Everywhere you look in the book of Exodus there is a new picture of the Lord and His work on our behalf!
In Exodus 17:1-4 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?” But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
Once again the grumbling begins! Water! Water! Water! Water is a necessity, a natural element to life. What does water represent in the Bible?
Exodus 17: 5-7 The LORD answered Moses, “Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”
The people needed water…where does God tell Moses that he will find the water? Well, obviously, it is from the place that water is usually found – from inside a rock of course! Now you can be sure that when God does really strange things, He is doing it for a reason! And that reason is given to us in 1 Corinthians 10:4 where it says that the Israelites ‘drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.’
The rock is Christ! Do you ever wonder…
Why did the rock have to be struck?
Why was it Moses that had to do it?
What occurred once the rock was struck?
As a type of Christ, the striking of the rock pictured Christ being struck and crucified when He came to earth 2000 years ago. Moses, the lawgiver, was the one to strike the rock (Christ) as it was God’s justice that demanded that sin be atoned for through the death of an innocent sacrifice. And what occurred after the rock was struck? Jesus Himself said what would happen in John 7: 37-39. He clearly said that the water of the Holy Spirit would be given, but not until He was glorified (His death and resurrection – see John 12:23-24). What an awesome picture God has shown us in Exodus 17!
Exodus 17 8-9 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
As soon as the people drank from the living waters that came from the rock, that the Amalekites came and attacked God’s people. ‘Amalek is often viewed as a type of the flesh. He was descended from Esau; and Esau represented the carnal nature.’ ‘Amalek represents the hindrance to their walk with God through the wilderness… Amalek stands before us as a type of the flesh.’ Before now, the message had been ‘stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.’ Now the message is ‘choose some of the men and go and fight the Amalekites.
Have you found that to be true in your Christian life? The work of salvation is free and has been provided to us by God. But have you found that there is an internal battle going on within you that begins the moment you receive the living waters of the Holy Spirit at salvation?
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.
The first point that comes out of this battle is that it is no ordinary fight! It is not won through having great skill or great forces. While Joshua and his men had to fight in the battle, the outcome didn’t rest on their strength or weakness. Victory, the word tells us rested in Moses lifting his hands! In other words, victory was received as Moses lifted his hands to Heaven in a symbolic act of prayer and surrender. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
Just a further quick note in this battle with Amalek (the sinful nature)… Look out and help other Christians that are struggling. It is quite encouraging to me that we read above that Aaron and Hur held Moses hands up. They did this for a long time! It shows that in this battle we also need each other. In another passage concerning Amalek we read ‘Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and cut off all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God. (Deut 25:17-18)
Yes, the flesh is good at picking us off when we are ‘weary and worn out’! Look out for one another. Encourage one another. And pray for one another.
Eph 6:18 ‘With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.’
Exodus 17:14-16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. He said, “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”
Finally, we see two great promises of God. The first is that He will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Considering that Amalek is a type of the flesh, this provides a great reminder of the day when the sinful nature will be no more. Our full salvation purchased for us at the cross involves a new body. That which is corruptible shall put on the incorruptible. That which is mortal shall put on immortality. No more selfishness, no more sinfulness, no more Amalek! All traces of Amalek blotted out! What a day that will be.
The second promise is with us until that day… a promise that the Lord will be at war with Amalek from generation to generation. As we have seen earlier, while we fight in this battle, victory is God given. Keep your eyes on Him. How terrible it would be if God just left us to try and clean ourselves up and gain victory over the flesh. But victory over the flesh, by the power of the flesh, is an absolute contradiction and impossibility! No, the Lord is at war with Amalek. In faith, start thanking the Lord for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do in your life. Look to, and thank again, the living rock that still gives forth the water of the Holy Spirit!
Enjoy your weekend. We will pick back up on Monday!