A man of war

Exodus 17: 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 Jehovah Nissi:

16 – For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation

I know many people find such passages in the Bible very controversial. Why would God want to kill people? That is certainly a good question. But even better is the appreciation that this world is a place of sin and spiritual reality that goes far beyond our little comprehension. And the Bible is a blue print on God’s ways regarding the full scope on life, not just the nice parts.

So what did the Amalekites do to merit this combative position from God? The Bible provides a simple introduction to the event that led to it in verse 8 of the Chapter 17. ‘Then came Amalek and fought with Israel in Rephidim’. No indication that Israel wronged them, or provoked them. Israel was en route to its destinations ‘according to the commandments of the Lord and pitched in Rephidim..

As they battled with the issues of their own lives, this enemy came with the strong intent of completely annihilating them. We are given no background to why this enemy came with such destructive intent. It took one of the strongest battle arrangements for Israel to get out of this war. Moses and Aaron went to the top of a hill and had to keep their arms stretched out to God for hours and hours. While they were conducting this spiritually tough exercise, Joshua went with chosen men into a valley to fight Amalek. The strange report was that whenever Moses’ hands went down at the top of the hill, Israel started to lose the battle in the valley. When his hands stayed up, Israel’s soldiers got strong in the valley. So acute was the relationship between physical victory against Amalek and spiritual engagement with God that Moses had to sit on a stone, and Aaron and Hur held his two arms up. Poor Moses. He must have been thoroughly exhausted and his arms weakened by the end of the battle. This was the kind of war that led to the proclamation.

And I daresay that Amalek represents the horrible reality of spiritual enemies that we would all like to forget about. Psalm 91 calls them the terror by night and arrows that fly by day; the pestilence that walks in darkness, and destruction that wastes at noonday. What do we do when attacked by spiritual enemies that will decimate us in the natural? Diseases that claim to be incurable that appear suddenly in a family going about its quiet business? Deaths, divorces and addictions that were not courted or anticipated by families? Business destruction from external forces when we have worked diligently and ethically? Even worse is the fact that they can come in multitudes – a thousand on the left, and ten thousand on the right. The comfort given to those who trust in God come from several sure positions:

  • God hates such enemies as much as we fear them
  • God is as committed to destroying our spiritual enemies as we need them to be destroyed and He will do it in EVERY GENERATION
  • As much as spiritual warfare is tiring, God will dismantle the enemy in its war if we will keep arms up in prayer. He directs us to support each other in prayer when we go through times of sustained attacks
  • We must pray with as much diligence as we apply physical solutions to such attacks on our well being
  • God has demanded that the memorial of His word be written for us never to forget that victory is available because he is the God of warfare and victory. Jehovah Nissi
  • We are not to be afraid of life’s battles!

Prayer: Lord, help me to build an altar of prayer with this understanding that you do battle for your children. You give strength in battles, strategies for battles, and join the war as Captain of the host. How blessed we are, if we will hold on to you in times of attack and challenges, knowing that you are Jehovah Nissi. How saved we are, if we will retreat and pray as much as we seek and apply physical solutions. Thank you for your written word – which gives us directions, strategies and hope in all of life’s battles. Amen.

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