Subject: Our Military: America’s Defender of Our Many Freedoms
Luke 4:18 “The Lord has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives… to liberate those who are oppressed”
“If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin — just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world’? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it’s a simple answer after all. You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, ‘There is a price we will not pay. There is a point beyond which they must not advance.”
Do you recognize who spoke these words? As we watched and listened to President Trump condemn radical Islamic terrorism in his speech to the Arab Nations in Riyadh this past week, it almost sounds like the above words came from him. Our President mentioned the words ‘extremism’, ‘terrorism’, ‘radicalism’, ‘fanatical violence’, ‘Islamic extremism’, and ‘Islamist terror’ a total of 38 times throughout his speech, and not from the safety of the Oval Office – but in their very hometown, face to face. Finally, we have a President who is standing up for the freedom and dignity of all people by demanding the elimination of ISIS, Taliban, all forms of violent Islamic terrorism. But the above quote isn’t from President Trump.
This quote is from Ronald Reagan’s 1964 speech called “A Time for Choosing”, where as a young republican he was launched into national prominence, because he resonated with so many Americans who understood (and still understand) that freedom is the most precious gift we have, that must be constantly defended against our enemies. The road to preserving the precious freedom we enjoy, and the peace that comes with it, isn’t preserved through negotiating with those whose mission is to destroy us.
As former President Thomas Jefferson so famously said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” And as former President George Washington said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” Vigilance by whom? What resources do we have to defend ourselves against those who attack our freedom? Again, former President Ronal Reagan says it best: “There are some who’ve forgotten why we have a military. It’s not to promote war, it’s to be prepared for peace.”
As we celebrate this Memorial Weekend, let’s be focused on who truly deserves our honor and our respect as our courageous guardians of our freedoms – our men and women of the Military. As the famous quote reminds us: “It is the Soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to protest. It is the Soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the Soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote. It is the Soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
In our opening quote from Ronald Reagan, he makes a very striking illustration of what courage in the face of an advancing enemy looks like by asking the question “Should Christ have refused the Cross?” This week’s verse underscores Reagan’s point. Luke 4:18 is part of Christ’s first public speech as He began His mission. And what was Christ’s mission? To fulfill His Father’s plan to not only free people from the enemy but also destroy the enemy which holds people captive their entire lives by their sin.
Hebrews 2:14-15 explains how Christ achieved His Father’s plan – by taking on human form and dying on the Cross: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, Christ likewise shared in the same, that through His death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Reagan says Jesus Christ willingly took our sins upon Himself and suffered the just penalty of death for us. Why? So that we might have access to eternal life by trusting in Him as Lord and Savior. Reagan’s calling out of Jesus Christ ‘s selfless sacrifice of His own life in order to offer true freedom from death is the same message that the apostle Paul announces in his second letter to Timothy, chapter 2 and verse:10: “Our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought eternal life through the gospel.”
May God bless our military, who embody the very values of courage, commitment, selflessness and personal sacrifice unto death that point to our Savior Jesus Christ. And as we celebrate our military this Memorial Weekend, may we look to Jesus Christ, our ultimate Provider and Defender of true freedom.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #243