Summary: The four principles include a provision (salvation), a purpose (Canaan), a problem (flesh), and a principle (the victory is God-given).
You’ll notice in your program a logo which represents the celebration that we’re having; and, there is a hand holding up a hand, and the caption there says “A Legend of Loyalty, a Vision for Victory.” That is taken from the 17th chapter of the Book of Exodus, and I’d like you to turn to that, if you would here, for just a moment. And, while you’re turning, I want to tell you something about a church member that I had difficulty with. As a matter of fact, I’ve had difficulty with this church member for a number of years. Really, he’s given me a lot of trouble, and he has disappointed me many, many times. And, I have had to just expend a lot of energy with this particular church member who really—frankly, we are a wonderful congregation—but this member has given me much, much sorrow and heartache at times. Maybe I ought to tell you his name. I think I will: Adrian Rogers. You’re looking at the guy who has given me a lot of trouble. You know, my biggest enemy is my own self.
Have you found that true? We have an enemy inside the fort called self. Sometimes the Bible calls that the old man. Sometimes the Bible calls that the flesh, but we’re all in a battle. You see, we have three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Now, we’re going to be talking about that center enemy, the flesh; and, when I’m talking about the flesh, I’m not talking about your material body—not talking about your skin and bones. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God. It is crafted of God, and it is to be wholly dedicated to Him. But, when I’m talking about the flesh, I’m talking about the lower part of our nature that we inherited from our parents, who got it from Adam. It is a disposition against the things of God. The Bible tells us, in Galatians chapter 5 and verse 17, that “the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these two are contrary one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17).
Now, what does that have to do with the 17th chapter of Exodus? Well, let me tell you a secret to understanding the Bible. Now, while the Old Testament is history, it is more than history. Are you listening? It is devotional literature. I’m talking about the Old Testament, and I’m talking about the history of the Old Testament; and, I’m talking particularly of the coming of the Jewish nation out of Egypt through the wilderness and into Canaan. The Bible tells us, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, that “all of these things happened to them…”—1 Corinthians 10, verse 11—“all of these things happened unto them for examples” to us (1 Corinthians 10:11).
Now, you’re going to learn a lesson today about the life of conquest. Remember that, at one time, the Jewish people were in Egypt, and they were slaves. Now, Egypt represents the world, therefore, that we’ve been called out of, but God called them out of Egypt. Pharaoh was the king of Egypt; Pharaoh represents the devil. Then, they were headed toward Canaan, a land of oil, and wine, and corn, and figs, and pomegranates, and milk, and honey, and rivers, and trees, and valleys, and hills, brass, and iron. They were called into Canaan. What does Canaan represent? Not Heaven someday. Canaan, in the Bible—don’t miss this—Canaan represents victory. Canaan represents the Spirit-filled life—not in the sweet by-and-by, but in the nasty now-and-now, for we can have victory day by day.
So, as Christians, we have come out of Egypt. We’re coming through a wilderness, but we’re headed toward Canaan; and, we ought to already be there, so Canaan represents the Spirit-filled life. Egypt—the world; Pharaoh—the devil; Canaan—the victorious life. But, we’re going to meet somebody now, in just a moment, who represents the flesh—that member I’ve been having such difficulty with. And, I know that, if you’re saved, you’ve been having the same difficulty.
Now, with that in mind, begin in verse 8: “Then came Amalek…”—Amalek represents the flesh—“Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.” I can imagine Dan Rather being there, Dan Rather saying, “There’s a battle. Our man on the field is reporting something. Let me get it here in my… Oh, yes, yes,” he says, “there’s an old man, some man who has a rod in his hand. And, as the old man holds up his hand, something is happening down here, in the valley, ladies and gentlemen. It seems that, when the old man holds up his hands, Joshua’s army is victorious; but, when the old man’s hands go down, the armies of Amalek are victorious. It’s a strange thing that we report today.” All right now, notice verse 12: “But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands”—that is, “held up his hands”—“the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek…”—that’s just a fancy way of saying, “He whooped him”—“Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword” (Exodus 17:8–13).