As a child, I was small in frame. When you’re the little kid and they’re choosing sides for “cow pasture” football, it is so devastating to be chosen last – or not chosen at all! Probably all of us can identify with not being chosen for something we desired. But, as Christians, we have been chosen by God (1 Peter 2:4-5) – chosen to be His people (1 Peter 2:9-10). And, like the children of Israel, we were not chosen to be God’s people because of our merits (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). While the Bible has numerous examples of how God cares for His people, I want to use an example we might have overlooked. In this case, it is how God does not like for His people to be mistreated – even today.
In Exodus 17, we read how the Amalekites fought with Israel in Rephidim as God’s people journeyed from Egypt to Mount Sinai. Joshua led the Israelites to victory over these descendants of Esau, but we normally focus on Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ hands during the battle. However, notice verse 14 – Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” God planned to destroy the Amalekites, but He allowed them to plague His people for several more years.
The Lord eventually gave King Saul the responsibility of carrying out His promise as we read in 1 Samuel 15:2-3 – “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”
We are likely familiar with Saul’s failure to carry out his mission and Samuel killing Agag. Saul’s disobedience caused him to lose his kingdom. But the Lord had patiently waited to punish Amalek for mistreating His people. Twice in the New Testament we are reminded “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord (Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30). And He will!
Two quick lessons. God still loves His people – His chosen ones – and does not want them to be mistreated. I believe that’s why there are so many “one another” passages in the New Testament to warn us to love and care for each other. Secondly, Christians are going to be mistreated in this life (James 1:2; 1 Peter 4:12). However, judgment day is coming, and God will take vengeance on those who did not care for His people (Matthew 25:31-46).
As God’s elect or chosen ones, let’s be careful how we treat one another and remember the apostle Paul’s words in Romans 8:18 – “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”