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Lifted Hands

Ex 17:8-16 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. (9) And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. (10) 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. (11) And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. (12) 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 until the going down of the sun. (13) And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. (14) And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.  (15)  And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: (16) For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

This is a very important passage; it is not to be forgotten. God said to Moses “Write it down in a book and make sure Joshua is told!” In fact, this is the first event that God commanded Moses to document in writing.

Why did it need to be remembered and not forgotten?  Why was it to be preserved for future generations?

God placed a huge importance on this single event!

A little bit of History is in order.

  • For 400 years the Israelites are in bondage in Egypt.
  • God sends Moses as the deliverer and they see God at work through the plagues.
  • God frees them from their bondage.
  • By God, they are led by the cloud and the fire, they pass through the Red Sea on dry ground
  • They have seen God destroy the Egyptian Army.
  • They experience God changing the Bitter Water into Sweet water
  • They have seen God provide Manna and Quails and they have seen water come from the rock

They have now been in the desert for maybe two months at most

  • They are in a place called REPHIDIM, which means “rests” and they now face another problem.
  • Up to now it’s been – People moan to Moses – Moses moans to God – God works.
  • But now its slightly different….. Now they depend upon Moses “Lifted Hands”

The Amalek’s are descendants of Esau (Gen 36 12). Esau, one of twins, is born first, and Jacob second, but Jacob is wrestling for “first place” from the very beginning! Esau bore a grudge against Jacob (Gen 27 41) and it was ongoing, unfinished. The Amalek’s are the first enemy to confront Israel since their redemption. Throughout the Bible their one aim is always to destroy the Israelites. Perhaps it was on this beginning journey that they begin to attack the stragglers, those on the edge, the faint and weary (Deut 25 17-19)

  • If I could compare Amalek to our present environment, Amalek is a “type” of world, flesh, devil. Satan works at weeding those out on the edges of the church.

Moses makes several decisions, seemingly without consulting God directly. He chooses Joshua (first mention) to choose some men, and then engage the Amalek’s in a battle. He will go up to a hill with “Gods staff”. This staff had just struck the rock and brought forth Water Enough for all to drink.

Joshua is obedient and does as he is told and Moses goes up the hill, Aaron and Hur go with him. As Moses lifts his hands containing the staff, towards heaven, Joshua triumphs. When he lowers his hands, the battle does not go well for Israel. Perhaps during the battle Joshua lifts his eyes to the hilltop to see how Moses is faring, but at 80 year old Moses gets tired. So Aaron and Hur get a stone for him to sit on and they support his arms.

As the sun sets the Israelites have a victory.

Moses builds an altar, and he calls it Jehovah – Nissi. Jehovah = elohim, and Nissi = rallying point, shows the presence of the King. Nissi comes from a Hebrew word whose root = To flaunt, to be conspicuous – A conspicuous flaunting of a rally point. In the Greek it is simply stated, “The Lord is my refuge.”

Moses “flaunted” the banner lifted hands holding the Rod of God of Israel in front of the Amaleks. With the banner visible they make progress, if it dropped they began to lose. Remember, however, he could not do it alone! When he grew weary, those that were with him helped to carry the load.

There are many lessons that should be learned from this event. God counts this a worthy event so that it is recorded and the lesson is never forgotten

  1. The first time they faced an army God told them to do nothing, and watch Him at work. This time they had to do the work, but God brought them victory. (cf Ex 13 17)
  2. This place would remind Joshua of victory. Our victory is in the cross, we must keep returning to the cross for a reminder.
  3. Joshua would remember the way Moses was confident in his standing with God. We to have our confidence in our Jesus (Eph 3 12)
  4. Joshua would remember that sometimes they would remain still, sometimes they have to fight, But God always brings the victory
  5. Joshua would remember that God had sworn to have war against Amalek from generation to generation –We, as Christians, are at war with the world, the flesh and Satan.

Yet, here is the lesson I want us to take home today.

Joshua would remember that Moses needed friends to help him lift the banner high

We need people who will be our support when we grow weary. We need burden bearers amongst us, in fact, we are all responsible to bear a burden.

Some would say this lesson is geared only to the leader. I would confess how stressful it is to not seemingly have the support of the church when attempting to accomplish God’s mission on earth. From the struggles of attendance on Wednesday night, to the lateness of arrival on Sunday, or even the support of extra-curricular activity that is planned for specific groups of individuals. I deal with a lot of stress on the question of “WHY”? One would think that if the mission of the Church is so important then the leader would have the support of the church to be victorious.

Yet I have learned something: Worry is a sign 100% of the time that you do not have God at the center of your life!

Today, I want this lesson to be learned by all of us to benefit to “All of us…”

How many times have we stood up to fight a battle and stood alone? This is not about someone coming for prayer and no one standing in the gap with them, yet it’s exactly about this kind reason why we do not support that person when they are fighting the biggest battle of their life.

We are not in this alone.

Rest assured, God is always there when others forsake, but there is something to be said about God’s creation being there to support God’s best creation!  One man penned the words, “No man is an island”, yet we often ostracize one to the island of loneliness when what is needed is support.

Paul tells Galatia that “every man shall bear his own burden” (Gal 6:5) A few verses prior he tells us to bear one another’s burden (Gal 6:2) and by doing so we fulfill the LAW OF CHRIST.

As an individual, I alone am guilty for my sins and my condition in life. I bear the internal brunt of all that is wrong with my life. Yet, there is strength in my stance when my brothers and sisters in Christ come along side of me and help me carry MY load.

At the same time, we do not come along side of someone in the spirit of the moment. We are with them in support through thick and thin, no matter the time of the day or night.

Gal 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

We shall overcome!

Here’s the bottom line of the lesson. Who are you for? Who are you here for? If all you is do is all about “you” then you are missing the Law of Christ. Jesus said (Mat 12:30) He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. We need to take responsibility in the body to be there for the body, even when it’s not convienent.