If God is such a good God, why does He allow people to suffer? If God is a merciful God, why do we read so many instances in the Old Testament where He deals with people in such violent ways? Why would you want to follow a God who is like that?
God told Saul to completely and utterly annihilate the Amalekites. That was the mission He gave Saul. Well, who were the Amalekites? The enemies of God and the enemies of Israel. They attacked the weak, powerless and unprotected people of Israel on their wanderings in the wilderness. They symbolised everything that stands against God.
We read about them in Exodus 17. After the incident of God providing water from the rock, we read Joshua had to fight off the Amalekites. It was the time Moses stood on the mountain and held his hands up to God in prayer for victory. When Moses got tired, Aaron and Hur stood beside him, and each lifted one of Moses’ hands. With Moses’ hands raised, Joshua started winning but when Moses’ hands drooped, the enemy prevailed.
The Amalekites also represent everything that will destroy the people of God – including Christians. Paul tells us that today we don’t wrestle and fight against people but against spiritual powers. So what are these powers we must ‘fight’ and conquer?
Bad habits, selfishness, pride, and our depraved humanity. Yes, each one of us is tempted by evil. We have thoughts, which we have to conquer. We see or hear things, which cause us unease, shame and embarrassment. We have to fight the lure of pornography and prostitution. We have to resist the desire for pride and selfish ambition. We need to conquer our tongues and self-centred anger.
We cannot do it in our own strength – that is why addictions are so difficult to overcome. We can only do so by drawing on a superior higher power – and the only Higher Power with All Authority is Jesus Christ. If we submit to Him and ask for His help, He will give us the Power of His Holy Spirit to conquer every addiction and temptation.
However, we need to remember that we can only win if we desire to win and we resist every thought to succumb to the temptation.
You don’t look at pornography in order to ‘master’ it. You don’t take drugs in order to find out how to combat them. You don’t have a one-night stand so you can help others struggling with adultery. You don’t buy a Lotto ticket as an aid to give up the gambling habit.
No. We resist all these things at the source. And where is that source? In our minds. First, we concentrate on God and His Word. Then we resist all the temptations as soon as they come. Dwelling on a temptation is a sure recipe for failure. As the proverb goes – Run from a bull and strike a snake. You will never win if you try and compromise with evil and temptation.