A Battle won by Prayer and Sword
Israel, had come to a place where there were no streams or rivers. No springs or wells, in their crossing the wilderness to go to the Promised land.
And they were two million strong, and thirsty.
So God told Moses to:
Exodus 17:6 “Behold, I will stand before thee upon the rock in Horeb, and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”
God gave them water from the rock; and all were supplied! All the people, cattle, sheep; all were supplied.
Exodus 17:8 “Then came Amalek and fought with Israel in Rephidim.”
But then came Amalek. Amalek was a wandering people. Fighters, which took anything they could take.
And when they heard of water at a place where no water was; they decided to come and destroy the Israelites (after all they were mostly women and children), and take it for themselves.
So suddenly Israel was being attacked! They had fought back as best they could, but they were not doing well.
Exodus 17:9 “And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.”
Here was the plan. Joshua, who was the fighting leader, chose out the best men to fight.
Moses and Aaron, and his son, Hur, would go to the top of the hill by the battle and raise the rod of God.
(This rod was the shepherd’s rod which God told Moses to take into Pharaoh. Remember it changed into a snake. It was the rod he raised over the Red Sea. It was the symbol of God’s call to him.)
Exodus 17:10-11 “So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.”
Raising up this rod, which God had told him to take, showed his prayer.
And when it was held up, Israel was winning the battle against Amalek.
But when he let it come down, they started to lose the battle.
Moses kept holding up as long as he could, but he grew tired from holding it up by himself, so it would come down, and Israel would start to lose. So:
Exodus 17:12-13 “But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon, and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady till the going down of the sun.
And Joshua discomforted Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”
As long as Moses hands held the rod up toward heaven, Joshua and his men were winning.
And when Aaron and Hur helped Moses, the battle was in their favor till there was no more sunlight to fight.
This is a great lesson for us. For it shows how important our prayer is.
Moses did not act alone. Joshua and his men needed to fight (even though they were not used to fighting).
And Aaron and Hur needed to help strengthen Moses arms.
But the blessing was from the Lord.
Exodus 17:15 “And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi”
Jehovah-nissi means The Lord my banner.
When we fight our battles against our sin, the world’s attitudes, and the tricks of the devil: we fight under the Banner of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is our protection.
Do we need to pray as Moses did? Of course we need to keep in constant touch with the One who guides and helps us. And the Lord gives us help, by the Holy Spirit strengthening our efforts. And sometimes through others praying with us.
What do we pray? For God’s will done.
How do we pray? Using His promises to us.
Do we need to use our sword, as Joshua did? Of course we need to hold onto His Word, and keep the enemy at our sword’s point (or away from harming us, and taking what God has given us).
Both need to be used, but the blessing is by the Lord to us.
He is our banner over us in every battle we have.
Hope (which is the confident expectation that He will do what He said) in His Word.
And He will give the Victory.