God s people will have to fight battles in life. Through our confidence in God we can gain the victory. For that to happen we need to understand

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1 Text: Exodus 17:8-16 Title: "With Hands Held High" INTRODUCTION Is there a battle that you are facing today? You are standing before a powerful enemy and you don t know what to do a physical enemy like a disease an emotional enemy like depression or an addiction a family battle a teenager has been captured by the enemy a husband is lost. What battle are you facing today? Well, you need to know that God is always with His people in the battles of life. Open your Bibles please to Exodus 17:8. Now in our study of Exodus, God has delivered His people from Egypt. He s taking them to the Promised Land. But in between they are going through a wilderness experience where they will learn to depend on God, to worship God and to obey God. They ve had to trust God for their daily need of food and water. Now they will have to trust God in battle against an enemy. This is the first battle Israel was called upon to fight as a nation. They never had to fight the Egyptians. God fought that battle for them. Israel never lifted a sword in that battle. But this battle will be different. Read text. God s people will have to fight battles in life. Through our confidence in God we can gain the victory. For that to happen we need to understand 1. THE ENEMY (v.8) Exodus 17:8 (NIV) - The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. The Amalekites were descendents of Jacob s brother Esau. Amalek was Esau s grandson. The animosity carried over from the Jacob/Esau rivalry, and they attacked the descendents of Jacob (Israel). Now Moses records later in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, which Moses composed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) that the Amalekites attacked Israel for no apparent reason in a cheap way from behind. Deuteronomy 25:17-18 (NIV) - Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. 18 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. Dear child of God never forget that we worship God, but we have a powerful enemy. 1 Peter 5:8 - Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. So if we are going to be victorious in the battles of life, we need to know the enemy. Also we need to know

2 2. THE STRATEGY (vv.9-12) Exodus 17:9 (NIV) - 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. Now this verse reveals a three-part strategy that involved both Joshua and Moses. First, Joshua and the Israelites were to do what they must do. Second, Moses would lead the effort to trust God to do what only He could do. Third, the victory will come by the power of God. The first part of the strategy involved Joshua. This is the first mention of Joshua in the Bible. He s one of the great figures in all the Bible. He was Moses young assistant. He will take over the leadership of the Israelites when Moses dies, and will lead them into the Promised Land. This is the first of many battles Joshua would lead. By the way, his name is a special name it means Jehovah is salvation. It is the Hebrew equivalent of the name Jesus. Now in spite of the fact that the Amalekites attacked suddenly, Joshua had a day to get the troops ready. The men were not warriors, but he would recruit the most able-bodied men to go into battle. Exodus 17:10 (NIV) - So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered And that is true in life. When the enemy attacks us, when there is a battle before us, generally God has something in mind that we are to do. As you think about the enemy that is before you, what is God asking you to do? Do it! But then there is something that only God can do, and He wants us to trust Him. Exodus 17:10 (NIV) - So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. Now the battle is not just raging in the valley below. It is also raging on the hill above. Exodus 17:11 (NIV) - As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. So there is Moses standing on the hilltop with the staff of God, the symbol of God s presence and power with His people, holding his hands high. Moses lifted hands symbolized his dependence on the Lord. Joshua could have never succeeded in the battle without Moses on the hilltop laying hold of the resources of the throne of God. While prayer is not specifically mentioned here, there is no question that the people of God were calling upon the power of God to win the victory. To use the staff of God was to say that God did it; to fight without the staff was to face defeat. Using the staff of God was a way of submitting to and depending on the power of God in all areas of life.

