Monday, July 6, 2009

Deceitful foes

“Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.”- Exodus 17:8.

If you look for friendship from a sinful world you are grievously mistaken. There is a deadly hereditary feud between the Christian and the powers of darkness. It sprang up in the garden, in the day when God said, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed,” and it continues still the same. You must fight if you would win the crown, and your pathway to the other side of Jordan must be the pathway of an armed crusader, who has to contend for every inch of the way if he is to win it. In proceeding with the narrative we notice that they found opposition from an unexpected quarter. Ignorance may have made them reckon upon the friendliness of Amalek, for they evidently journeyed at their ease without proper precaution, presuming upon the relationship and peaceableness of the dwellers in the land. It is just where we feel most safe that we should be most cautious. “A man’s foes are they of his own household.”

I do not think the Christian has so much to fear from open and avowed enemies as from those deceitful foes who feign to be his friends. Sin is never so much a Jezebel as when it paints its face with daubs of respectability and patches of innocence. Things dubious are more dangerous than things distinctly evil. The border land between right and wrong is thronged with thieves and robbers; beware of cut throats ye who journey there. Even right things may easily become wrong when they carry away our hearts, and therefore we must guard against their attractions. Many people need not be much afraid of being led into drunkenness and blasphemy, for we are not likely to give way to these grosser evils; but we have far more reason to watch against worldliness and pride, for these are enemies which select the godly as their special object of attack. Take heed to your virtues, Christian, for these, when exaggerated, become your vices; take care of the good things in which you boast, for they may furnish heat for the hatching of the vipers’ eggs of pride and self-satisfaction.

From a sermon entitled War With Amalek, delivered September 23, 1866. Image by Dean Souglass under Creative Commons License.

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