‘Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.’ Exodus 17:8
Suggested Further Reading: Genesis 39:1–12
Spiritual fighting must be conducted on most earnest and prudent principles. They were to ‘choose out men.’ So we must choose out our ways of contending with sin. The best part of a man should be engaged in warfare with his sins. Certain sins can only be fought with the understanding; we ought then to sit down, and deliberately look at the evil, and learn its wickedness, by deliberately judging and considering its motives and its consequences. Perhaps when we clearly see what the sin is, Mr Understanding, as Bunyan calls it, may be able to knock the brains out of it. One peculiar order of sins are only to be overcome by a speedy flight like that of the chaste Joseph. Sins of the flesh are never to be reasoned or parleyed with; there is no more reasoning with them than with the winds; understanding is nonplussed, for lust like a hurricane of sand blinds the eyes. We must fly. It is true valour in such a case to turn the back. ‘Resist the devil,’ says James, but Paul does not say ‘resist lust’; he puts it thus—‘Flee also youthful lusts.’ When warring with the legions of unrighteousness we shall need all the best powers of our renewed nature, for the conflict will be stern. O believer, you will need to bring your veterans, your pick and your choice thoughts into the fight with Amalek; the faith which has endured the storm must face the foe, the love which endures all things must march to the war. It is no child’s play to fight with sin. It needed all the Saviour’s strength to tread it in the winepress when he was here on earth, and it will want all your might and more to overcome it—you will only overcome it indeed through the blood of the Lamb.
For meditation: Whatever the temptation faced by the Christian, God is certain to have provided a way to escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Whether that is to turn and flee or to stand and fight (1 Timothy 6:11–12) will depend on the circumstances and the nature of the temptation.
Sermon no. 712
23 September (1866)