Navajo Devotion: Being a Navajo Code Talker

After her mission trip with the Utah-Idaho LWML last summer to Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Navajo, New Mexico, Terri Bentley was inspired to write a series of devotions. Following is her devotion on the Navajo Code Talkers.

Being a Navajo Code Talker

The Navajo people are proud of their contribution to the war effort in World War II. They not only have a memorial to these brave soldiers but when meeting people in the community, they are eager to tell you they are a veteran or a descendant of a Code Talker.

The Legendary Navajo Code Talkers

If you are not familiar with the term Code Talker, these are the men who used their Navajo language to send coded radio messages during the war in the South Pacific. You can learn more about and hear from Navajo Code Talkers at

Whereas in ancient times God scrambled the over-proud people's language when they thought they could build the tower of Babel to God (Genesis 11:1-9), he was now able to use that same confusion to save His people.

In fact, the reason the Navajo language was used during WWII is because of Philip Johnston. He was the son of a Protestant missionary who had grown up in western Navajo and had learned the language playing with Navajo children. When the military was running out of unbroken codes, he brought this idea of using the Navajo language for the war effort. It worked.

The Navajo Code Talkers memorized specialized military terms to use in relaying secret radio messages in the Pacific Islands. The enemy was not able to break their code and the war eventually came to an end.

We also need to commit a special code to memory. God’s Word is a message that we can use to thwart the world’s enemy, the devil.

“And [he] shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’” (Deut. 20:3-4, ESV)

Armed with scripture in our hearts, we too can fight. Because we should all "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12, ESV)

Dear Lord, help us know your code of life and use it to confound the evil one when he seeks to destroy us. In Jesus’ name. Amen

- Terri Bentley, Lutheran Indian Ministries Volunteer

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