Watching the beautiful Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery brought once again into the thinking of millions the tremendous price of freedom. These known and unknown champions of freedom paid the ultimate price in acquiring and securing the freedoms that we enjoy and sadly, all too often take for granted. These defenders of the homeland understood that every generation faces the challenge to secure the peace and guard the freedom gained by being victorious when called into harm’s way.
Biblical history reveals the necessity to defend and protect individual and national liberty. An early account in the life of Abraham recounts his rescue of Lot and his family. They [four kings] also carried off Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom. (Gen 14:12 NIV). “When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people” (Gen 14:14-16 NIV).
Abraham is not alone in the historical annals of warfare recorded in the Old Testament. The exploits of Moses, Saul and David are well documented. These were leaders who realized the necessity of military victory whenever their borders and freedoms were attacked. They understood that if their nation were to survive it would require a strong defense and the determination to win in any armed conflict. David penned … “He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation, and Thy right hand upholds me; and Thy gentleness makes me great. Thou dost enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped” (Ps 18:34-36 NASB). King David succeeded in bringing security to his people and his son King Solomon reaped the benefits of a secured peace during his forty year reign.
But a greater era of peace is promised for mankind in the future. It will be a time free of war and will extend for a millennium as a result of the return of Christ. He comes this time as a conquering warrior and not as the Savior who went to the cross to provide salvation for all who believe in Him.
The Apostle John prophetically records the entrance of the King of Kings once again into history. He wrote … “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev 19:11-16 NIV).
That day will come, but until then, men and women will be called to serve their country against those who seek to destroy their homes and rob them of liberty. The challenge of Nehemiah still rings today … "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes" (Neh 4:14 NIV).