Seventy years ago today, a foreign country attacked our homeland and decisively engaged the U.S. in World War II—no longer permitting us to watch "them vs. them" from a distance. When war became "us vs. them" (no pun intended), one of the measures our nation took was incarcerating U.S. citizens of Japanese descent, lest we be infiltrated by our enemy.
War brings us to redefine whom we call good and whom we call evil, in order to separate ourselves from the "them" we must battle.
So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.
~ Exodus 14:20 (NKJV)
The Lord YHWH would soon call and train His people to cooperate with Him in waging war against the various enemies of YHWH and His people. But in this passage, He chooses to instead segregate the Israelites from the Egyptians, while YHWH wages a battle reserved to Himself. At the Red Sea, YHWH delivers His people in parting the waters to permit escape, and seals that escape in the returning waters which destroy their enemies.
The Red Sea incident is the Lord's vivid picture of spiritual deliverance and destruction accomplished some 1475 years later at Calvary, a battle God reserves to Himself. In Jesus' blood sacrifice and death, He destroys mankind's greatest enemy of Death, sealing our escape penalty for sin.
Having been delivered from our greatest enemy, we are now called and trained to cooperate with the Lord in waging war against the various powers that would cause us harm. Our enmity is not with people, but with sin and its influence. Just as the Israelites of old were instructed to be ruthless in destroying their surrounding enemies, in order to escape the infiltration and influence of other nations, we are to be ruthless in fighting against sin's strongholds in our lives, to escape the infiltration and power of sin.
The Bible defines our war not in the sometimes nebulous terms of good & evil, but instead uses definitions such as Spirit & flesh (or sinful nature [NIV]), truth and lies, light and darkness. Because of the kind of influence they both have, the Bible also calls us to have separate kinds of relationships with people of light than with people of Darkness:
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
"I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."
~ 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 (NIV)
The above passage is usually applied to marriage. While marriage is the most important relationship to apply this principle, it is not the only one. The context of these verses is recognizing that we have become a completely new person, and should no longer rely upon the world's definitions for segregation.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
~ 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NIV)
In being reconciled to God and His Light of life, we also recognize that while we keep company with people of Darkness, we need to remain separate from close relationship with them—even as we, who are God's light, minister His reconciliation to them (the very next verse):
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:18 (NIV)
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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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