In Exodus 17:8-16 we read that Moses and the Israelites have been wandering in the desert of Sin (pronounced Zin). They were being attacked by the Amalekites (it’s interesting to note that they were from the line of Esau). Moses told Joshua to gather the men of Israel and fight the Amalekites while Moses stationed himself-along with Aaron and Hur-on a hill overlooking the battle.
While most of us would focus on the raging battle as the most important element of the scene; it is not. The most important part of the plot centers on Moses, Aaron and Hur.
As the story unfolds, Moses held his staff in the air as the Israelites won in battle; when he dropped his arms, the Amalekites succeeded. The battle must have lasted for quite some time and Scripture tells us that Aaron and Hur stood on each side of Moses holding up his arms so their people could succeed. The Israelites completely defeated the Amalekites in battle.
After the battle was over, Moses built an altar and named the place Jehovah Nissi-the Lord is my banner! Moses acknowledged that it was the Lord’s battle and He alone brought the victory. The only requirement on behalf of Moses and the Israelites was obedient trust. God revealed to Moses a new understanding of Himself.
Notice that it is during times of war and crisis that God reveals Himself in new ways, ways that we could not possibly believe about God-if we had not experienced times of utter dependence on God’s power. Our own abilities are insufficient for spiritual formation and transformation. We come to a complete awareness that we can’t possibly win or be victorious without knowing who our victor is in a very real and personal way.
God loves to reveal Himself to us. He loves to break through our paradigms and perceptions of what we deem as reality. Often times, those breakthroughs come through times of war with our enemy, the flesh, the devil and the world. The Apostle Paul calls it out, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Believers, we are at war. Every day the enemy of our soul is strategically working to destroy us. Therefore, Paul says, “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13)
We are not passive during battles, as we lift up the banner of Jesus-God’s expression of Jehovah Nissi. We put on the armor Paul mentions above. The Amalekites had one goal in mind: to destroy the Israelites. Metaphorically, our Amalekites are the flesh, the devil and the world. These three entities work toward one goal-to destroy us. Yet we are not defeated! Jesus Christ is our Banner!
You only need to surrender in obedience and the victory is a guarantee. An Amalekite is anything that pulls you away from an intimate relationship with God. What are your Amalekites? Pornography? Relationships? Greed? Money? Busyness? Worry? Fear? You name it ________________?
Please spend some time reading and reflecting on this Exodus story.
“Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner, saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
Standing with you!