Slowly a father and his nine year old son walk hand-in-hand to a solemn place of worship. It was 238 years before the birth of our Lord.
The father, Hamilcar Barca, was a king, a ruler, a military genius. It was now time for his son to take “The Oath.” And he did. He swore no allegiance to any pagan deity. No crude sacrifice was made. It was just a simple oath. A promise made that would set the course the boy’s life was to take and which would write history.
The kingdom of the young boy’s father had an enemy. A persistent, tenacious enemy which thwarted it at every turn. The young boy’s call was to ever oppose this enemy. He simply, from his heart, took the oath, “I will never be a friend to the Roman people.”
With those words young Hannibal Barca embarked on a life spent being true to that oath. Those words would steel him against Cartage’s sworn enemy, Rome. Those words would, twenty years later, inspire him to do the impossible. Cross the Alps with his army to invade Rome. He entered the Alps with 50,000 infantry, 9,000 cavalry and 60 elephants. Only 20,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry and 37 elephants would survive the crossing. Yet, in this weakened form, Hannibal still met and defeated every army Rome sent against him and soon controlled northern Italy.
“I will never be a friend to the Roman people.” They are not angry words of vengeance or hatred. Simply words of a heart’s deep dedication to never be a friend of his nation’s enemy.
When I read these words they jolted me. I understood completely Hannibal’s dedication against his nation’s enemy. We Christians have an enemy. The world. No. Not every lost person. Not every hippie, punk or immoral drunk. But instead, those who corrupt them. Hannibal recognized who his enemy was and who his enemy wasn’t. Whenever he engaged a Roman army he sought to destroy the Romans. Yet after the battle, he would set the Italians free. He had no quarrel with them.
Many years ago I dedicated my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. It didn’t take me long to realize my new “nation” had a sworn enemy. That enemy manifests itself through the public school system, the entertainment industry and the news industry. When I read of Hannibal’s oath against his enemy I understood my disdain for these entities. I never see a movie without loathing the subliminal messages of immorality, anti-god and anti-Bible. I am a vehement opponent of the bigoted news industry and detest the humanism of the public school system. And it caused me to recognize what I am so put out with my fellow Christians for. They don’t mind being a “friend to the Roman people.”
It isn’t enough for them that they can enjoy some of what our society has to offer. No, too often they are sympathetic to our God’s sworn enemies. They will argue the world’s arguments and defend its positions. They whine against any militance in Christianity. They are afraid of offending the enemy of their God. (James 4:4) They have found that they can peacefully coexist with the world and certainly don’t need some crazy preacher to upset things. They would rather “merge” than “minister.”
Then on the other hand are the “shot-gunners.” They can’t tell the difference between a “Roman” and an “Italian” so they just “kill’em all and let God sort’em out!” (A quote of Ignatius Loyola.) This group cares about nothing but themselves. They want to brag about how they “preached the Hell out of’em” down on the street. They would rather “murder” than “minister.”
I just wish our people would choose not to be a friend to the enemies of our God. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal. We don’t shoot people and blow up buildings. (We leave that for those nice, loving Muslim “extremists.”) So what should you do?
Be honest! There is somebody that you don’t like. Come on! Come on! Don’t put that phony piety on. There is somebody you don’t like. Because of that you are critical of everything they do. They never say anything but that you see something wrong with it. You see an ulterior motive in their every charitable act. You doubt their sincerity, their honesty and their motives. And you wish that everybody else saw through them like you do. You may not know it but you have “taken an oath” to “never be their friend.”
Why don’t you take that hostility and cynicism and direct it towards the Lord’s enemies instead of your own? Why don’t you say, “They’re lying.” every time you hear a news broadcast? Why don’t you doubt the sincerity of Hollywood when they say they just want to entertain you? Why don’t you see an ulterior motive in whatever public education does? No, don’t shoot up a school, burn a television station or bomb Hollywood and Vine. Just take your heart away from them. Just determine, “I will never be a friend to my God’s enemies.”
Why don’t you try to “free the Italians” that have been fooled by them. Those poor lost folks who live ungodly because these three “Romans” have been their tutors for life. If they could have been brought up under the Gospel they would be more God fearing and pure. Believe me! I’m against long hair, earrings on men and the whole nine yards. But I fully recognize that a serial killer is not the threat to this nation that Peter Jennings is. The serial killer can only kill a handful of people. But the News Industry seeks to kill this nation and if they succeed the death and destruction that results will be untold. Don’t say, “They deserve it.” You deserve it! Some of them are just misguided “Italians” who have been kidnapped and impressed into service by the “Romans” that too many of us haven’t thwarted. Reach one. Resist the other.
Rome recognized Carthage as a threat and never ceased to try to undercut her intentions. You believe that the “Bad Three” recognize Christianity as their greatest threat and do everything they can to hamper and curtail our efforts. They do all they can to further the causes of homosexuality, atheism, environmentalism and anything that is anti-God and anti-American. Then in the midst of this, some Christians want to be their defenders.
I am not suggesting an oath. God forbid! (You’re all people of “convictions” and you would never take an oath!) But why don’t you set your heart to ever be an adversary of God’s enemies? Why don’t you determine to “Never be a friend of the Romans.”? Why don’t you vent all your distrust on them? Why don’t you spend some of your efforts to expose their lies and insincerities instead of those you perceive in some brother-in-Christ.
A nine year old boy swore never to be a friend to his nation’s enemies and wrote history in the process. Who knows what some of our people could do if they had such dedication! And from what I’ve seen of Christians the world never will know!