Whether a regular church attender or not, most of us are familiar with the Hebrew leader, Moses. He was the one God chose to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into the wilderness. The Israelites witnessed miracle after miracle; the 10 plagues, crossing the Red Sea on dry ground, water from a rock, manna for 40 years, and the angel of the Lord leading them through the desert.
As they moved into new territory, the resident Amalekites attacked the Israelites and God gave Moses the instruction to raise his hands in the air. If he kept his hands raised, Joshua, the army commander, was able to lead the Israelites to victory, but as soon as he let his hands down, the Amalekites advanced. Eventually weary hands overcame Moses. Aaron and Hur took a position under each of Moses’ arms and held up their leader, knowing their support was vital to the Israelite victory. By sundown, Joshua and the Israelites were victorious over the Amalekites because Moses, with some help from his friends, kept his arms raised.
The next part of the story is vital: God told Moses to write down this instance and recite it to Joshua. See, if we look ahead, Joshua’s whole life was filled with battle after battle, but God told Joshua that if he remained faithful and showed up for the fight, the victory would be his. But Joshua was just like us. I’m sure he questioned and doubted. He had to have tons of reminders of God’s faithfulness in order to keep plunging into battle after battle, so he needed to look back over the past, remember, and choose to keep fighting for the cause he was called to.
This story seems so relevant as I think about Veteran’s Day. Men and women, who for centuries, have valiantly served our country in battles and wars. I think about the original settlers as they rebelled against the British and dreamed of a new nation. There’s so much similarity to the Israelites who were also bound in oppression and had to fight for their freedom and new land. I think about the many wars we as a nation have gone through, often fighting amongst ourselves, but ultimately coming together to create the great nation that we call home. World War I, World War II, Korea, Desert Storm, and 9/11 are the big ones that come to mind. My heart is filled with pride as I think of so many men and women serving, fighting for, and protecting our nation through all these years.
As we move ahead as a nation, we need to be faithful encouragers, supporters, and prayer warriors for our leaders and servicemen, just like Aaron and Hur were to Moses. We need to intentionally pray and fight for our America. And as God told Moses to write it down and recite it to Joshua, we too must recite our history to our children and their children. We must remind them of the battles and injustices our soldiers fought so that we would be allowed the freedoms we currently possess. We cannot forget the battles of the past because it is from those battles that we have hope for our future victories.
George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Just like Joshua, we need to look back over the past, remember, and choose to keep fighting for the cause we as Americans stand for. We are not a nation that was built on silence and surrender; we are a nation that has fought its way into liberty. Thank you, current servicemen and Veterans, for bravely serving our America. May we faithfully hold you up and regularly remember the cost of freedom. And may we never surrender the rights that you fought so hard for us to gain.