Saturday, April 08, 2006

Those Stubborn Enemies

Records of human history make us aware of countless empires that have ousted people from their homes to take over lands. At times conquest was simple, easy, and hardly troublesome at all. As the invaders moved forward their enemy seemed to almost step aside, their strength being minimal in comparison to the encroaching force. But others did not relinquish their claim on the territory so readily. In such situations the invaders may have accepted a compromise of ownership. An agreement to live in close proximity was settled upon. An area would be occupied by one nation while the other settled in the neighboring territory. Treaties were established and borders scribed.

The outcome of such arrangements may vary. Peace may reign for a season, but differences eventually can lead to conflict of word or action. In our day, we see an example of this in the Middle East. Artificially imposed borders have created nation-states, but time has shown that those artificial impositions inflict wounds that will not heal, wounds that bleed interminably in the heart and soul of nations.

Another solution may be willing compromise, an overlooking of differences, an amalgamation of culture including tradition, arts, and religion. Voila! A new culture evolves as old ways are exchanged for the au courant. In our modern humanistic mindset this could only mean an improvement. Surely people such as these are to be commended for their open-mindedness and tolerance. All liberal hats are off to them for sure. After all, peace at all costs is the supreme goal, isn’t it?

I will not venture to suggest any direct application to current political situations. That will be left to your own consideration. But I do want to apply some of these thoughts to the spiritual realm.

In reading the record of history as accounted in Joshua and Judges we see Israel facing such dilemmas. Some of their enemies had been handily overcome. Others they were unable to defeat. Therefore they decided to live in agreement, to make compromise, to accept the enemy’s presence in their midst. Lines were drawn, crossed, and culture mixed. This was not God's plan, narrowminded as that may be.

I have been challenged by God to realize that I have done the same. Through the years I set up arbitrary boundaries, foolishly thinking that I could live at peace (false as it may be) with enemies. I agreed with them that they were too strong, that I could not easily overthrow them, and therefore they were allowed to remain.

I have been deceived; I have failed to walk by faith. I have forgotten a third option of empire building: team up with a strong ally to increase your strength.

A strong ally – I have the strongest of all allies. In fact, I have the same ally that Israel had. According to the scriptures, they were cited for disobedience because they were without excuse. After all the Lord of hosts, God Himself, was on their side – there was no legitimate reason for compromise.

Neither is there excuse for me.

Pride, insecurity, anger, impulsiveness, greed, lust, impatience, unkindness, laziness – any enemy of God is to be driven out. We are His, bought and paid for. This heart of mine is to be ruled by one ruler. They are not allowed to dwell in His domain. We are not to set up camp next door to even one of them!

Sometimes we have battled unsuccessfully for years and in time we have given up, given in, and given place to their presence. If we are not careful we may even begin to identify with them, thinking of them as “who we are”.

This is where I find myself. And I find God challenging me to recognize them for who they are; to remember His command to drive them all out completely; to stir up faith by acknowledging my great Ally and His never failing promise to go before me, defeating the enemy on my behalf; and finally, to stand until I see it accomplished – not waning in tenacity simply because there have been years of failure but instead clinging by faith to the unseen declaration of fulfillment found concerning me in His infallible Word.

So, in spite of years of false peace, errant treaties, and wrong acknowledgements made in agreement with an enemy’s lies, I will rise up and answer the call. The trumpet has sounded once again, and I must respond. We are made for battle, within and without. The Captain of my soul leads onward – onward to battle for territory in my soul yet to be made completely His.

And I thought it was time to rest on my laurels. Silly me.

1 Comments:

Anonymous zach said...

Thank you very much !!!! I think I was smiling because I saw you for the fisrt time in like forever!!

9:20 PM  

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