-The children of Israel made their way in stages to Rephidim in the wilderness further south into the Arabian Peninsula. The problem here, as with many places in the wilderness (desert), is that water supply is limited and can get virtually non-existent. You can image the fear that this naturally produces. It led to quarreling with Moses and testing of the LORD (Exodus 17:2). They felt like they were being brought out to be killed rather than delivered at this point, but God produced another miracle of provision for them. Moses struck the rock at the LORD’s command at Horeb and water poured out of it. Therefore the name of this place was Massah (test) and Merribah (quarrel) because the people doubted that God was amongst them. *Application* God often puts us through these tests and trials in life to reveal our heart towards him. His design is to build our faith in ever increasing measure. He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6-8, Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5). This is His promise that we must depend on and cling to in every circumstance. Rest in Him with your faith (Hebrews 11:1-6).
-Now Amalek invades. This is a tribe of the grandson of Esau who were nomadic warriors who lived in the desert and made frequent raids on settlements for booty (Genesis 36:12). They basically killed for pleasure. An ancient pirating system if you will. The nature of man doesn’t change and his heart is only for evil continually apart from the grace of God (Genesis 6:5, Titus 2:10-12). Joshua, introduced for the first time in Scripture, is given leadership in this first battle against the enemy as Moses stations himself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in hand. Moses took Hur and Aaron and went to the top of the hill where he could see the battle and raise his staff of the LORD over the scene. When he lifted his staff Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek (the enemy) prevailed (Exodus 17:11). Moses had assistance to give him a seat and keep his hands raised from Hur and Aaron and the victory was gained. *Application* This underscores how devoted men of God should help and assist spiritual leaders in the spiritual battles that take place. They stood with him and would not let him down shouldering some of the responsibility of the outcome.
-*Application* Amalek is a picture (or type) of Satanic forces that invade in a new believers life once rescued from the domain of darkness into the everlasting light of Jesus Christ. Just because one is free from the burden of slavery, doesn’t mean that there will not be attacks of the enemy as we see here in the passage. In fact just as with Amalek we with the LORD as our helper will have war with Satanic forces perpetually from generation to generation (Exodus 17:16). God will eventually blot out the memory of Amalek from under Heaven (Exodus 17:14), but there is going to be turbulence in the meantime. The tension is real and there will always be resistance. The key is living life in the power of God through his Holy Spirit to thwart off the attacks of the enemy every time they arise, and they will arise guaranteed. Keep your hands raised in victory as Moses and get faithful accountability partners who will help you in the fight. Amalek can be overcome!
-One last word in this chapter. Joshua’s development as a leader is important. He will be the one to eventually take the children of Israel into the Promised Land and devour the enemies of the LORD there. This was a training ground where he learned skills and strategy with the help of God Almighty.
Verse to Memorize: Exodus 17:6