Thursday, June 24, 2010

National Pride (DT 25:17-19)

"Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt, how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear God. Therefore it shall come about when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget." (Deuteronomy 25:17-19)
After the Israelites had fully possessed the Promised Land and had vanquished their surrounding enemies, they were then to turn their attention to some unfinished business, namely the punishing of the Amalekites for how they treated them as they journeyed through the desert. At the time, Israel was not in a position to deal with them and punish them for their mistreatment. Later, however, there would come a time to requite the Amalekites for the injuries they suffered from them.

This "taking care of unfinished business" was common among the kings. Just before his death, David gives this charge to his son Solomon to take care of some of his own unfinished business.
"Now you also know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner, and to Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed; he also shed the blood of war in peace. And he put the blood of war on his belt about his waist, and on his sandals on his feet. So act according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to Sheol in peace... Behold, there is with you Shimei the son of Gera the Benjamite, of Bahurim; now it was he who cursed me with a violent curse on the day I went to Mahanaim. But when he came down to me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord, saying, 'I will not put you to death with the sword.' Now therefore, do not let him go unpunished, for you are a wise man; and you will know what you ought to do to him, and you will bring his gray hair down to Sheol with blood." (1 Kings 2:5-6, 8-9)
What must be understood is the importance of national pride. National pride reinforces a strong since of national identity and motivates a nation's citizens to work together for a common good and purpose. It fuels the citizenry to participate in their civic duties and to fight for the preservation of their nation. Without a since of national pride a nation becomes weak and susceptible to various innovations and a deterioration of its culture and identity.

When a nation's pride is injured it must be addressed and defended. In this case, the remedy was the complete and utter destruction of Amalek as punishment for the injuries the Israelites suffered. This is not to say that every slight of insult needs to be retaliated or that the correct response for every injury is war, but national pride must be defended and, when injured, necessitates a response.

One thing that saddens me regarding my country's present circumstances is that national pride is almost ridiculed. Our president has made multiple speeches in foreign countries, not supporting his country, but apologizing for America and casting dispersions upon her. Even recently, the president of Mexico, while appearing before congress, chastised America's immigration laws, laws that are more generous than his own country's laws, with no response or rebuff from the president. At what point do we say, "enough is enough?" At what point to we defend our national pride? How long can we be silent?

David Robison

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