Summary: Face criticism with the presence of God.


1. Some problems come from circumstances. “There was not water for the people to drink” (17:1).

a. Time of year.

b. Hadn’t God led them?

c. Weren’t they in a desert?

2. What was their past sin? Complaining/criticism (14:11-12; 15:24; 16:2). If you don’t conquer a sin, it will return with more vengeance.

3. Why does God let us end up in a hard place? To focus on our weaknesses. Because of criticism they died in the desert.

4. Where is most of the criticism directed? Person of authority/leader. “Murmured against Moses” (v. 3). The root is self, we want control and authority.

5. What comes after criticism? Eliminate the leader. “They are almost ready to stone me” (v. 4).

6. What to do when criticized? Get help. “Take with thee the elders of Israel” (v. 5).

7. Remind critics of leading thus far. “Take . . . the rod, the one you used when you struck the waters of the Nile” (v. 5, LB).

8. Take your place up front. “Walk on ahead of the people” (v. 5, LB).

9. Face criticism with the presence of God. “I will meet you by the rock” (v. 6).

10. God loves symbols. Used symbolic actions, “Strike the rock and water will come pouring out” (v. 6).

11. Watch out for the twin inner weaknesses:

a. Disbelief and disobedience. Which comes first?

12. We need the twin strengths.

a. Faith and vision. Can’t have one without the other.

13. Why does Moses make a memorial of their failure?

a. Massah = temptation; they tempted God.

b. Meribah = strife; they criticized Moses.

c. Scars remind us of hurt, failure or accident.


1. When are we attacked by evil? Immediately after God’s work. “Then came Amalek and fought with Israel” (v. 8). Pray most and pray hardest after a spiritual victory.

2. Who were the Amalekites? Grandson of Essa, who was “born according to the flesh” (Gal. 4:22-29). Battles come from “lust of the flesh (satisfy body), lust of the eyes (money and things), pride of life (ego and power).

Inner Flesh Is Ignited By Outer Temptation

• Food

• Sex

• Drugs

These are good when used for the right purposes, but dominate us when used for evil purposes.

3. Why did Amalek attack Israel? Water rights. The flesh attacks us when we deny what the flesh thinks is his.

4. Five secrets to defeating Amelek/the flesh.

(1) Take a stand, commitment and determination. “Stand on top of the hill” (v. 9).

(2) Use God’s instruments/methods. “With the rod of God” (v. 9).

(3) You must pray. “When Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed” (v. 11).

(4) Prayer helpers. “Aaron and Hur held up his hands” (v. 12).

(5) Apply victory techniques as you pray. “Choose . . . men, and go out and fight Amelek” (v. 9).

5. Six attitudes to defeating the flesh.

(1) God is your first line of defense. “I will stand on the top of the hill” (v. 9).

(2) No battle is won alone. “Joshua . . . choose out men, and go and fight” (v. 9).

(3) Geographical praying. “Stand on the top of the hill” (v. 9). Jesus called it a “closet” (Matt. 6:6) also translated “inner room.” Why does God want secret prayer? ______________, open prayer? __________________________.

(4) Rely on family strength. “Aaron and Hur” (v. 12). Brother and brother-in-law.

(5) Little prayer may not win. “When he let down his hands, Amelek prevailed” (v. 11). “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).

There is value in the volume of prayer.

(6) Sometimes things help prayers. “Took a stone . . . he sat thereon” (v. 12). Use prayer list, prayer rug, music, closet, and devotional books.

6. What to do after a great answer to prayer.

(1) Keep a written record. “Write this for a memorial in a book” (v. 14).

(2) Telling others strengthens both you and them. “Rehearse it” (v. 14).

(3) Thank those who help you win. “Rehearse it in the ears of Joshua” (v. 13). “Gratitude is the least remembered of all virtues, but will build up your character.”

(4) Give thanks and praise to God. “Moses built an altar and called the name of it Jehovah- Nissi” (v. 15).

a. To build means to offer sacrifices to God.

b. Keeps you dependent upon God.

(5) Remember, the flesh will not be completely defeated in this life. “The Lord will have war with Amalek, from generation to generation” (v. 16). While we have life on this earth you will struggle with evil.

(6) The resurrection will win the ultimate battle with the flesh. “I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” In the resurrection the old nature will be eradicated. “Thanks be unto God who gives us the ultimate victory” (1 Cor. 15:57).

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