12 he (King David) went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. (They had stolen their bodies from the public square at Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.) 13 David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up. 14 They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul’s father Kish, at Zela in Benjamin, and did everything the king commanded. After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land. 2 Samuel 21:12-14 NIV
Recently, Pam and I had the privilege to go to Cambodia to visit the ladies who make many of the backpacks that we give away at the beginning of the school year. We also visited the “Killing Fields” with one of the Pastors we met whose church is only a few miles away from the “field”. In the late 1970’s, an evil dictator implemented genocidal actions to kill 3-4 million of his own people. The “field” was the largest concentration of executions in which nearly 300 people were killed each night with swords, bayonets, and other blunt instruments. Bullets were too expensive to waist on quick executions. Most were tortured and left to die while more blindfolded prisoners were brought the next night for a repeat of the executions. Those being killed were not soldiers, but families and groups of people identified as belonging to the “wrong” group politically. The effect of losing so many lives has played a major role in the instability of Cambodia politically and in the family structures.
Since that time, they have continued to collect the bones of the fallen. These bones rise to the surface of the ground during the rainy season. To honor those who lost their lives, they have collected the skulls and other bone fragments, and display them in a tall tower that is erected on the property. The skulls have been carefully placed according to age and marked by gender.
God was allowing judgment of famine on the physical land, because of Saul’s action to kill the Gibeonites. As the were conquering Canaan, Joshua had unwittingly made a covenant with these outsiders that the Israelites would not destroy them, but Saul in his zeal had killed many. David allowed the Gibeonites to kill some of Saul’s descendants to avenge their wrongful deaths. Afterward David collected the bones and gave them a proper burial. Then God lifted the curse and blessed the land.
Innocent bloodshed in and on physical land is an open door for curses and for God to withhold His favor. This would include the miltitude of abortions in the US. MERCY be upon us Oh, God. God is serious about taking innocent lives and many times will allow death in other ways as death for death. Asking for forgiveness and mercy, begins the process of healing not only emotionally but also on the physical land.
So why do we remember Memorial Day? These were soldiers and not just innocent victims. To remember our fallen soldiers is a part of the grieving process, but it is much more than that. It should be a reminder of the gift of life. Someone else died that we may live. “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for another,” said Jesus.
Remembering “well” speaks volumes to our younger generation…so does not remembering well. How do you show respect for those who lost their lives in battle? How do you connect with a family member or friend who has lost a child or parent while serving in the military? How will you “remember’ in a substantive action today? One way we show how much we value life is by honoring those who have died in our military.
Blessings, Love yall