Today we went to Fruit Stop in Gezina to purchase some apples and pears. This is the first time in months that we have been to this store. The lady at the checkout we always try to have serve us was free. She is a real card, and loves to laugh and tease! As she neared the end of ringing up the goods, I reached for my wallet only to find it not where it ought to be in my left back pants pocket. Well … not too serious as Jenny had her bag with her and her purse is always in her bag. This bag has three compartments, each with a zip. Not in the first … not in the second … and I’m holding my breath … and … yes, it’s in the third compartment. Wonderful. What is the PIN? She cannot remember as she has not used this card in well over a year … maybe closer to two years. Between what she thought it was and what I thought it might be, I managed to write down a number on my hand that looked reasonable … and Praise the Lord, it worked. Can you imagine how foolish we would have looked, laughing and joking at the checkout counter and having no money and no card to pay the bill? It’s at times like this one appreciates a backup plan … like Jenny being with me to support me and help me out of the ditch!
As you read through Exodus 17:8-16 you see something similar … support, help and encouragement. Far too often we feel we can “go it alone” without the help of others. A friend of mine speaks of such a person as a martyr … not wanting help but sinking with the work load. Look at this passage:
Ex 17:8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” 10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. 14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. 16 He said, “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”
The Amalekites were the descendants of Esau’s grandson Amalek. They were a constant threat to Israel right to the time of Hezekiah. In Christians terms, the Amalekites were to Israel what the “old nature’ is to us … always reasserting itself against the “new nature”. Just as they were not eradicated for many, many years … so the old nature they represent will not be eradicated in this earthly life and needs to be fought against with the power the Holy Spirit imparts to the people of God.
The Amalekites attack Israel and Moses instructs Joshua (the first time we meet up with him) to ready a military command to go into battle. Moses adds that he will stand on the top of the hill with the same staff in hand that was used to “open the Red Sea”. On the hill top Aaron and Hur accompanied Moses. As long as Moses’ hands were held up, Israel was winning but when his hands dropped through tiredness, the Amalekites were winning. Eventually, Aaron and Hur sat Moses down on a stone (rock) and held his hands high. This went on until sunset with Joshua recording a victory for Israel. Joshua fought the battle in the trenches (valley), whilst Moses, Aaron and Hur fought the battle on the mountain (hill top). Without Moses … and without Aaron and Hur supporting Moses, Joshua would not have won the battle. This was gospel team work … just like Jenny helping me pay the bill at Fruit Stop. There are a few things we could learn here:
The first is faith. This is not faith for salvation but sustaining faith and satisfaction faith. These two aspects of faith deal with our pilgrimage through this life and our settling in the heavenly place.
The second is continuance. The fact that they kept going until sunset reminds us the fight against the enemy is not temporary … it will continue throughout life. This calls for us to never give up the fight.
The third is prayer. Moses’ uplifted hands indicate prayer. We know the physical act of raising hands means nothing unless it is spontaneous, expressing our inner state (heart). But, raised hands here, resembling prayer, reminds us that we need to pray … but more … we need prayer support. We have to have people supporting us with our prayer requests. Some prayer requests are confidential and for these we need a trusted prayer buddy to intercede with us and for us.
The fourth is submission. Did you see in the passage how Moses and Joshua submitted to God’s Word? To win any battle we need to be in constant submission to God and His Word.
The fifth is dependence. Throughout the battle, Moses, Aaron and Hur on the hill top and Joshua and the men in the valley depended upon God … and the victory was the Lord’s! This is true in our case as well. We cannot fight spiritual battles alone. We need the Lord and we need to battle the Lord’s way … and when victory comes, the victory is the Lord’s!
Dear God, thank You for the Bible and it’s teaching I tend to miss so often. Help me to remain a prayer warrior and please bring people around me who can support me in prayer and in practical ways. For Jesus’ sake, amen.