Devotional for Memorial Day: May 25, 2020
When the Philistines heard that Israel was meeting at Mizpah, the Philistine leaders went on the offensive. Israel got the report and became frightened—Philistines on the move again!
They pleaded with Samuel, “Pray with all your might! And don’t let up! Pray to God, our God, that he’ll save us from the boot of the Philistines.”
Samuel took a young lamb not yet weaned and offered it whole as a Whole-Burnt-Offering to God. He prayed fervently to God, interceding for Israel. And God answered.
While Samuel was offering the sacrifice, the Philistines came within range to fight Israel. Just then God thundered, a huge thunderclap exploding among the Philistines. They panicked—mass confusion!—and ran helter-skelter from Israel. Israel poured out of Mizpah and gave chase, killing Philistines right and left, to a point just beyond Beth Car. Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it “Ebenezer” (Rock of Help), saying, “This marks the place where God helped us.”
First Samuel 7: 7-12 The Message
On this Memorial Day, we remember the sacrifices of those who served in our armed forces, and gave the ultimate price for our freedoms. One of my Seminary classmates, Joanne Martindale, posted a picture of herself in an American military cemetery, kneeling in prayer. She has served as a military chaplain for decades, reaching the rank of colonel.
In this scripture passage from First Samuel, Samuel erects a single rock to remember an important victory from God, for His people. He calls this rock, “Ebenezer.” Here is how the Expositor’s Bible defines an Ebenezer: “It was no doubt a testimony to a special help obtained in that time of trouble; it was a grateful recognition of that help; and it was an enduring monument to perpetuate the memory of it.”
As people who follow the Prince of Peace, we do not relish war or conflict. Yet on this Memorial Day, we remember those who gave their lives in war, so that we might live in peace. Reflecting upon the meaning of this special day, we realize that it is important for us, as people of faith, to remember. We remember those who served our country, giving their lives for our freedom. Let us also remember all that the Lord has done for us. May we never forget…
On this day of remembering, we honor the sacrifice given by those who served our country. We are so very thankful for them. Help us to never forget them. In the same way, we remember all the victories that we and others have obtained through You. Thank you for Your constant presence in our lives. With gratitude in our hearts, we pray this prayer in Jesus’ name.