Hydrated and ready for the next fifty miles, our cheerful band of pilgrims were chirping away fantasizing about what a land of milk and honey would actually look like, and about different ways of preparing manna. The shining sun met no obstacles on its way to brighten their path so the whole world was clear and crisp. Several men pulled flutes out of their packages to delight the air and ears and to give a little rhythm to their steps on this merry day.
No one knew that they were marching straight into the territory of the Amalek, a particularly unfriendly and brutal family. Until now, the Children of God had been so thoughtful of battling internal dilemmas: hunger, worry, illness and then one level up, societal issues: helping the aged, infirm and children keep up, water management, and tent set up and break-down, that it hadn’t occurred to them that there would be a third level of conflict and turmoil to deal with, that is the small matter of enemies.
They had never thought of themselves as intruders before. But so they were for between Egypt and God’s Green Acre the People of God now had to pass through many strange and mysterious cultures. How they would maintain their unique purpose and identity, not to mention their lives was clearly going to be a joint effort between the people and their God. Each man, woman, and child knew in his and her heart that enemy territory would define him or her and their corporate mission. Like ballerinas on a high wire this band of holy pilgrims would need muscle and focus to get across the room of battle.
When the congregation of Israel quieted itself as it did in intervals to listen for enemies the beasts of Amalek were heard.
“Asa, did you hear what I heard?”
“I’m afraid so Ben. This isn’t going to be easy, how would you like it if 600,000 people, not including women, children, the elderly and the tribe of Levi walked across your back yard?”
“We won’t eat much.” joked Ben, more nervous than he sounded.
“The way I see it Ben, we have three choices. If these earth-bound landowners don’t accommodate us people of God we can: 1. Kill them, loot their towns and keep on going, 2. Tell them about who we are and see if they want to join us, which would mean that they would have to forsake their gods, maybe families too, or 3. We can settle down and join them and forsake our God.”
“Asa, it is amazing how you made killing and looting sound like such a good option. You know how impossible it is to convince anyone who wasn’t given the Spirit and the Blood to receive guidance; besides how impossible it is to choose someone God hasn’t chosen for Himself to be as crazy-different as we are, and worse, you know what would happen if we joined them. We would surely die. No Promise Land, no immortality, just oats and hay until we dust-up like animals. Nope, that’s not the life for me Asa.”
“So, Ben, it looks like we have no choice. We must accept our differences and plow through the threatening obstacles no matter how strong or how alluring they are. God is with us. We are in this world but we are not of this world. Our job is to cling to the Lord, and not to surrender to foreigners that would corrupt. No compromise. Can we do that my friend?”
“Let’s see here, Asa. Our choice is life or death. I’ll choose life! Where is my hatchet?
(What does it mean to kill them? Separate yourself, don’t accept the compromises they force on you to adopt their priorities: lust of power, lust of the flesh and pride of life.)