“I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.” Exodus 15:1b NASB.
I remember singing this song, when I was a child, to a traditional Jewish sounding melody which commends itself to the memory of Moses’ sister, Miriam, dancing around, singing, and beating her tambourine after the Egyptian army had been drowned in the sea (Exodus 15:19-21). The song is so happy and triumphant, one can’t help but like it. Its’ understandable that Moses and Miriam and the whole Israelite family were rejoicing that their slave masters had been destroyed, but is it okay for Christians adopt this attitude toward our enemies? Didn’t Jesus teach us to love our enemies?
Recently, I heard about a young man named Solomon in Nigeria who had to face a Muslim mob demanding that he and his father should deny Christ and become Muslim. After refusing to deny Christ, Solomon’s father was killed with a machete. Solomon himself was then doused with gasoline and asked again to deny Christ. When he refused once more, Solomon was knocked to the ground and an attacker drove a motorcycle over him and pinned him to the ground, laying the hot engine on his back to ignite the gasoline. After suffering very serious burns, police finally came and brought Solomon to a hospital. Solomon still suffers the inability to move his arms fully because of the extent of the burns on his back, but while he was recovering, Solomon was asked what he would do if he got the chance to meet his enemies today. Solomon replied, “I would say the same thing that Jesus said on the cross—‘Lord, forgive them.’” (Taken from the Voice of the Martyrs August 2015 issue, page 8-9). Solomon’s story is not old or unusual. Christians are being persecuted all over the world because of their allegiance to Jesus. ISIS has particularly targeted Jews and Christians. There is much anxiety about what can be done to hold back this wave of evil that seems to be sweeping the world. Can Christians adopt this Jewish hope of our enemies being hurled into the sea? When Jesus visited Decapolis, a Gentile city, he was accosted by a man who was filled with demons. This man lived alone in a grave yard because he was so violent. Jesus asked the man, “What is your name?” “Legion” the man replied because he was filled with many demons. This name reflected the way that many Jews felt about the Roman “Legions” who ruled over them. They were the enemies who were possessing their land and oppressing God’s people. What does Jesus do about it? Jesus doesn’t destroy the man or the Romans. Instead, Jesus identifies the demons as the enemy and cast them into the sea (Mark 5:1-13). It is absolutely appropriate that we should adopt the expectation of God’s people that our enemies will be cast into the sea, so long as we know who our enemy truly is. Our enemy is not the individual members of ISIS, but the evil spirit that lies behind ISIS. The liberation from of this spirit will result in singing and dancing! “The horse and rider are thrown into the sea!”