Summary: The hands of the righteous are lifted to God on behalf of the ungodly.
Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow 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. 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, 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.
The life of discipleship is filled with challenges and spiritual warfare. Indeed there will days when you’ll feel as strong as an ox, as big as a giant and as invincible as Hercules. And then there will be days when you’ll feel as broken as Job, as forsaken as Jesus on the Cross, as misunderstood as Jeremiah, as persecuted as Paul, and as vulnerable as David when he was being hunted down by Saul. But no matter what you are going through, you must be very careful to keep your faith and trust in the Lord at all times and let the praise of the Lord be continually in your mouth (Ps. 34:1).
Listen! Don’t let your circumstance determine your praise. Don’t let your adversities neutralize your faith. Don’t let your weariness frustrate your worship. The road of discipleship is a stony road filled with bitter sweet memories and unavoidable challenges. But the end result thereof is life everlasting with Jesus our Lord.
Setting the Stage
Our text this morning chronicles the victory of the Israelites over the Amalekites at Rephidim ( = "rests" or "stays" or "resting places"). A station of Israel in the wilderness between Egypt and Sinai. It is interesting to note that it is in the place of rest that war came upon the Israelites. After a Red Sea experience, after manna from the sky, after meat from the quails, and after water at Meribah, I’m sure the Israelites were moving confidently towards the Promised Land. So confident that they decided to hang out a little bit at Rephidim.
My brothers and sisters, there are a lot of us who have climbed the ladder of success, bought the dream home, paid all our debts, and think that we can put our lives on cruise control and coast our way to heaven without having to do any hard work. That is the furthest thing from the truth. For the enemy will attack you in your resting places. He will attack you in that dream home. He will attack your dream marriage. He will attack your dream job. He will attack your dream neighborhood. That’s why your hands have to always be lifted in prayer before the Lord at all times.
The truth in the matter is; there is no rest for the followers of Jesus Christ. We are always at war with the enemy. That’s why we have to cry out to God day and night. We have to be ready to fight the enemy whenever and wherever.
Thank God for the servant/leader Moses who was a man of prayer and faith. Moses did not stay in the valley of rest (Rephidim), but he went on the top of the hill and lifted his hands with the rod of God towards the heaven. It is here that we learn two things:
1. A disciple must always have his/hands lifted to God in prayer
When there is no prayer there won’t be victory. And it doesn’t matter your position or title in the Church. Without your prayer, the enemy will destroy everything that you hold near and dear. I like the way Alvin VanderGriend puts it in the “Love to Pray” book; “God was teaching His people that He chooses to move in response to prayer and He will not move without it.
The text says; “when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.” In other words, you and I can’t drop our spiritual guards. We have to keep our hands up in prayer for our children when they go to school, for our spouses when they go to work, for our neighbors, for our co-workers, for our extended family members and church members.
When our hands are lifted in prayer God neutralize the enemy and give us victory. When our hands stay lifted crack-houses are closed down in our neighborhood. When our hands stay lifted, gang members move on to other areas. When our hands stay lifted, broken marriages are fixed. When our hands stay lifted the church gets stronger, more souls are saved, more disciples are developed, people are set free.