“I ……… (full name), do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors according to law. So help me God.” These are the words a recruit speaks on enrolment in the Canadian Forces declaring they remain loyal to authority, regardless of what is lawfully demanded. They will do their best to fulfil their duties, even to death.
Scripture does not share what type of oath King David’s Mighty Men swore. Because they were hand-selected among thousands, it is safe to assume these thirty-seven professional soldiers vowed to serve their King, without question. They held a position of trust in David’s heart, and he could expect that no matter what he’d ask of them, they would do so without question. The story of Uriah the Hittite (one of the mighty men) is one of loyalty, courage, and duty. He was a soldier’s soldier who remained obedient, honourable, and brave to his death. Uriah served his King not because he couldn’t find other employment or was seeking adventure; he did so because he trusted His King. This foreigner (non-Jew) also knew David was appointed and anointed by God, so he trusted God.
Uriah’s story is also one of deceit, disloyalty, and cowardice. Unbeknownst to Uriah, his King lusted over his wife, impregnated her, and, to cover his sin, arranged to have him killed. He brought Uriah out of the field under the guise of getting a battle update, but in truth, wanted to entice Uriah to lay with his wife so her pregnancy could be explained. Thinking about the hardship his troops were facing, Uriah chose to sleep amongst the servants and did not go home, thereby sealing his fate. King David had Uriah carry a message to his field commander Joab to ensure Uriah died in battle. Treachery, dishonesty, and disloyalty were added to David’s sin of lust.
Not many join the military expecting to die in service. The memorials visited this Remembrance Day have been raised to remember and commemorate men and women killed or injured on the battlefield. Many may not have understood the circumstance of the conflict but still chose to serve in the name of justice and freedom. Without these willing souls, our world would be even worse. What would cause men and women today to declare allegiance to the authority, especially when our leaders, like King David, are not always honourable or honest. We could righteously question their ethics and morality, which could cause us to question their authority. But that is not the oath taken by the Canadian military, nor is it the mindset we adopt as followers of Christ. Our story should be one of obedience to authority and God. Within the bounds of righteousness, we must obey our leaders. As followers of Christ, empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit, we must serve as an example to the world around us, trusting God’s sovereignty and wisdom, even when we don’t understand the circumstance of our situation.
As soldiers of the cross, we come from various educational, economic, geographic, family, and even racial backgrounds, but we can be a unified band of brothers and sisters because we are all attracted to the Light of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. God calls serving and retired Christian military to be Mighty Men/Women. To be the Light to those around them who live in a world rife with deceit and disloyalty. Scripture invites us to support and pray for all people. So, pray for your peers, colleagues, supervisor, leaders, and politicians, asking He grant them salvation and wisdom to serve His people morally, courageously and with loyalty.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4 NIV