In the Two Towers, which is I think stealing away the place for my favorite Lord of the Rings book, in it, there’s a scene that takes place in Helms Deep. Théoden, king of Rohan, has retreated to this keep which has never been taken by enemies. If they lose, their people are wiped out, and there will be little hope for all of middle earth!
Théoden: “They will break upon this fortress like water on rock. Saruman’s hordes will pillage and burn, we’ve seen it before. Crops can be resown. Homes rebuilt. Within these walls, we will outlast them.”
Aragorn: “They do not come to destroy Rohan’s crops or villages. They come to destroy its people. Down to the last child!”
Théoden: “What would you have me do? Look at my men. Their courage hangs by a thread. If this is to be our end, then I would have them make such an end as to be worthy of remembrance!”From the Two Towers Movie
“What would you have me do?”
I think that in and of itself, is a very powerful question. We are often times faced with tough decisions, and no-win situations. Situations where others believe we should do something, and we don’t have a clear path of something that needs to be done.
I recently ran into this situation with a friend of mine. She was struggling with speaking truth to power, even though there would be potentially terrible ramifications and would make the situation very difficult. I shared with her the scene I just played and the following verse from Ezekiel.
Son of man, give your people this message: “˜When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.”Ezekiel 33:3-6 (NLT)
I this is a very important. We’ve all heard the quote, “The only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” But this verse in Ezekiel goes further. It says, that if the watchman does nothing the people will die in their sins but that the watchman is responsible for their deaths. It’s interesting the way that the book of Ezekiel deals with it. God condemns the people for their own sin but seems to blame the fact that they died on the watchman.