Walt Kelly drew the Pogo© comic strip for several decades. I read it in my childhood, little-suspecting that it was a political cartoon – often about the way we are polluting the environment. The forlorn opossum said many wise things about how we are shooting ourselves in the foot politically, economically and environmentally.
While the saying “we have met the enemy and he is us” may not have originated with Walt Kelly, it is widely-associated with his character, Pogo.
I have an idea the original thought is entirely Biblical.
The Psalmist named the enemies in verses 6-8: these Edomites and Ishmaelites; Moabites and Hagrites; Gebalites, Ammonites, and Amalekites; and people from Philistia and Tyre. Assyria has joined them, too, and is allied with the descendants of Lot. (NLT)
When an Israelite looked across the battle line towards the enemy, he likely was staring at a third or fourth cousin. We look into the eyes of the invader and we meet our DNA.
So Who are God’s Enemies?
The prayer of Asaph (Psalm 83) asks God to destroy His enemies, the enemies of Israel. Considering how often Israel was disobedient and arrogantly wandering away from God, it hardly seems like a safe thing to have that prayer answered. Often, Israel’s actions placed her more in the enemy camp than in God’s loving embrace.
And this brings me to us….the “good ol’ US of A”.
I’ve often heard nationalism substituted for Christianity. And it is in no short supply, prayer-wise, around July 4th. We pray, O, Lord, protect our beloved nation from its enemies and Yours.
But…are we really on that kind of strong, friendly terms with God?
· A nation with moral issues that would make ancient Greeks and Romans blush?
· A nation consuming the world’s resources like we own them?
· A nation willing to abort its own children like ancient Molech?
· A nation where ethics are unimportant; just don’t get caught with your hand in the till?
I digress: We have met the enemy and he is us!
Chuck Colson wrote: “…indifference to truth is at the root of the moral collapse in American life.”
Colson’s thesis is sadly being proven accurate in our day with little light at the end of the tunnel. It will take a revival of miracle proportions (well aren’t they always?) to turn this nation and world around. It will take sackcloth and ashes kind of repentance I have never seen in my lifetime.
But is there hope?
Revival doesn’t begin with towns or groups or religious denominations. Revival begins in the hearts of people….one at a time.
Are you one of those who will pray? Today would be a wonderful day to begin laying aside the Prayer of Jabez (for all kinds of blessings), and begin praying the prayer of contrition, confession and godly sorrow. Who knows, perhaps it can change.
Then, perhaps, we can say: we have met the friends of God and they are us!