Do not go out to the fields or walk on the roads, for the enemy has a sword, and there is terror on every side (Jeremiah 6:25).
Sometimes it is dangerous to go out.
He said he wasn’t afraid, though I had not asked if he was. He was young. But he was a Soldier. He was determined. But his eyes showed worry. He was rolling out to be part of a convoy heading “up north.” He was just a stone’s throw from Iraq. But he said he wasn’t afraid. With a wave and a smile, he shouted:
“Today, Haji dies!”
That same Monday morning there were mothers sending little ones off to school, and commuters fighting traffic backups. They had tasks to perform and expectations to meet. They probably hoped the day would go well.
They did not expect that on this day, they might need to take the life of another person. He did.
If someone was to die on that day, the young Soldier was determined it would not be him.
He knew he needed to be able to kill without hesitation. Hesitation could get himself and others killed. So, he dehumanized the enemy. “Today, Haji dies!”
Dehumanizing names for enemy combatants have been used before. In other wars, they used Hun, or Kraut, or Gook, or Charlie. Haji was chosen as the name for the enemy in the Middle East. There are others.
For the every-day citizens to ask others to kill for them is asking a lot. Yet, it’s often done without much thought. Most civilians simply expect that someone will step forward to defend their country. Few recognize the burden that this places onto the warrior’s shoulders. Losing a battle is not the same as losing a football game. Lives may be lost if lives are not taken.
The thrill of triumphant over enemies killed may turn into regret in later life. The question that comes to the mind of the Christian warrior is, “What does God think about all of this?”
Fortunately, God tells us what he thinks. He commands us to protect lives. He entrusts governing authorities with the responsibility of using force, even lethal weapons, to deal with those who would do harm. To such ones, he says, “Be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing” (Romans 13:4).
Few stateside Americans know what it is like to live at a time such as Jeremiah writes about. Most have only heard about terror. We are not afraid to walk in a field lest we be ambushed. We do not fear that IEDs are planted on our roadways. We pray those days never come.
We do, however, know that terror exists. Some are homegrown. Some thrive in foreign fields. It seems no matter how often it is rooted out, back it grows again. For the seed of terror is Evil— and that sprouts everywhere.
In a hymn, we sing, “I walk in danger all the way…” We have little idea of how true that is.
There is an Enemy behind every enemy we face. His name is not Haji. It is Satan. He once took on the Son of Righteousness—and lost. It’s important that we remember that: he lost!
There is a saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This is true. The enemy of all that would do me harm is my Friend Jesus. With a King David, I will say to him, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
With him, I can go out into danger without fear.
We pray: Lord Jesus, sometimes we forget how dangerous the world is that we live in. And sometimes we know very well that we are walking into danger. Be with us so that we need not ever fear. Not even death can defeat us. We will live with you forever. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military