By Stephen Leonard
“The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 121:7-8
Our world is a beautiful place, but its beauty cannot mask the fact that it is filled with danger at every turn; primarily because it is fallen. Evil is present and lurks around every corner in one form or another. One needs only to watch the evening news to be convinced of it. The evil stretches from stubbing a toe to rape or murder.
Thus everyone needs some form of defense to protect you and yours from hurt, pain, loss, destruction, and mayhem; whatever it is that evil can devise against you. We need defenders!
Thus Veterans Day on November 11 is your opportunity to show gratitude to some of your most prominent defenders.
Is this day just another federal holiday to get off work? Or is it a day to consider exactly why we have the freedom to speak English, worship at a local church, vote for your choice of mayor or President, choose what you want to eat, take your children to the park, or decide where you want to live?
Freedom! The result of veterans serving a portion of their life, going to war on your behalf, even dying in some far-flung place, sacrificing themselves so that your freedom is secured, at least for a generation or longer.
A veteran serves for one purpose, and that is to defend. He defends the nation from enemies. He defends the nation’s women and children. He may serve in any capacity, as a mechanic or cook or rifleman, but he is there for the primary purpose of defending against “all enemies, foreign or domestic,” no matter what his specific task calls for.
America has never been an aggressor nation. All its wars have been for the purpose of defending against evil aggressors who attack us or others who are our friends. Defense sometimes demands aggressive offensive-type efforts, but they all are to defeat an aggressor who basically fights to take away your freedoms. Defense is the name of the game in a world where evil proliferates.
God is presented to you in Scripture as a defender, your defender, and He is, in essence, the quintessential Defender. All defenders should take as their example the Defender who supersedes all else. There is no Defender like the Lord of Hosts.
One of the many and great differences between God and mere human defenders is He defends against both seen and unseen enemies. He defends against “principalities and powers and cosmic forces over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6) God defends you from the onslaught of invisible, but very formidable and very real enemies!
Evil is all around us in both seen and unseen dimensions. Were God to lift the scales from your eyes to see all the invisible spiritual enemies in this world who constantly prowl in every place, you would be immediately reduced to trembling, paralyzing fear.
But in defending America from her seen enemies, God has raised up veterans as a means of fighting for and securing basic freedoms. If there had been no veterans there would be no freedom for any in America.
Give Veterans Day its due. Display gratitude to those who served and those serving. Right now, they perseveringly stand on walls all around the world. And many stood before them on similar walls.
Respect the flag that still today flies over them: the Star Spangled Banner. It represents all races, languages, and families that call America home. It flies over the cemeteries in which they lie. It flies where they presently serve. It represents each and every citizen of this land. And do thank the Lord for this country over which it still flies. It has been established by His command. It is all His doing!
“From every evil shall He keep thy soul, from every sin; Jehovah shall preserve thy going out, thy coming in. Above thee watching, He whom we adore, shall keep thee henceforth, yea, forevermore.”
(4th verse of Psalter Psalm 121, John, Duke of Argyl, 1877)