Summary: We are in a spiritual battle but we don't have to fight alone.

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November 13, 2011

Morning Worship

Text: Exodus 17:8-16

Subject: Fight Against the Enemy

Title: Three Reasons to Lift Your Hands in the Heat of Battle

I want to begin today by asking you to take the time to look around the whole church. Look at each person. Take a minute or so and look at everyone. If you have to stand up to do it that’s OK. It won’t distract anyone.

Now let me ask you a question – As you looked around what did you see? Some may see just bodies taking up space in a pew. There may be others who see victories through the lives of certain individuals as they look around. Still others will look at individuals and see an opportunity for prayer – needs that are waiting to be met, and struggles that are waiting to be overcome, and battles waiting to be won. What do you see?

The truth of the matter is that as we look and see these differences all around the congregation we all are in a battle – we may just be in different stages of battle.

In our bible story today I want you to be able to understand a little better what is taking place so we need to do a quick study on Amelek. First of all, Israel was not battle hardened. At this point they were just months out of captivity in Egypt. They were brick layers and shepherds and farmers – not soldiers. The Amelekites, on the other hand, were wanderers who moved from territory to territory with their flocks to wherever the pasture could support them. When they refused to allow Israel to pass through it wasn’t because they were defending their homeland. It was because they didn’t want to share any of the grazing land. As the people of God walked toward the Promised Land the Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 25:17-18, 17 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. Amelek was attacking the weak, the aged, the young – all those who were not able to keep up with the rest but would lag behind.

That is a great picture of the spiritual warfare that is taking place in this church right now.

But now, just as then, God has an answer for the attacks from the enemy.

Read Exodus 17:8-16.

Three reasons for raising your hands in battle…

1. Raising your hands in surrender to God guarantees the battle…

2. Raising your hands in prayer fights the battle…

3. Raising your hands in thanksgiving and praise finishes the battle…

Everyone hold up your bibles…

I believe this is God’s word…

I believe it is for me…

I accept it as mine…

I appropriate its promises to my life…

In Jesus’ name.

Three reasons for raising your hands in the battle.

I. RAISING YOUR HANDS IN SURRENDER TO GOD GUARANTEES THE BATTLE… As I said before, the Israelites were not many days out of the bondage of Egypt. They had seen the great blessings and miracles that God had worked on their behalf. They were called out of bondage by God – they were His people. If you go back to the beginning of the book of Exodus we see a people who were in bondage but didn’t really seem to know it. They were working as slaves building the cities of Egypt – really, building the kingdom of the enemy, the god of this world… It was not until the people of Egypt began to trust God that the battle began. Exodus 4:29-31, 29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the LORD had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped. Now, a question to think about… Was this really a territorial battle or was there something else going on? If we look at what that passage in Deuteronomy 25 says about the Amalekites we see the real source of the conflict… they had no fear of God. Proverbs 1:7, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. What do we know about the Amalekites? They did not fear God. They were fools. 8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. This was the place where God had just miraculously given them water from the rock to quench their thirst. God does a miracle and the enemy attacks. 9 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.” This staff that Moses carried with him to the top of the hill is his shepherds’ staff. Look at the significance of this staff. 1) while shepherds sat around the fire at night they would carve on the staff and each carving would represent a detail of the shepherd’s life – a wife taken, or a child born or some other significant event so that when the shepherd is out in the fields he can remember those events of his life. Moses, like every shepherd, carried his life history on his staff. Now that is important to remember because when God called Moses to deliver the Israelites from Egypt, He told him to throw his staff down. Exodus 4:1-3, 1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?” 2 Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. 3 The LORD said, “Throw it on the ground…” The command was for Moses to lay his life down and trust God. 2) There wasn’t anything magical about the staff – it was a point of contact through which God could work. Here is the pattern that Moses gives us. If we lay down our lives in obedience to God we can trust Him to work through us. He told Joshua, “You draw up the battle plan. I’ll go up on the mountain and expect God to do something miraculous.” When you raise your hands in submission to God, you will know you are in a battle.

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