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Know Your Enemy

The Old Testament’s historical account of the Israelites, their time as slaves in Egypt under Pharaoh has been often metaphorically compared to a Christian’s life before accepting Christ. Reading through Exodus, the obvious enemies for the captive Israelites were Egypt and Pharaoh.

Let’s first look at what Egypt represents for Israelites and for the sinner. The entire section from Hebrews 3:14-4:11 is one extended metaphor comparing Israel who left Egypt, which the Hebrew writer uses to symbolize Christians who have also left the World of Sin and slavery. Leaving “Egypt” takes one that is a slave to sin to being freed from that bondage by accepting Christ.

Now the second enemy for the Israelites is Pharaoh, who can be compared to Satan. Pharaoh was an oppressor, who enslaved the Israelites making their lives from miserable to unbearable until Moses enters the scene.

These two enemies were destroyed by God when the Israelites left Egypt. The redemption begins when Pharaoh decides to let them go. On the day of Passover, the lamb is sacrificed and applied to the doorposts of the Israelites’ homes, and the angel of death passes over. Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and out of Pharaoh’s control. In the same manner, when a sinner repents and accepts Christ, Satan who represents Pharaoh loses control. The spotless blood of the Passover lamb Jesus Christ is applied on the heart of the sinner giving him freedom from the World of sin (Egypt) and Satan (Pharaoh). The sinner is no longer under the wrath of God, no longer under Satan, and leaves the world of sin when he commits his life to Christ. He then is a redeemed child of God adopted into His kingdom. This is the Christian’s Exodus and he begins his journey to the Promised Land.

But we know the life of a Christian doesn’t end here after this miraculous transformation of the heart. He has another enemy to contend with during this journey to the Promised Land! There was a third behemoth stumbling block that the Israelites could never overcome – these were the Amalekites, descendants of Esau. The Israelites could never completely defeat the Amalekites after leaving Egypt. They were a constant thorn, a nagging and painful leech that could not be shaken off for Israel. They fought many wars with them throughout their history. Amalek represents the third enemy for the born again Christian that he simply can’t seem to shake off or completely overcome – the Flesh.

In Deuteronomy 25:17 the Lord reminds the Israelites of this unconquerable enemy. “Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt, how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were faint and weary.”

And then in the next verse the Lord follows this reminder by a resolute promise to one day destroy the Amalekites forever!

“Therefore it shall come about when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.”

The Christian is in constant war with Flesh or Amalek until the very end of his life.  The Flesh is a concept that stands to thwart God’s purposes in a sinner and a Christian, continually challenging what God is trying to accomplish in them. Each of us, redeemed children of God has this struggle within us of fighting the Flesh. The lust of the Flesh, lust of the eyes, the pride of life, all forms of temptations, physical diseases and infirmities exist for the Christian and this is a constant battle he is up against. Amalek never completely leaves the Christian while he is alive, but the Lord has given him a spiritual armor to fight Amalek. After each battle of fighting the Flesh with help from the Holy Spirit, Amalek leaves momentarily only to return with another temptation and the constant fight resumes. But we can win each battle, every moment by utterly depending on the power of the Holy Spirit.

But remember the promise that God gave the Israelites to one day annihilate Amalek once in for all. We all know that one wonderful and glorious day, God will destroy this pesky Amalek once in for all, he will destroy this enemy that we find unconquerable – the Flesh. God has his heart set to destroy Esau, Edom, Amalek and all the characteristics of the Flesh. Know this with absolute certainty, God will one day clothe us with a heavenly body when we get to the Promised Land and we will never ever have to fight the enemy Amalek, this FLESH anymore.  But until then, rely on the Holy Spirit and use your spiritual armor and weapons for each fight. It works!  ~Libby

Photo by Ricardo Cruz on Unsplash

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