A Memorial For One Who Died In The Service

Title: A Memorial For One Who Died In The Service

Bible Book: Selected Passages

Author: David E. Owen

Subject: Memorial Day; Service, Faithful



(Deuteronomy 34; Joshua 1 & Various Other Scriptures)

Tomorrow, of course, is Memorial Day, and as I have studied this week, I have done a little research regarding our national observance of Memorial Day.

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, Major General John A. Logan, the head of an organization of former Union soldiers and sailors - the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) - established “Decoration Day” on May 30 as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The cemetery already held the remains of 20,000 Union soldiers and several hundred Confederate soldiers.

Local tributes to those killed in the Civil War had already been held in various places. In fact, approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried. However, in 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., as the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. It was there that a ceremony on May 5, 1866, was reported to have honored local soldiers and sailors who had fought in the Civil War.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971 Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. The day of observance was finally established as the last Monday in May. Over the years, the custom has grown in many families to decorate the graves of all departed loved ones.

In 1868 General John Logan’s order to decorate the graves “with the choicest flowers of springtime” included this statement: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

I read about a pastor who, one Sunday morning, noticed a little boy named Alex staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. The plaque was covered with names, and small flags were mounted on either side of it. The seven-year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the boy, and said quietly, “Good morning, Alex.”

“Good morning, pastor,” replied the young man, still focused on the plaque. “Pastor, what is this?” the boy asked.

“Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.”

Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque, until finally, in a barely audible voice the little boy asked, “Which service, Sunday morning or Sunday night?”

Memorial Day commemorates those who died while in military service to the United States. In the last chapter of Deuteronomy, I find a memorial event that commemorated one who died in the service of Almighty God. This closing chapter of Deuteronomy also marks the closing chapter of the life of Moses.

We read that “Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 34:5). And we read that “the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days” (Deuteronomy 34:8).

Moses was more a savior than a soldier. (In fact, in many ways, he reminds us of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.) And there was a memorial time to mark Moses’ death.

Tomorrow, we will remember our fallen soldiers – today I want us to memorialize our faithful Savior!

As we think about the great deliverer of the Old Testament…

I. The Account Of Moses Reveals The Misery Of The Enslavement

A. Notice The Miserable Burden Of Bondage

(Exodus 1:11) Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.

taskmasters – Hebrew 8269. sar; a head person (of any rank or class) – captain (that had rule), chief (captain), general, governor, keeper, lord, ruler, steward.

Illustrate: Whenever these taskmasters and keepers would give a command, the Israelites would have to say, “Yes ‘sar’.”

afflict – Hebrew 6031. 'anah, aw-naw'; a primary root word [possibly identified with H6030 through the idea of looking down or browbeating]; to depress – abase, afflict, chasten, deal hardly with, force, hurt, ravish, weaken.

burdens – Hebrew 5450. cebalah, seb-aw-law'; from H5447; porterage.

5447. cebel, say'-bel; from H5445; a load (lit. or fig.):--burden, charge.

(Exodus 1:11) Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.

For the Egyptians, these cities represented guarded storehouses, but for the Hebrew they represented grievous service. And even in the meanings of the names of these cities, there are indications of the miserable burden that they were under…

1. In The Burden Of Building Pithom (pee-thome’), We’re Reminded Of The Severity Of Justice

Pithom – OT:6619; “the city of justice” (Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)

(Exodus 1:9-10) And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: {10} Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.

They said, “They may be stronger, but we’re smarter. So we’ll teach them a lesson they’ll not soon forget.”

2. In The Burden Of Building Raamses (rah-mes-ace’), We’re Reminded Of The Severance From Joseph

Raamses – OT:7486; “child of the sun” (Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)

(Exodus 1:8) Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

Instead of being associated with Joseph, who is one of the most pronounced types of the Lord Jesus in the Old Testament, they are associated with the building of a city whose name means “child of the sun.” This reminds us of the burden of their horizontal existence as opposed to the blessings of a vertical relationship with God.

B. Notice The Miserable Bitterness Of Bondage

(Exodus 1:13-14) And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: {14} And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.

vs. 13: to serve – Hebrew 5647. 'abad; a primary root word meaning to work, to serve, enslave.

vs. 13: rigour – Hebrew 6531. perek; from an unused root meaning to break apart; fracture, i.e. severity – cruelty

1. We See The Sorrow Of Their Bitter Service

a. It Was A Heavy Thing

bitter – Hebrew 4843. marar; a primary root word that properly means to trickle (this was like Chinese water torture – the constancy of it) – grieved, provoke, vex. It is derived from another word that has the idea of being angry, bitter, chafed, discontented, great, or heavy

Illustrate: There was no “Hi, ho, hi, ho – it’s off to work I go.” It was more like, “Oh no, oh no – it’s off to work I go.”

b. It Was A Hard Thing

hard – Hebrew 7186. qasheh; severe – cruel, grievous, obstinate, prevailing, rough, sore, sorrowful, troublesome.

bondage – Hebrew 5656. 'abodah; work of any kind – labour, service, servitude, tillage.

