As many of you know, my family and I had the privilege to be in Normandy, France on this past June 6, for the 72nd anniversary of the most famous amphibious assault in history where the Allied Powers of Britain, Canada and the US launched an onslaught on 50 miles along coast of France to begin the final overthrow of the Nazi power in Europe in 1944.
Before I arrived on site, I began researching many sources on D-Day to learn about the massive planning that went into this definitive battle of the 20th century. There were almost 7,000 ships of all sizes involved in the transport and 1,300 aircraft involved. There were over 17 million maps supporting this mission to move over 14 billion pounds of materials and 2 million soldiers.
Story after story revealed what moved the scared soldiers off the beach was a private, a sergeant, or an officer stepping up and giving the GI’s clear and specific duties to perform (load your weapons, cut the wire, gather your pack, run up the dune). The simplicity of the orders “shocked” the men out of their shock. If they didn’t obey, they knew they would die immediately or eventually.
When we look at I Samuel 15, we see another invasion to repel deep rooted evil. God gives King Saul, simple, clear and specific orders of what to do to the nearby evil regime. “Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them.”
He told Saul not to take any prisoners and no spoils of war…destroy everything. Simple enough. But Saul had fear too, not of death and not of God, but of what others think. Because of fear he did not obey the clear commands of the Lord. He opted for religious observance over real obedience.
Mr. Blair Burke, Pastoral Intern and Elder
Photograph from the Burke family – Beach at Normandy, France