Summary: How God wants us to respond when facing problems.
Life has it’s barren places. For the children of Israel, life in the wilderness proved to be theirs. They must pass a crucial test of their trust in God before they could inherit The Promised Land.
Being delivered from bondage is only the beginning of the journey God intends each of us to take on our way to becoming whole.
Pre-history: Many of God’s people left Egypt reluctantly. Like Lot’s wife, they needed to be delivered but they wanted to continue to enjoy the comforts of compromise. "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8)
They weren’t even on speaking terms with God. Instead, they complained to Moses about God.
When you have been talking to God you don’t need to be talking about God.
In spite of their complaining God provided water from the rock! Paul comments on the significance of the water which they drank in 1 Corinthians 10.
10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
What takes place following the incident of water from the rock reveals how God wants us to act when we encounter barren places in life.
After God turned the rock into a water fountain, the people of God began to face another test.
In verse 8, the Bible records the attack of the Amelekites. This enemy did not attack because they were provoked, but rather because they were plunderers. Remind you of anyone?
If you drink from the water of life that Christ offers the devil will periodically attack you. It isn’t that you have done anything to get in his face - he just wants to take what belongs to God.
How the battle against the Amelekites was fought and won is an excellent example of how to respond and overcome life’s barrenness.
In verse 9, the Bible records that Moses stood on the mountain with the rod of God in his hand while Joshua fought the enemy in the valley below.
You’ll remember this rod was the shepherd’s tool Moses had used in his personal desert experience and in the court of Pharoah to represent the power and glory of God with the ten plagues.
The rod judged the false gods of Egypt. It continued as a symbol of God’s presence in battle. Moses had learned to dare not leave God out of engagements with the enemy.
Don’t step onto life’s battlefields without a fresh and vigorous relationship to God.
But we cannot win life’s battles all alone.
Verse 12 teaches us that Moses need Aaron and Hur to hold up his hands. Leadership craves cooperation.
You won’t win life’s spiritual battles by tearing down your spiritual leaders. You need to hold up their hands.
1 Thessalonians 5:13 teaches you how to respond to spiritual leaders: "Esteem them very highly in love for their works’ sake."
Leaders get tired just like everyone else. Holding up the rod of God is not an easy task. Instead of thinking of what the leader is not doing well - why not think of ways you can help hold up the hands of your leaders?
The battle was effectively won because God’s honor was held high and also because the hands of the spiritual leader were held up.
Moses built an altar and called it "Jehovah-nissi", which means, "God our Banner."
When you encounter life’s barren places find a way to make God your banner. Hold His name and His honor high. Make it clear that you are on His side.
And make it clear to your leaders that you are willing to help them do their job.