Then Came Amalek!  
(From the Book "The Saving Life of Christ" by Ian Thomas)


     Returning to Exodus 17, we see that no sooner had God given His people water in the desert to temporarily satisfy their spiritual thirst, "then came Amalek and fought with Israel..." Amalek here is the picture of the flesh-life.

     Under the influence of Satan, the flesh will do everything it can to prevent God's "called out" people from entering into God's Sabbath-rest. The flesh will assert its willful nature and attempt to maintain its dominion over the body, the mind, the will, and the emotions. Truly, many are called out of Egypt, but few are chosen to be taken into the promised land.

     Amalek still has its strength in the early border areas of the wilderness. Remaining close to spiritual Egypt is not a safe place to live for long periods of time. You will surely be beaten if you remain this close to those worldly influences where Amalek, as the flesh-life, has all of its strength. The carnal nature will remain alive and active as it continues to feed itself on the things of the world.

     Amalek presents us with a most fascinating study and illustrates the consistency of the Holy Spirit in the language which He uses in His revelation of truth throughout the whole of the Bible. He may use several spiritual types or symbols to illustrate the same spiritual principle, but such types or symbols will be used with complete consistency throughout the whole of Scripture.

     This is one of the most remarkable evidences of the miraculous inspiration of the Bible. You will discover that the Bible will come to life in a new way, and the Old Testament in particular will become much richer, a Book charged with spiritual significance, if you will allow the Holy Spirit to teach you the meaning of His spiritual types according to the language that He uses.

     We have already seen that just as soon as the Holy Spirit is breathed into your human spirit (John 20: 22) as a forgiven sinner who has agreed to stop directing your own life, His office is to re-invade your soul and to reestablish the temple of God. It must be properly prepared before the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ can fill the temple of your body with the glory of His divine nature and then rule in the areas of your mind, your emotions and your will.

     The undivided kingdom of God is not established in the heart when we first believe in Jesus. Desert preaching, which teaches repentance, is intended to prepare God's "called out" people to enter His undivided kingdom. (Matt. 3: 1-12) "From that time on Jesus began to preach, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'" (Matt. 4: 17) Only after the temple is wholly consecrated for Christ's exclusive use is the Lord able to re-inhabit your redeemed humanity with His divine life and glory from heaven.

     There is, however, immediate resistance on the part of the flesh, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh." (Gal. 5: 17) The flesh-life, while it remains alive and active, will naturally resist giving up its control over you. It will continue to resist until God is able to establish His undivided kingdom in your heart.

     "Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time... But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while {in dying out to the flesh-life}, perfect, establish, and settle you {in His undivided kingdom}." (1 Pet. 5: 6, 10)

     The flesh will fight against your attempts to enter the promised land. Since everyone who has entered into God's undivided kingdom has died to the independent and self-sufficient ways of the world, a great battle will first have to take place within the soul. Let us simply say - the flesh-life does not die easily. Standing across your pathway from the very outset of your Christian life is Amalek!

     The flesh does not have the power to overcome the flesh. When Joshua went out to fight Amalek, the outcome of the battle did not rest with his own might: "...when Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed." (Ex. 17: 11) The principle is plain. Victory over Amalek will be given to us when we are looking to God in faith; it cannot be won by human strength {with all of its resolutions}.

     "Not by {human} might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts." (Zech. 4: 6) "For if you live according to the flesh {the self-willed and self-centered nature}you will die {have a dying spiritual life}; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Rom. 8: 13-14)

     There is nothing quite so nauseating or pathetic as the flesh trying to be holy! The flesh has a perverted bent for being righteous. But all it can produce is a pride that is innately looking for praise. This way of self-produced righteousness needs to be noticed, recognized, consulted, and applauded. It also has an evil inclination to make judgmental comparisons and then look down on those who have not yet achieved the kind of righteousness and holiness that it has achieved through its own efforts.

     It is easy to determine when people are still attempting to be holy and righteous through the works of human effort. Self remains the primary focus of their actions. They will have a natural tendency to talk about their own life and what they have been accomplishing through their own works. And it is from this self-elevated position that they make their judgmental opinions about others.

     God says of you that in your flesh dwells no good thing. (Rom. 7: 18) He also says that no flesh will ever glory in His presence. (1 Cor. 1: 29) This inwardly focused life found its first expression at the fall of Satan when he said in his heart, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God...I will be like the Most High." (Isa. 14: 13-14)

     Satan wanted to have something, to do something, and to be something through his own works {and resources} so that he might receive the glory. It is this satanic ambition that the flesh seeks to perpetuate in you. The flesh is all that you become by seeking to have and to do and to be through your own human strength. And therefore, it will naturally seek to have its own recognition and glory, even in its service to God.

     The flesh wars against becoming like Jesus Christ because He became "nothing" in Himself in order to walk as God had originally planned for man. (Phil. 2: 5-8) After laying down His own glory, He was sent into this world with only a mortal body and faith, to demonstrate how believers in this New Testament age of fulfillment are to live. (1 John 2: 6; 3: 16) He did nothing through the works of human effort. Jesus lived by dependent faith and waited for the Father to work out the divine life and will through Him.

     The desire to exalt self is what separates you from the heavenly life of Jesus Christ. No flesh can be permitted to glory in His presence. And so God is at war from generation to generation with this satanic principle which makes you want to elevate yourself.

     Given the opportunity, God can take the most evil element of humanity and make a prince out of this fallen life. Did you ever get down on your knees and tell God what you know yourself to be? "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!...For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." (Rom. 7: 24-25; 8: 2)

     Compromise with the flesh and you make an unholy alliance with that which is, and always will be, at enmity with God. Never forget, this flesh-life has already been condemned to perish. And this, God says, is something to remember!

     "Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God. Therefore it shall be, when the Lord your God has given you rest from your enemies all around {all those inward enemies that rise up and afflict your spiritual life}, in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, that you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek {the flesh-life} from under heaven. You shall not forget." (Deut. 25: 17-19)