No Enemies, Just People
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
I've heard it said that history is always told from the perspective of the winners. I have found this to be true. How often have you heard of any of the wars your country has fought in that are described as having failed miserably? Or having been the oppressors? Or having been fought unjustly?
The Israelites credited God with the miraculous, good work of defeating their enemies, the oppressors and aggressors. But what of the Egyptians? What of the women and children who lost their husbands to the sea? What of the communities decimated by the loss of hundreds of their local soldiers? Pharaoh's armies were under the command of Pharaoh. What did Pharaoh lose when he pursued Israel? Power and soldiers, perhaps. But other than his son (who he lost before he pursued Israel), Pharaoh lost little compared to the people he was supposed to protect. Egypt, however, lost everything.
Even today, I think of the people we are fighting. What of their wives and husbands lost to war? What of their communities obliterated by bombings and warfare? We like to believe we are right and just. But our enemies also believe they are right and just. War is not easy. It is not simple. It is complex and destructive for both sides. Perhaps if we saw the enemy as human beings with families, dreams, faith, communities, it might be harder to praise God for wiping them out.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Exodus 14:26-31
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.