They were knee deep in mire (mortar) and chest high in brick (white clay bricks) building something that had no meaning or lasting value for them personally. How like the lost person!

2. We See The Scope Of Their Bitter Service

a. Everywhere They Went – It Was Bitter Bondage

(Exodus 1:14) And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field (the spread out, open country – the wild land): all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.

They couldn’t escape from it. There was no reprieve. Bondage was a constant condition for them.

b. Every Way They Worked – It Was Bitter Bondage

(Exodus 1:14) And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.

Everything they did was with rigour. It was building up cities, but it was tearing down people.

II. The Account Of Moses Reveals The Method Of The Exodus

A. God Shows Us A Man – Here We See The Savior That God Had Chosen

(Exodus 2:1-2) And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. {2} And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

1. Notice His Entrance Into The World Of Egypt

a. We See This Special Child

Moses (whose name means drawn out of the water, or rescued) was born into a lineage of priests. He grew up in the house of a king. He eventually became a prophet. He reminds us of another special child who was both prophet, priest, and king – one named Jesus (whose name means Jehovah is salvation).

(Exodus 2:3) And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark (a box) of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.

She surrounded him with something that was associated with the bondage and enslavement – the pitch – like the mortar in Exodus 1:14. And when God sent His Son into this world, He surrounded Him with something that was associated with enslavement to sin – a body of flesh.

(Hebrews 10:5) Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

slime – OT:2564. chemar; pitch, asphalt, bitumen

mortar (Exodus 1:14) – OT:2563. chomer; cement, , clay, mire

(The Online Bible Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)

b. We See This Spared Child

b1. There Was A Hateful Spirit

(Exodus 1:15-16) And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: {16} And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.

(Matthew 2:16) Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

b2. There Was A Helped Son (Protected In Egypt)

(Exodus 2:2) And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

(Matthew 2:13) And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

2. Notice His Experience In The World Of Egypt

(Exodus 2:11) And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.

(John 1:11) He came unto his own…

(Exodus 2:13-15) And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? {14} And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. {15} Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.

(John 1:11) … and his own received him not. He is rejected and goes to Midian which means “contention.”

B. God Shows Us A Mountain – Here We See The Strategy That God Had Chosen

God had a man, and God had a plan!

(Exodus 3:1) Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb (desolate).

1. Consider The Motive Of The Mountain

(Exodus 2:23-25) And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. {24} And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. {25} And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them. (In other words, He cared for them.)

2. Consider The Message Of The Mountain

(Exodus 3:6-8) Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. {7} And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; {8} And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

(God said, “I am the Divine One & I am the Delivering One.”)

And then there was another mountain that George Bennard wrote about…

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,

The emblem of suffering and shame;

And I love that old cross where the dearest and best

For a world of lost sinners was slain.

III. The Account Of Moses Reveals The Miracle Of The Emancipation

A. There Was A Power Manifested In Their Miraculous Emancipation

1. This Was Power That Makes A Way

(Deuteronomy 4:37) And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;

a. There Was A Desperation

(Exodus 14:9-10) But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon. {10} And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.

b. There Was A Deliverance

(Exodus 14:27-30) And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. {28} And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. {29} But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. {30} Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.

They walked upon dry ground and left the mire behind.

Cf. (Romans 1:16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

God will make a way, when there seems to be no way,

He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me!

He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side,

With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way

God will make a way!

(By Janet Paschal)

2. This Was Power That Makes A Worshipper

(Exodus 14:31) And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared (revered) the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.

(Exodus 15:1-2) Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. {2} The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.

B. There Was A Permanency Manifested In Their Miraculous Emancipation

1. This Promise Made Their Fears A Thing Of The Past

(Exodus 14:13) And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

2. This Promise Made Their Future A Thing Of Possibility

(Exodus 14:13) And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

IV. The Account Of Moses Reveals The Mention Of His Expiration

A. Notice The Mystery Of His Tomb

(Deuteronomy 34:5-7) So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. {6} And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. {7} And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

The 7th verse indicates that Moses died with his vision and his vigor intact – we might even say that, as far as strength goes, he was in the prime of his life. Jesus also died with his vision and vigor intact, in the prime of life. He did not die of natural causes, but He died with a supernatural cause.

