“The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim… Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword”.
Ex 17:8, 13 NIV
Conflict of one kind or another seems to be an inevitable part of human experience. In a discussion on the cost of armaments a radio panellist observed, “Well, Napoleon once said, ‘You will always have some army in your country. Either your own or someone else’s’”. Much of human history is the story of conflict after conflict.
Even in the supposedly empty desert, there were people. The Amalekites came from the country to the east of the Dead Sea They posed a frequent military threat to the Israelites over many centuries. As if the harsh life of the desert were not a sufficient threat to the freed slaves, enemies came and harassed them as well. Was it a contest for a source of water the Israelites had found? The fact of conflict, a result of different people having to live together, is a thread running right through the Bible. It makes present and real the cosmic conflict between God and evil, right and wrong, righteousness and sinfulness, light and darkness, truth and falsehood. The Bible is not about being nice and good. It is about fighting with and overcoming evil. Finally, in the Book of Revelation there is an epic contest in which the archangel Michael overcomes and slays the dragon – representative of Satan.
Followers of Jesus must note that his whole ministry was exercised against the background of his struggle with enemies. And when the apostles went out, they were often subject to persecution. The Amalekites have their modern-day counterparts – those who seek to oppose and undermine the witness of the church to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t mess around – oppose them.
Lord, help me in the spiritual warfare I have to wage.