Subject: Honoring America’s Military this Memorial Week: Our Navy Seals

1Samuel 16:18 “I have seen a son… who is skillful, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.”

Ed Croteau

This verse from the Old Testament book of 1st Samuel is spoken by a servant of Israel’s King Saul, as he tells the king about a young man who is a mighty warrior, skillful, well spoken… we soon find out this is God’s chosen man who would replace Saul as the next king. It’s David. In the next chapter I we learn why David has the reputation as a man of valor. He finds himself in the middle of a one-sided war, as the nation of the Philistines come up against Israel with their mightiest warrior, Goliath, and openly provoke them to battle: “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”

As Goliath called out the Israelite army, how did they react? “When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.” But David’s reaction is different. When David comes into the Israelite camp, Goliath is there spewing out his challenge for the 40th day in a row. This is the first time David hears him. He turns to the soldiers in the camp and says “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1Samuel 17:26).

When I read the story of David and Goliath, I always think of America’s Navy SEALs. Not only because of the obvious reason – that like King David when he confronted Goliath, a Navy SEAL is without question the most valiant warrior ever created for defending America’s freedom. But for another far more important reason – and this reason is exemplified in the 4th part of the Golden Trident that only a SEAL can wear.

The Navy SEAL’s badge, known as the Golden Trident, is described for us on the “The Trident is awarded to those who earn the right to say they are a Navy SEAL. The Trident has been the badge of the Navy SEAL since 1970. It is the only warfare specialty pin that is the same for officers and enlisted. It symbolizes that we are brothers in arms. That we train together and we fight together. There are 4 parts of the Trident – each one symbolizes an important facet of our warfare community.

The anchor symbolizes the Navy, our parent service, the premier force for power projection on the face of the planet, and the guarantor of world peace. It is an old anchor which reminds us that our roots lie in the valiant accomplishments of the Naval Combat Demolition Units and Underwater Demolition Teams.

The trident, the scepter of Neptune or Poseidon, king of the oceans, symbolizes a SEAL’s connection to the sea. The ocean is the hardest element for any warrior to fight in. But we must be masters of the sea.

The pistol represents the SEAL’s capabilities on land, whether direct action or special reconnaissance. If you look closely it is cocked and ready to fire and should serve as a constant reminder that you too must be ready at all times.

The eagle, our nation’s emblem of freedom, symbolizes the SEAL’s ability to swiftly insert from the air. It reminds us that we fly higher in standards than any other force. Normally the eagle is placed on military decorations with its head held high. On our insignia, the eagle’s head is lowered to remind each of us that HUMILITY is the true measure of a warrior’s strength.”

While David was known as a mighty warrior, his relationship with God wasn’t based on his military prowess. So why did God choose David to replace Saul? David explained what is God’s true measure of a warrior’s strength: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17).

Humility, the true measure of any warrior’s strength which is found in King David and our Navy SEALs, is the defining character of Jesus Christ. Without it, He would not have willingly died for us on the Cross: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus who… made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8).

Jesus Christ is our ultimate example of what it means to humble yourself in order to give yourself for the lives of others. May all men and women, when we look with admiration at our Navy SEALs, remember that humility has its foundation in the One who created our SEALs: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at