Newsletter October 2018
Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9 And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. (Exodus 17:8-13)
As the Israelites approach Mount Horeb, they suddenly encounter opposition. Without warning and with no apparent reason, the Amalekites attack them just before they reach the place where they are to meet with God. Moses immediately responds to this attack by appointing Joshua, a young man who has not been mentioned thus far, to lead an army of people who have not been trained in warfare and have never fought a battle before. Meanwhile, Moses himself goes to the top of a hill overlooking the battlefield and raises his rod. He knows that this battle cannot be won in the natural, but he also knows that every time he raises his rod, God’s power is released to bring victory to His people.
We too have an enemy who attacks us when we least expect it. How often do we progress in our spiritual journey and, just as we are about to enter into God’s presence, something happens that sets us back to where we were before. We become discouraged and begin to doubt whether we will ever experience the fullness of His presence, which we so long for. Our spiritual enemy will do everything in his power to stop us from reaching that place. There seems to be nothing we can do in the natural realm, but, like Moses, we have a weapon that will release the power of the Almighty God – prayer.
As long as Moses holds up his rod, Joshua is victorious; as soon as Moses lowers his rod, the enemy gains the upper hand. The real battle is not fought on the battlefield below but on the top of the hill, where Moses is. And it’s no different with us. When everything suddenly appears to go wrong, when problems take over at work or in our family lives, when we are struck with sudden illness – all these things can cause us to lose focus and to regress in our spiritual journey. Rather than respond to such setbacks through natural means, we need to recognise our spiritual enemy (Ephesians 6:12). We need to be vigilant and resist him (1 Peter 5:8-9). We need to be aware of his devices, so he cannot take advantage of us (2 Corinthians 2:11). And as Moses lifted up his rod, we need to lift up our voices in prayer.
Eventually, however, Moses’ arms become weary and he struggles to hold up the rod on his own. Aaron and Hur have to come to his assistance. They sit him down on a stone and hold up his arms, one on each side. None of us can manage on our own; we all need each other. Just as Aaron and Hur bore up the arms of Moses, so that he could continue to hold up the rod, we too need to bare one another up in prayer. That is why we are encouraged to pray together (Matthew 18:19-20). That is why we have corporate prayer meetings, where we pray for one another’s needs. That is why we are exhorted to pray continually for our spiritual leaders (Ephesians 6:18-19; Romans 15:30). The victory is ours – but it comes only through prayer!