Summary: From the lesson of the victory that was fought and won by Moses' hands being held up by the aid of others, we learn three things we must remember about this spiritual war.
In This War
Introduction: I would like to leave you with a lesson this morning of what it will take to make this church victorious going forward. Having many members does not mean you have an effective church. Having an emotional experience does not mean that you have repented of your sin. In this life we are engaged in a struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. And while all these are physical, the war we are engaged in is entirely spiritual.
Leonard Ravenhill once said "No man is greater than his prayer life, failing here, we fail everywhere."
(Read Exous 17:8-14)
Moses would soon turn the nation of Israel over to his young and mighty general Joshua. Moses wasn't allowed to go where Joshua was called to go because he had disobeyed the Lord. His calling ended as a great deliverer of God's people from Pharoah and leader of them through the desert but it was Joshua's calling to lead them into the promised land. This incedent was so significant that the LORD said to Moses to take special note of it and make certain that Joshua hears it!
Transition: Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we are in a struggle, a war of a spiritual nature and in this spiritual war we all have a part, I would like to point out three things that we should not forget in this spiritual war.
I. In this spiritual war, lets not forget that difficulty is inevitable
Shortly after Moses struck water from the rock to quench the thirst of a grumbling people we read in Exodus 17:8 & 9 - "The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, "Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand."
If given a choice neither Moses nor Joshua would choose to provoke any group of people to fight them. Every Christian wants peace (at least they should) but the war comes to us. Jesus said "I don't come to bring peace but a sword" Not because he was looking for a fight but because he knew that we are so contrary to a fallen world that hates him, that conflict is inevitable to which our only weapon is the sword of truth!
The question is will we be ready once it comes.
Ill. Craig Brian Larson shared an illustration from a National Geographic article about the Alaskan bull moose. The males of the species battle for dominance during the fall breeding season, literally going head-to-head with antlers crunching together as they collide. Often the antlers, their only weapon are broken. That ensures defeat. The heftiest moose, with the largest and strongest antlers, triumphs. Therefore, the battle fought in the fall is really won during the summer, when the moose eat continually. The one that consumes the best diet for growing antlers and gaining weight will be the heavyweight in the fight. Those that eat inadequately sport weaker antlers and less bulk. the lesson here is that Spiritual battles await. Satan will choose a season to attack. Will we be victorious, or will we fall? Much depends on what we do now--before the wars begin. The bull-moose principle: Enduring faith, strength, and wisdom for trials are best developed before they're needed. (sermonillustrations.com)
The Amalekites were the descendents of Amalek, the grandson of Esau. They lived to the north of Egypt and as the Israelites were wondering from place to place in the desert looking for water wherever they could find it, it was only a matter of time before they would have a run in with them. The Israelites were attacked in the most cowardly way by the Amalekites who surprised them from behind and slaughtered those who lingered in the back, took all they could, and then ran away to try to finish the massacre they started the next day.
There is good reason why Paul instructs us to put on armor, not just a sword and shield but "the whole armor of God." As we wander through life there are more than a few armies that are marching our direction, and it isn't just to pass us by but to take us out and to destroy us. "The thief only comes to kill, steal, and to destroy" He doesn't want to make peace with you and he doesn't want to make a truce with you. His only goal is to separate you from God in the vapor of time he has left to do it.
Difficulties are like the ominous storm on the horizon blowing your way, it may be regretable but its still inevitable. It is coming whether we would have it come or not. In most cases in life we can avoid confrontation. But as Joseph learned even doing all the right things can not deliver us from the inevitable. Temptation has, and always will war against our souls. Jospeph literally ran when the wife of his employer tried to seduce him and told the truth of the incident and he still ended up in prison for it. The Amalekites did not care that the wandering Israelites were not looking for war, they did not care that they only wanted to live in peace in the land God had given them.