It was on this date in 1782 that George Washington, who was the commander in chief of the Continental Army, created the “Badge for Military Merit.” This new badge consisted of a purple heart shaped piece of silk, etched with silver and “Merit” stitched across the front.
This military honor was to be presented to people who had exhibited meritorious action and was so important that people who possessed the award were able to pass sentinels and guards without any sort of challenge. An added honor, and an important piece of the recognition of the award, was the fact that the honorees would also have their name inscribed in a formal “Book of Merit.”
We only know of three people who received the award during the Revolutionary War and after the official “Book of Merit” was lost, the medal was pretty much forgotten until 1927 when an effort was made to revive the idea. Finally, after several false starts, on February 22, 1932, on the 200th anniversary of the birth of President Washington, the “Order of the Purple Heart” was created. In addition to the original design, the new emblem included a profile bust of Washington and his family coat of arms.
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the U.S Armed Forces who have been killed or wounded during conflicts with enemies of the United States as well as those who have been prisoners of war and suffered torture or other forms of mistreatment. It should also be noted that the original “Book of Merit” has never been recovered and is lost to the ages.
In the Bible, we learn that there is a Book of Life. This book, kept by God Himself, records the name of each person who will spend eternity with Him. In all honesty, some theologians believe that everyone’s name is written in the Book but is blotted out if they don’t accept the free gift of eternal life. The other position is that your name is written in the Book once you have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life.
This side of heaven, we won’t know how the names get written but one thing is for sure. If your name is in the Book of Life, you will spend eternity with God. Thankfully, God is more careful with His Book than the early fathers of our country were. I think that God will always know where his list of saints is located.
Our verse for tonight is from the book of Revelation. This is the final book of the Bible and teaches us about the endtimes and eternity – sometimes called “eschatology.” John, the author of Revelation, confirms what we are told in other parts of the Scripture. He tells us, in Revelation 20:15, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” In other words, people who do not believe will be eternally separated and spend eternity without being in communion with God.
My encouragement this evening is that God wants everyone’s name in the Book of Life! My prayer is that we will be able to spend eternity with God without having to go through the trials and tribulations that honorees of the Purple Heart have had to endure. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…