Newsletter for May 2009
I would like to share with you what I believe is one of the most overlooked miracles in all of scripture. At the same time, it is also a powerful "type and shadow" example for all Christians today. Please read the following passage very closely.
Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 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. 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. 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. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. (Exodus 17:7-13)
This victory over the Amalekites was an absolute miracle and I'll explain why. Just days prior to this event, as recorded in Exodus chapter twelve, Israel had been released from Egypt after 430 years of captivity. During their time of slavery, they were horribly mistreated and forced into labor by generations of Pharaohs who rose to power. All they had known was the nagging ache of hunger, the sharp sting of a taskmaster's whip on their back, merciless beatings, and death. Though they knew they had a covenant with God through Abraham, they wondered if God had forgotten them.
Then God raised up Moses and through a series of plagues, Pharaoh finally decided to release the Israelites. As their journey began, Pharaoh changed his mind; gathering his army, he chased after the Jewish people. However, God performed a mighty miracle at the Red Sea and the army of Egypt was destroyed.
The Israelites continued their passage, arriving in the region of Rephidim. Living in Rephidim were the Amalekites, descendants of Amalek, a son of Esau (remember the conflict between Esau and Jacob, the father of Joseph whose name was changed to Israel?). The Amalekites, a militaristic people, were in no way pleased about Israel's arrival, so they gathered their battle-tested warriors for the attack.
At this point, let's pause for a moment and consider what is happening. An army of disciplined soldiers highly trained for combat is attacking a group of former slaves who are highly trained makers of mud bricks. They have never in their lives held a sword or spear or been trained to fight. From the youngest to the oldest, none of them have ever known what it is like to engage in battle.
Here is what this symbolizes for Christians: The moment we are born again (set free from the "spiritual Egypt" of sin), the devil immediately begins plans for attack. We are babes in Christ, unskilled in anything spiritual, and his goal is to stop us in our tracks before we go any further in our life with Christ. This principle is revealed in Jesus' warning in Mark 4:15, And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
When the command was given to prepare for war against the Amalekites, I have no doubt that many of the Israelites were scared and very concerned about how they would be able to defeat such a formidable enemy. However, this wasn't about what they thought they could do; it was all about what God knew they could do. God's plan was for Israel to rule over all its enemies, and the Amalekites were simply the first in a long string of victories. This is a type and shadow of who we are and what we have in Christ. Read what the Bible has to say about Jesus and our relationship with Him:
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15) And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all….And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:19-23; 2:6)
The instant we are born again we are seated in a place of authority with Jesus. Like Him, we are far above all principality, power, might, dominion and every demonic name that is named. Even though we have previously never engaged in spiritual battle with the devil, God has given us the ability to defeat him. We may not think we are ready for spiritual warfare or that we can defeat Satan's hordes; but it isn't about what we think we can do, it's all about what God has said we can do.
In planning for battle, look what Moses said to 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. Notice that Moses said nothing about being sure the soldiers of Israel had sharp swords, sturdy spears and lots of arrow for their bows. What he did say was that he would stand at the top of a hill with the rod of God in his hand.
The rod of God symbolizes the word of God. The "prophetic message" in this is that we as Christians are unable to fight the devil by our own reasoning, devices, or plans; we must utilize God's word as we engage in spiritual warfare. Scripture itself proves this to be true:
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds (2 Corinthians 10:4)
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:11-13)
The word of God is the rod of God; it is a mighty spiritual weapon against which the enemy cannot stand. However, you'll notice that Moses was not actually in the battle, but standing afar off while holding the rod of God. This is the image of Christians speaking God's word for victory. I'll give you an example of this from the New Testament:
And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed…. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. (Matthew 8:5-8, 13)
Though Jesus was afar off, all He had to do was speak God's word and the centurion's servant was healed from a deadly disease. Many Christians seem to think that they have to be "right there in the middle of it all" before they can accomplish anything. Yet, according to what we are seeing in scripture, we can defeat the enemy from a distance simply by speaking God's word out of a heart of faith. This means I can fight the devil on behalf of my family and friends even if they live no where near me!
As the battle between Israel and the Amalekites raged on, something interesting was happening on the hill where Moses was standing.
And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 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. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
Moses was getting tired, but he didn't quit; he didn't throw down the rod and walk away while crying out, "I just can't do this anymore!" First, a stone was brought to him so he would have a place to sit and rest. Second, Aaron and Hur stood beside Moses to support and hold up his hands until the battle was won. This scene speaks to us of two things. One is that we cannot drop our hands and quit.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)
The Israelites had to fight all day long in the hot sun and Moses had to keep his hands raised the entire time. Don't think for one minute that they didn't get tired. And, during those times when Moses' hands began to drop and the battle started to swing in the Amalekites favor, I have no doubt but that some of the Israelite soldiers began to wonder if they were going to lose. But they continued fighting, Moses kept his hands raised and Israel secured the victory
God cannot lie and His word cannot fail. Though there may be times when it looks like the enemy is gaining ground, we cannot lower our hands and walk away. Every moment of prayer, every word of confession and every note of worship that crosses our lips is penetrating into the camp of the enemy to drive him back and secure our victory. Remember, from God's perspective, we are destined for victory:
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
A second message God is giving us in that scene of Moses, Aaron and Hur is the need for us to stand alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ to support them in spiritual warfare. I know from experience there can be times when, physically, it is next to impossible to pray, confess and worship. It is then we need the Aarons and Hurs to stand along beside us with their own prayers, confessions and worship.
Moses, Aaron and Hur were not on the front lines of the battle; but they were just as important to the conquest of the Amalekites as the army of Israel. At the same time, Moses, Aaron and Hur needed the army of Israel fighting on the plains of Rephidim for the Amalekites to be defeated.
Pastors may stand in the pulpit every Sunday to deliver the word of God, but they greatly need the help of the nursery workers, Sunday School teachers, ushers, custodians, etc, in order to fulfill God's will for their local church; this is one reason pastors need to be an Aaron and Hur to all of those servants. Likewise, all of the serving saints in the local church greatly need their pastor and should without question be to him as an Aaron and Hur. Along the same line, you and I may not be called to the jungles of Bolivia or the deserts of Africa, but we need those who have such a calling and we should be to them as an Aaron and a Hur.
To summarize what I am sharing in this letter:
1) At the moment of salvation, Satan plans an attack to stop us in our spiritual growth.
Satan is a liar and he would have you believe that these things are not so. But his lies cannot abolish the eternal truth of God's word. Through the application of God's truth we will see the manifestation of God's promises! Hallelujah, it is so wonderful to be a child of God!
May you know God's victory in your life!