One of the things I love about the Old Testament is the many examples of God’s interventions on behalf of his people. When a people covenant with God and keep the covenant, they are entitled to the blessings of a king and kingdom over them.
A good king feeds his people and provides for them. He provides a place of inheritance, removes their enemies from them, sets up good laws, and establishes peace in the land.
This is exactly what we see the Lord doing for his covenant people when they live according to the terms of the covenant. God provided manna and quail. He didn’t let their clothing wear out while they wandered in the wilderness. He gave them a land of milk and honey, vanquished their enemies, gave them sound laws (which endure to today and were a basis for the U.S. Constitution), and for the righteous, brought peace to the land.
Unfortunately, Israel went after other gods at times. To counter this behavior so he could bless his people, God commanded them (and us) to remember him and gave symbols of things to assist in the process.
In the scriptures, we read of memorials. On this Memorial Day, I thought it appropriate to make a list. I did a search for:
This resulted in 33 verses. I then went to the Topical Guide and under Memorial there were only 12 verses.
So I created a Collection Note with my search results, then created Collection Notes from the following related Topical Guide topics: Memorial, Memory, Remember, Remembrance. With each Collection Note I bulk added the verses into my Collection Note to make sure I got everything.
The very first use of the word memorial in scripture is found in Exodus 3 where Moses has been given the mission to go deliver Israel and he asks God his name so he can tell the children of Israel. God then tells him:
Exodus 3:15 “…Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”
The very first memorial is God’s name.
There are many other memorials and things given to us to remember God. Here are a few of the first ones mentioned.
Passover feast (Exo. 12:14)
The feast of unleavened bread (Exo. 13:9)
Sabbath (Exo. 20:8)
Atonement money (Exo. 30:16)
Offerings (Lev. 2:2) – all symbolic of the atonement of Jesus Christ
A Sabbath of Sabbaths – Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) a blowing of trumpets (Lev. 23:24)
Two others are very noteworthy without completing the entire list here (which I encourage you to do this project as I explain above).
First, the sacrament is our weekly reminder to “always remember” Him.
The second, I will close with below.
What does God remember? People.
Noah (Gen. 8:1)
Abraham and Lot (Gen. 19:29)
Rachel (Gen. 30:22)
The covenant he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to preserve their seed so he heard the cries of their children in Egypt (Exo. 2:24; 6:5; )
Tribes of Israel written on “stones of memorial” on the shoulders of the ephod of the High Priest (Exo. 28:12).
Names of the children of Israel on the breastplate of the High Priest (Exo. 28:29)
And so on.
God will make the remembrance of Israel to cease and scatter them if they fail to remember the covenant (Deut. 32:26) which is why he gives us so many things to remember him by.
God wants to bless us. He just needs us to remember him and stay within the terms of the covenant. If we fail to remember God, we cease qualifying for the covenant protection and blessings he offers. If we want those blessings, we must make remembering God the center of our lives and not go after other gods and idols.
I will close with one last memorial.
I have always loved the Title of Liberty that Captain Moroni raised to the people. It’s a perfect symbol of Memorial Day.
Alma 46:12. And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.
Everything important to us and critical to our life and salvation is mentioned there. There has probably never been a more concise summation of Memorial Day. The only thing Moroni didn’t specifically list is our ancestors who in many cases gave us the memory of devoted living to God and religion and freedom. It’s a great day to remember these things.
My own parents passed away a couple years ago. They were converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am so grateful they opened their hearts to the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is their conversion story which is a memorial to me and my family. They joined the church while my dad was serving in the military.
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