The nation will surely be pausing to observe 9/11 in various ways ten years after it happened. (How time flies!)
In the annals of world and/or a nation’s history, certain events and/or days—such as the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941—have been said to “live in infamy” (as then President Roosevelt put it).
Days of infamy would be defined as days which, due to events that transpired on them, are remembered as days “of disgrace and dishonor because of some extreme evil or wickedness.” The simple fact that one can throw out two calendar days separated by a slash, and people know instantly what is being referred to is a pretty good indication that 9/11 will be remembered as long as America exists. (As this was being written, the report came of the horrific slaughter of 76 innocents in Norway by a deranged man; 7/22/11 will likely live in infamy in that country’s history.)
Yours truly was serving as a pastor at the time Islamic terrorists crashed those commercial planes into the World Trade Center towers (New York City) and the Pentagon (Washington D. C.), causing much loss of life (some 3,000 souls to heaven or hell!).
For a message of comfort and encouragement to our congregation the following Sunday (9/16/01) we selected Psalm 27 as text. The reassuring theme (we have the hard copy sermon in hand) was: OUR SAVIOR-GOD, OUR STRONGHOLD.
Under the Spirit’s guidance, King David composed this psalm about a believer’s faith and confidence when his “enemies” and his “foes” (whether flesh and blood foes or ‘spiritual hosts of wickedness in high places’) attack.
The king spoke from first-hand experience. His predecessor Saul sought repeatedly to kill him. David’s own son Absalom was a traitor to his father.
Yet through it all David maintained a firm faith in His God, the Covenant God, the God of his fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was confident that, as the LORD God had delivered Moses and the Israelites from Pharaoh and his army, bringing His children safely into the Promised Land, the same LORD would be the strength and stronghold of His children of all times.
As the sermon went on, we referred to a couple other lesser known and remembered days which nevertheless still “live in infamy” in world history.
“As Christians we have answers to questions such as ‘How could a loving God allow such a thing to happen?’….For one thing, we know that while God is indeed a ‘God of love,’ He is at the same time a just and righteous God—a God who must and does punish sin and unbelief. Let’s review a bit: God created Adam and Eve holy, without sin. He forewarned them that if they disobeyed Him and ate of the forbidden fruit, they would surely die. The very first day which “lives in infamy (disgrace and dishonor)” was in the Garden of Eden when our first parents chose to disobey God, so that they DID in fact die—died spiritually, becoming enemies of God, dead in trespasses and sins, plunging all of their descendants into the pit of sin and hell with them. As evidence of this sin, their first son Cain killed their second son, Abel. Where was God those infamous days? He was right there, wasn’t He, having first warned Adam and Eve what their disobedience would bring about; then warning Cain of what could happen if he did not control his jealous anger! The perverted, unchecked will of Cain’s naturally sinful heart led him to commit murder.”
As the sermon continued, yet another day of world history which “lives in infamy” was mentioned:
“So goes the history of men and of nations, multiplied million and billion times over, ever since in this sinful world. In His Word God has told us that ‘out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies’ (Matthew 15:19)….We must confess that these seeds of evil can and do also erupt within the sinful nature of each of us. It was all such a hopeless case for mankind, as God Himself knew, which is why He entered the picture. He had promised to send His Son into the world to save sinners. You know what Jesus did. He lived a holy life and died an innocent death on the cross for sinners. Say, what a ‘day of infamy (disgrace and dishonor)’ that was—the day that Jesus Christ was crucified! And where was the loving God of heaven on THAT Day, fellow sinners? He was right there, wasn’t He, pouring out His just and righteous wrath for sin on His only-begotten Son, and all for the gracious purpose that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have forgiveness of sins and everlasting life?! Thus this ‘day of infamy’ became, paradoxically, ‘the day of salvation’ for sinners all!”
This writer and his wife were privileged to visit (tour) Pearl Harbor this past spring. It can be emotional, seeing on-site the various memorials, pictures, and movies, reliving and rehearsing the shocking evil of 12/7/41. Similarly the horrific events of the 9/11/01 will be replayed and re-witnessed for years to come.
But here’s the best news: also recorded—in the LORD’S Holy Scriptures!—for all to see, hear, read, and remember are the details of the spiritual days of infamy mentioned above.
Dear reader, while here “in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13), let’s get the Word out—before the consummate day of infamy for the fallen world of men, Judgment Day, engulfs and swallows them up.