A meditation from Exodus 17:8-16
Amalek and the people who would eventually become known as the Amalekites, launched an attack on Israel during the time of Moses’ leadership. It was the first battle Israel had to fight after the Exodus.
Moses names Joshua his general and commissions him to assemble an Army. Joshua is to engage in the physical war, while Moses engages in the spiritual fight. Joshua and his men are waging war with physical weapons against Amalek in the valley. Moses is standing on a hill with his staff and arms lifted to the Lord, fighting in prayer for the people of God.
Exodus 17:11 and following tell us,
11 While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12 When Moses’s hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down.
There is no indication that Joshua or his army grew tired in the physical fight, but Moses certainly grew weary in the spiritual fight. In the words of Charles Spurgeon,
“the more spiritual an exercise, the more difficult it is for flesh and blood to maintain it.”
If Moses grew weary in spiritual conflict, how much more prone am I, are we, to do the same?
Friends, we are all in a war right now. Personal wars come and go, but the one we’re facing at this moment is universal. It requires immense physical effort. Some of us are working in ways that require more of us. Some of us are working less, or not at all – and that is taking a toll. The jokes about homeschooling in COVID-19, are no joke and it’s stretching parents and children thin with all that it requires. The most vulnerable in our communities are fighting food shortages and a lack of sufficient healthcare. People everywhere are fighting loneliness, disappointment and so many other, flesh and blood – stress points.
Yet, the fiercest battlefront is the spiritual one. We are more susceptible to spiritual weariness than physical weariness. The wrestling match against sinful flesh is more intense and rigorous than any of our other endeavors.
Israel’s fight with the Amalekites sets this sobering reality before us: If we don’t win in the spiritual realm, we’ll eventually lose in the physical. If we don’t get the upper hand against our sinful flesh, we’ll lose as parents, spouses, friends, employees, spiritual leaders and in every other way.
You and I need the spiritual strength of the Spirit of God in our lives. It is that power that meets us in our weakness and gives us the courage and strength to stay steady and forward-moving in the wars we face.
When Moses grew spiritually weary, he needed a rock to lean on.
David, no stranger to war wrote, “I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2)
Just as God provided water for thirsty people in the wilderness from a rock, He provides water for thirsty souls in the person of Jesus.
But, we have to drink from it. Moses had to sit on the rock. He had to take advantage of its strength. You and I have at our disposal, the Word of God and prayer as spiritual resources for War.
How can we take advantage of this source of strength? Set aside time every single day to quiet your soul, and drink from the deep waters of God’s Word. Let it nourish you. Commune with your Father in heaven by prayer. Bring Him your struggles and fears. In turn, he will give you His perfect peace.
In a spiritual fight, we do not rely on our strength, instead we lean on the strength that comes from the Rock of our Salvation. We rest in Jesus!
When Moses grew spiritually weary, he needed friends to hold him steady.
Moses could not hold his staff up alone. He needed others to buoy him. The first phase of spiritual warfare is fought personally, but the second phase is fought with others.
The most at-risk person in war, is not the one who is fighting a fierce enemy. The most at-risk person, is the one who tries to fight alone.
Pride, cloaked in Western self-sufficiency, is a threat we need to vigilantly fight and defeat.
Moses needed Aaron.
Joshua needed Caleb.
Naomi needed Ruth.
David needed Jonathan.
Mary needed Elizabeth.
Paul needed Barnabas.
We need spiritual warriors who will fight with us, by holding us steady and lifting us up. Friends who will fight by our side – until the sun goes down.
Be courageous. Ask someone to help you in your fight. Be a friend, who supports and fights for another.