3 Exodus 17:12 (NIV) - 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. That word steady is often translated faithful Moses was firm, steady, reliable, dependable in laying hold of the power of God for Joshua in the battle below. And we can t do it alone. Joshua could have never succeeded in the battle without Moses. Moses could have never succeeded in his role without supporting friends, Aaron and Hur. We know Aaron, the brother of Moses. Who is Hur? The Jewish historian Josephus says Hur was married to Miriam, and thus Moses brother-in-law. So the strategy involved three important components: The valiant efforts of Joshua and the Israelite soldiers they would trust God and fight The earnest intercession of Moses, supported by Aaron and Hur they would trust God and pray The overwhelming power of Almighty God God would bring the victory What a phenomenal picture of how God wants us to face the battles of life. First, we must do what we must do. Second, we trust God to do what only He can do. Total dependence on the power of God is what brought the victory. Psalm 20:7 (NIV) - Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV) - Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. So we need to know the enemy, the strategy, then we will know 3. THE VICTORY (vv.13-16) Exodus 17:13 (NIV) - So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Two things happen next: Exodus 17:14 (NIV) - 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. Now God has the Amalekites on His official enemy list. You don t want to be a nation on that list. The Amalekites will be fought until they are completely vanquished. This would not happen until King David finally subdued them. The few that remained King Hezekiah destroyed.

4 Why? Deuteronomy 25:18 (NIV) - They (the Amalekites) had no fear of God. The next thing to happen is this: Exodus 17:15 (NIV) - Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. Moses commemorated the victory in his day by building an altar which he named the Lord is my Banner. God proved Himself faithful in preserving and protecting His people. Moses didn t build a memorial to Joshua, or to the Israelite army. No the battle was won by the Lord, and an altar was built to worship the Lord. Moses was careful to give the glory to God when the victory was won. The Lord is my Banner (Jehovah-Nissi). A banner in battle was a rallying point for an army. It didn t have to be a fabric banner. In fact, the word sometimes simply refers to a signal pole. In the battle, the staff of God, Moses staff, became the rallying point for the people of God. Exodus 17:16 (NIV) - He said, For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD Moses was saying, When I held up that staff, I was symbolizing the presence of Yahweh right with us, sitting on His throne, ruling over the battle and help us to win. Proverbs 21:31 - The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord. We do not fight for victory; we fight from victory. The victory has already been won. Do we really believe that the power of God is sufficient to accomplish the impossible to save a lost husband to bring a wayward child home to provide a job so you can support your family? We must do what we must do. Then we must depend on God to do what only He can do. APPLICATION I want to draw our attention to one great application for God s people in the 21 st century. There is a battle raging in our nation, in fact it is worldwide. It is a battle that the Church must be involved in. It is one of the most vicious battles targeted at the most vulnerable and helpless of all human beings. Just like the Amalekites struck at the weakest part of the Israelite community, so the enemy is striking against the weakest and the least. The issue I am talking about is abortion. The battle is for the sanctity of human life from the womb to the tomb. ILLUSTRATION One mother was telling me this week that her daughter and son-in-law live in Canada. She went in for an X-ray and the doctor asked her if there was a possibility that she might be pregnant. The young lady said, Yes there is the possibility. This physician asked, Is this your first child? The wife replied, No, this would be our third. The physician replied, Well, I guess that would be an inconvenience. The mother is a strong believer, and she said, No, not at all. We are excited about it. Why? That child is a gift from God.

5 In the pro-abortion agenda, that s the way the unborn are viewed by many an inconvenience not a human life, not a creation of God, but an inconvenience. Well this battle, like all battles for God s people must be won through the power of God. Do we believe in political solutions? Yes we do, to a degree. It should affect the way we vote the way we evaluate candidates for public office. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. The number of annual reported abortions in the U.S. peaked in 1990 at 1.4 million abortions before dropping in subsequent years. But still more than one million abortions are performed in the U.S. each year. One million babies are killed each year. That s unacceptable. Based on current abortion rates, about one in three women will have an abortion by age 45. And we know the tremendous emotional and physical toll that abortion has upon mothers who have abortions. This morning I want you to hear from someone who is vitally involved in the battle that is raging for the lives of the unborn. Shelley Lee is the Executive Director of the Fort Worth Pregnancy Center. She is here to talk about this important battle, and how believers can be involved in the battle. CONCLUSION In the battles of life, do what you must do. God always has something He wants us to do. But we know that that alone will not insure victory. We must trust God to do what only He can do.

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