June 12, 2021

Subject: Memorial Day & D-Day: The Bible, Liberty and the Rock of America’s Salvation

Psalm 144:1 “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.”

Ed Croteau

There is no other country in history where it’s leaders, when faced with war, would motivate their troops by focusing on the God of the Bible as their “Rock”, their source of strength. The Persians, the Greeks, the Spartans, the Romans, the Vikings, the Mongols… all would emphasize the strength of themselves as superior to their enemy. Only America focuses on God as their Rock, who leads them into battle.

Why is that? President Franklin Roosevelt, the Commander in Chief on D-Day, gives us the answer in his letter to the troops that was inside each pocket Bible he sent for each soldier: “As Commander-in-Chief, I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration. It is a fountain of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul. Very sincerely yours, Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

The Bible has been around for thousands of years, whether the Old Testament (as far back as 1,400BC) or the New Testament (50AD). And yet, only Americans understand how precious the Bible is to strengthen the soul and lead men and women to do things they would never do if left to themselves.

Think about this – while all other nations have gone to war for conquest, America is the polar opposite. We do not fight to take from others. We go to war to defend the God-given right of others to be free. What motivates men and women to die for the cause of liberty, especially for someone else’s liberty? Let’s answer this question by examining D-Day, which was now 77 years ago on Tuesday, June 4, 1944.

The US National Archives documents that “Almost immediately after France fell to the Nazis in 1940, the Allies planned a cross-Channel assault on the German occupying forces, ultimately code-named Operation Overlord. By May 1944, 2,876,000 Allied troops were amassed in southern England. The largest armada in history, made up of more than 4,000 American, British, and Canadian ships, lay in wait, and over 1,200 planes stood ready. Against a tense backdrop of uncertain weather forecasts, disagreements in strategy, and related timing dilemmas, Eisenhower decided before dawn on June 5 to proceed with Overlord.”

The evening of June 5th, President Roosevelt broadcasted a prayer to all Americans. Here is an excerpt that speaks why D-Day had to happen: “Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.” We went to war to free the world of a Nazi regime that was bent on genocide. We could not stand by and allow innocent people to be slaughtered. We had to do something.

Roosevelt continues: “For these men fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people.” Our troops fight for others, not themselves! They fight to end conquest, not to conquer. Our Armed Forces are an extension of the American way of life – our foundation centers on the Cross of Jesus Christ. He is our Rock of salvation who liberated the oppressed from the penalty of death through self-sacrifice.

As you study your bibles, look for this connection between the Old Testament saints’ dependency on the “Rock” and then the New Testament revelation that our “Rock” is and always has been Jesus Christ.

Psalm 31:3-4 (written in 1,000 BC): “You are my Rock and my protection. For the good of your name, lead me and guide me. Save me from the traps my enemy has set. You are my strength.”

2 Samuel 22:2-4 (written in 960 BC): “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; The God of my strength, in Him I will trust, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge. My Savior, you save me from violent men. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, so shall I be saved from my enemies.”

1 Corinthians 10:4 (written in 60AD): “All drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ.”

As our verse this week from Psalms explains, as men and women go to war to defend the defenseless and liberate the oppressed, it is trusting in Jesus Christ, the Rock, that is the key to victory.

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 Editor@lstribune.net.