January 29, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“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.’ 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. 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. 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 name of Amalek from under heaven.’ Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. He said, ‘Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.’”—Exodus 17:8–16 (NIV)
Did you know this is Israel’s first true taste of war? And this first battle, well . . . it was fought dirty. Deuteronomy 25:17–18 (NIV) says, “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 attacked all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God.”
As Bible scholar Adam Clarke wrote, “In the most treacherous and dastardly manner; for they came at the rear of the camp . . . The baggage, no doubt, was the object of their avarice; but finding the women, children, aged and infirm persons, behind with the baggage, they smote them and took away their spoils.”
They came from behind and attacked the vulnerable! What a perfect picture of how the enemy comes for us—when we’re vulnerable, in our weakest moments in our weakest spots. So, what can we do in these moments? Well, what did Moses do? First, he sent Joshua to assemble an army to fight while he (bringing Aaron and Hur with him) did something familiar: “I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” He went back to what he was commanded to do at the Red Sea.
Moses went back to what God already commanded him to do in the past, and we should follow his example! How so? In the Word, we’re given instructions of what to do when we come face-to-face with trials, struggles, and difficult circumstances: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus… [for we] can do all this through him who gives [us] strength” (Philippians 4:6–7, 13 NIV).
We also see that we’re not meant to face trials in isolation. As Moses grew weary, Aaron and Hur provided him a place to sit and held his arms up! “His hands remained steady” and the battle was won!
Friends, whatever God has called you to is one He’s called you to in community. Your brothers and sisters are called to bear your burdens with you “[fulfilling] the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NIV), and you’re called to do the same for them! In this, by the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV), in community with other faithful believers, we can stand firm when the enemy attacks and lift one another up in times of need.
And in all of this, our lives will, like a monument, display to the watching world: Jehovah-nissi (a.k.a. The Lord is my banner)! And regardless of what circumstance or attack we face, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37 NIV).
Pause: Why is it so important that we live in community?
Practice: Read Romans 8:28–39 and reflect on it. Try to memorize this passage over the new few weeks.
Pray: Lord, You are my banner! I praise You for being the same yesterday, today, and forever; for being the same God today who was with Moses. Surround me with Aarons and Hurs, Father. By Your Spirit, help me to walk in godly community and to always be ready to lift up the arms of my brothers and sisters. Help me to recognize when someone is in need, and remove any prideful instinct in me that would prevent me from asking for help. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.