We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us

From the very beginning, your first ancestor sinned against me; all your leaders broke my laws. – Isaiah 43:27

Isaiah 59:1-15

 1 Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.

 2 It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

 3 Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your lips are full of lies, and your mouth spews corruption.

 4 No one cares about being fair and honest. The people’s lawsuits are based on lies. They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin.

 7 Their feet run to do evil, and they rush to commit murder. They think only about sinning. Misery and destruction always follow them.

 8 They don’t know where to find peace or what it means to be just and good. They have mapped out crooked roads, and no one who follows them knows a moment’s peace.

 9 So there is no justice among us, and we know nothing about right living. We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom.

 10 We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead.

 11 We growl like hungry bears; we moan like mournful doves. We look for justice, but it never comes. We look for rescue, but it is far away from us.

 12 For our sins are piled up before God and testify against us. Yes, we know what sinners we are.

 13 We know we have rebelled and have denied the LORD. We have turned our backs on our God. We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies.

 14 Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed.

 15 Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked. The LORD looked and was displeased to find there was no justice.

Walt Kelly wrote the comic strip Pogo for almost 30 years. It was syndicated in the United States from 1948 until 1975. It proved to be an ideal platform for effective, penetrating satire.

Pogo is set in the Georgia section of the Okefenokee Swamp, in the Southeastern United States. It chronicles the adventures of its anthropomorphic animal characters. The lead character is Pogo Possum: An amiable, humble, philosophical, personable, everyman opossum. In a 1969 TV Guide interview, Kelly described Pogo as “The reasonable, patient, softhearted, naive, friendly person we all think we are.”

During the War of 1812, there was a naval battle on Lake Erie. The British Navy was defeated by the United States Navy. The American naval commander, Oliver Perry send a message to Major General William Henry Harrison regarding the outcome. It read simply, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” Walt Kelly found this to be fertile ground for a play on words that have become part of the American popular culture.

In 1970, Kelly coined the well-known phrase, “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us.” What a succinct and poignant summary of the reality that people tend to create their own problems. Way too often, we have only ourselves to blame for the difficulties that we experience.

We have multiple expressions that communicate unsolicited personal, family, or societal harm such as self-inflicted or friendly fire.

REFLECT & PRAY

If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. – 2 Timothy 2:13

Father I recognize that I am indeed my own worst enemy. Thank You that You are always faithful and that any schism is temporary. Thank You that I that I am a member of Your Forever Family.

INSIGHT

Children of the King are intended to walk in the light of the Lord. They are to thrive, not merely survive. But so often this is not the case. Rather, they often find themselves walking in gloom. “When people live on lies, they live in a twilight zone and do not know where they are going (Isaiah 59:9-11)” (Wiersbe).

Isaiah 2:5 Come . . . Let us walk in the light of the LORD!

Isaiah 59:9 So there is no justice among us, and we know nothing about right living. We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom.

How did this happen? Regrettably, poor choices were made by the people themselves.

Isaiah 59:12-13

 12 For our sins are piled up before God and testify against us. Yes, we know what sinners we are.

 13 We know we have rebelled and have denied the LORD. We have turned our backs on our God. We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies.

Isaiah laments the serious dilemma in which his people find themselves. He cries out for deliverance from the mess the people have brought upon themselves. Indeed, the people recognize this and also lament. They are like the living dead. They cried out like animals in distress: growling like bears and moaning like mournful doves.

Isaiah 59:10-11

 10 We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead.

 11 We growl like hungry bears; we moan like mournful doves. We look for justice, but it never comes. We look for rescue, but it is far away from us.

They seem to be at a loss for words and unable to articulate their grief. Rather than using words, they growled and moaned like angry bears and pitiful doves (Constable). “The picture of growling bears and mourning doves expresses an element of self-pity” (Friesen).

The people recognize their dire straits and desire relief. They are aware of their lack of peace, justice, and righteousness. Their path is dark and gloomy and they lack light. They are stumbling and groping, and unable to find their way. They continually attempt to merely cope and survive. They are trying to just get by. They don’t like where they are, but they continue in sin. They have not repented and turned to the Father for a godly solution. They live as natural, soulish people, not spiritual ones.

Why doesn’t the Father intervene? “ Israel’s sin that holds God back from delivering them” (BBC). Rescue and salvation are far from them. “God could not answer their prayers because their sins hid His face from them” (Wiersbe). How did they get so low?

Isaiah 59:1-2

 1 Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.

 2 It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

There is great news. Things did not end there. In light of all of eternity, the separation between the children of the King and the Father is brief, like the blinking of an eye. It is a temporary aberration that was soon corrected. The separation gave the people an opportunity to reflect and recognize that they are their own worst enemies.

Isaiah 65:24 I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

Isaiah 54:7 For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back.

¯\_()_/¯

© Dr. H 2022

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