Keeping ‘the feast’ on Memorial Day
Pay attention to all that I have said to you, and make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips. “Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. – Exodus 23:13-15
In Exodus 23, God instructed Moses to tell Israel that on every seventh year there was basically to be no farming. The land was to rest. In addition, the people were to leave their farms and households three times during that year to gather together and keep a feast before God. It was a time to worship, for reflection regarding duties to such our awesome and merciful God, and to once again be reminded that it was God who had delivered them from Egypt.
Today, America has many “feasts”. We celebrate in diverse ways the holidays of Thanksgiving, July 4th, Christmas, New Years , Memorial Day, etc. Part of celebrating these days, of course, is the food. Lots of it!
It’s reasonable for us to be reminded that, as Christians, we too have been delivered from Egypt, a type of the world. We too share the shortcomings of the Israelites. Let’s face it, Christians in America struggle with idolatry just as they did! During the feasts, Israel was to remove any thoughts of other gods of their heathen neighbors and to focus on total devotion to God, honoring Him alone, their deliverer without any concerns for their possessions and property they had left behind.
Today is Memorial Day, and I cannot help but be reminded that honoring others more than God is still a problem. It was a sin not confined merely to the Old Testament. In fact, in Matthew 23, the last “woe” Jesus directed against the Scribes and Pharisees was for the memory of dead saints.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous,
The Pharisees pretended to honor the prophets yet they were blinded to the loveliness and amazing beauty of the living Savior!!
In regards to Memorial Day, we would do well to be reminded that our Lord God is due the most honor, the occupier of our hearts, moreso than those who have fallen in service to our country. He is the one Who has delivered us from Egypt, who has transferred us out of the kingdom of darkness into His kingdom of light.
Honoring the dead more than the living is still a problem. Read this excerpt from the Berlenberger Bible:
“Ask in Moses times, who were the good people, they will be Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but not Moses – he should be stoned. Ask in Samuel’s times, who were the good people, they will be Moses and Joshua, but not Samuel. Ask in the times of Christ, who were such, they will be all the former prophets with Samuel, but not Christ and His apostles.”
While we honor fallen Americans who served in the military, let us guard our hearts lest we honor the dead more than the living, lest we place more thought, allow more room in our hearts, and give more devotion to the dead when “the feast” belongs to our living Lord.
In short, we should not honor the dead more than the living! And Jesus lives!