July 18: 15 Tammuz
According to tradition, it was on this day that Hur, the son of Miriam, died in defense of the faith against those who wanted to build a Golden Calf. This was the same Hur who, along with Aaron, held the hands of Moses in the battle against Amalek.
This tradition speaks to the fact that, as is so often the case, the righteous commonly die at the hands of the wicked. This has been the case from the very beginning. Righteous Abel, as he is called by Christ, died at the hands of his brother, Cain, and why? Because Cain was jealous that God had shown favor unto Abel. So time and again we see that the righteous are victimized by the wicked which it leaves us with the question, “Why?” Why would God allow something like that? Here’s what the sons of Korah wrote in the Psalms:
If we had forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a foreign god, would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Awake! Why do You sleep, O Lord? Arise! Do not cast us off forever. Why do You hide Your face and forget our affliction and our oppression? For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our body clings to the ground. Arise for our help, and redeem us for Your mercies’ sake.” ((Psalm 44:20-26)
This seems to say that, for those who are trying to serve the Almighty, it’s hard to understand why God would allow evil to befall His people at the hands of the wicked. It also asks, “How long are You going to allow this to continue? Please! Arise and defend us!”
It is truly difficult, at times, to understand God’s purposes and especially when it seems that the wicked always have the upper hand. But rather than focusing on the why of it, perhaps we should focus what our response to these things should be, even if we don’t understand why these things are happening. For instance, in the midst of his trial, Job said:
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. He also shall be my salvation, for a hypocrite could not come before Him.” (Job 13:15-16)
Later on, Job declared:
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:25-26)
To serve Him with all of our heart, soul and strength means that we must be willing to trust Him even when it seems the wicked are having their way, doing whatever pleases them. To serve Him with all of our heart, soul and strength requires everything of us. It’s one thing to say, “Not my will, but Your will be done” – it’s another thing, entirely, to mean it. My aspirations are not to be a martyr, however, we must all be willing to die to ourselves. That we might be provoked to do just that, might explain why God allows the wicked to, seemingly, prevail over us at times.
What is clear is this: we need the Father to help us if we are going to be those people who willingly present ourselves as “living sacrifices.” We need His help if we hope to stand up and defend the truth like Hur, even if our very life is required. While we are on this earth, let us truly be a light in the darkness and do the Father’s will; not for a pat on the back, but because we love Him and our fellow man – even those who hate us. If we are to overcome, that’s what it’s going to take.