1. With Moses, The Territory Of The Tomb Could Not Be Found

(Deuteronomy 34:6) And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.

The Lord buried Moses in a land associated with the sin of Lot close to Bethpeor, which means the house of the gap.

2. With Messiah, The Tenant Of The Tomb Could Not Be Found

(Matthew 28:5-6) And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. {6} He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Jesus was buried in a world of sin, in a tomb that bridged the gap between life and resurrected life.

B. Notice The Mourning That Was Temporary

1. In The Old Testament, The Season Of Grief Had Ended

(Deuteronomy 34:8) And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

weeping – Hebrew 1065. bekiy, bek-ee'; from H1058; a weeping; by analogy, a dripping:--overflowing, X sore, (continual) weeping, wept.

mourning – Hebrew 60. 'ebel, ay'-bel; from H56; lamentation:--mourning.

To address the redundancy of these two similar terms, “weeping and mourning,” the UBS (United Bible Societies) Old Testament Handbook offers this paraphrase of verse 8…

The people of Israel stayed in the lowlands of Moab, where they mourned and grieved thirty days for Moses, as was their custom.

ended – Hebrew 8552. tamam, taw-mam'; a prim. root; to complete; in a good or a bad sense, lit. or fig., trans. or intrans. (as follows):--accomplish, cease, be clean [pass-] ed, consume, have done, (come to an, make an) end, fail, come to the full, be all gone, X be all here, be (make) perfect, be spent, sum, be (shew self) upright, be wasted, whole.

2. In The New Testament, The Reason Of Grief Had Ended

(Luke 24:1-9) Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. {2} And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. {3} And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. {4} And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: {5} And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? {6} He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, {7} Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. {8} And they remembered his words, {9} And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

V. The Account Of Moses Reveals The Ministry/March Of Extension

A. A New Day Dawns, And We See The Following Of Joshua

(Deuteronomy 34:9) And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.

1. There Is A Parallel In Joshua’s Famous Name

M. G. Easton’s Bible Dictionary says that the name Jesus…

Is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which was originally Hoshea (Numbers 13:8,16), but changed by Moses into Jehoshua (Numbers 13:16; 1 Chronicles 7:27), or Joshua. After the Exile it assumed the form Jeshua, whence the Greek form Jesus. It was given to our Lord to denote the object of his mission, to save (Matthew 1:21).

Both names means savior, deliverer, or Jehovah is salvation.

2. There Is A Perpetuity In Joshua’s Father’s Name

(Joshua 1:1) Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,

The Strong’s Concordance Hebrew Dictionary says of this name “Nun”…

Nun – Hebrew 5126. Nuwn, noon; or Nown, nohn; from H5125; perpetuity; Nun or Non, the father of Joshua:--Non, Nun.

5125. nuwn, noon; a prim. root; to resprout, i.e. propagate by shoots; fig. to be perpetual:--be continued.

The McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia says that the name means “having branches or descendants.”

B. A New Day Dawns, And We See The Furtherance Of The Journey

(Joshua 1:2) Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

1. Notice The People That This Included

all this people

The command to go over Jordan into the place of victory was not just for one person or one tribe but for “all this people.”

2. Notice The Place That They Inherited

the land which I do give to them,

give – Hebrew 5414. nathan, naw-than'; a prim. root; to give, used with great latitude of application (put, make, etc.):--add, apply, appoint, ascribe, assign, X avenge, X be ([healed]), bestow, bring (forth, hither), cast, cause, charge, come, commit consider, count, + cry, deliver (up), direct, distribute do, X doubtless, X without fail, fasten, frame, X get, give (forth, over, up), grant, hang (up), X have, X indeed, lay (unto charge, up), (give) leave, lend, let (out), + lie, lift up, make, + O that, occupy, offer, ordain, pay, perform, place, pour, print, X pull, put (forth), recompense, render, requite, restore, send (out), set (forth), shew, shoot forth (up). + sing, + slander, strike, [sub-] mit, suffer, X surely, X take, thrust, trade, turn, utter, + weep, X willingly, + withdraw, + would (to) God, yield.


Between the burial and resurrection of Jesus, the Bible tells us that the religious leaders came to Pilate with a request. And the Bible says…

(Matthew 27:62-66) Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, {63} Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. {64} Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. {65} Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. {66} So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

They said, “We remember that … deceiver.” But we can say this morning that we remember that deliverer! And we’re not talking about Moses. We’re talking about our deliverer, Jesus!

You can’t put flowers on Moses’ grave, because the Lord only knows where it is (literally). And you can’t put flowers where Jesus is buried because He’s not buried there anymore. But still … we remember Him!


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