from grace, supposedly as a result of committing the sin of pride. We are told, in Revelation, that he and about 1/3 of all the angels who followed him fell from heaven and fought Michael and his legions of angels.
Among other things, angels worship God, protect believers and escort believers to heaven. Jesus Himself lets us know that when he was in the desert, he could have called on legions of angels to assist Him. Of course, we know that Christ resisted the temptations of Satan on His own. One of my favorite psalms refers to the protection of people who are weary travelers. I have read this Psalm many times and have come to realize that God is real and active in our lives on a daily basis – including through the intervention of angels into the problems of His people.
Ironically, the psalm that I like so much was the same one that was mis-used by Satan during the story of the temptation of Christ in the wilderness. But rather than focus on the omission, I would rather focus on the word of God – not that of Satan. The verse for tonight is from Ps 91:11-12, the verses having to do with the command of God to His angels. We are told by God, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” That’s pretty great, don’t you think? God sends His angels to protect us so that we won’t get hurt…
My encouragement this evening is that while you are remembering all the times that members of the military have protected this nation, you might also take a moment and acknowledge the times that God has sent His angels to protect you and keep you from harm by the dark side – Satan and his fallen angels. For there is spiritual warfare all around us – even today. My prayer is that we will continue to live in a free country – and that we will be grateful to those who have given years of their lives to protect and defend this country. Of course, my prayer extends to God’s angels – that they will continue to abide by the will of God and protect and defend us against the forces of Satan. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…