Lately in a discussion with friends, there was a sharing about the Battle Of Rephidim written in Exodus 17:8-16. This battle is one of the very first major battle for the Israelites after the came out of Egypt.

In fact, God was avoiding wars for the Israelites so far for a good reason. The people under Moses are mainly people who just started their journey, and they are not trained in the military warfare. There are 2 ways to reach the promise land, one is known as “The Way Of The Philistines” which is a land route along the Mediterranean sea, it is a popular trade route and is protected by many Egyptian forts along the way. The second way is known as “The Way Of The Wilderness” which is taken by shepherds usually.

God did not chose the way of the Philistines as he is worried that the battles would lower the morale of the people and they would turn back to Egypt . (Ex 13:17-18)

Yet this is the first time God allowed war to happen to his beloved, hence it is a very significant battle.

Prelude to the Battle

Although Exodus 17:8 simply mentioned that Amalek was attacking the people of Israel, but Moses speech to the second generation Israelites in Deut 25:17-18, he said that Amalekites were attacking the rear ranks, the stragglers who are tired and weary. Amalekites did not come to fight Israel head on, but choose to kill the weak and the struggling who are at the back.

This is when Moses had to make a very big decision to gather the armies of Israel to defend the people. But being old, Moses was unable to fight the battle at the forefront, this is when he approached Joshua to choose people to fight against the enemies.

Joshua just went on obediently into battle, bearing in mind that the young men of Israel have no formal military training and have no combat experience, while they are fighting against Amalekites who at least knew some basic strategies as they have choose to attacked from the rear.

I would think that to find man to join the battle would have been difficult. Yet Joshua was able to choose people to fight (Ex 17:9) . I tend to imagine this force as a group of volunteers who are moved for their love for the weak and struggling brethrens being attacked by the enemies and they are willing to lay down their lives for their brethrens even if they are in face of a trained enemies.

The Battle Rages

As Joshua and his group of volunteers fought against the Amalekites, Moses, Aaron and Hur went up the hills to pray for the them, we all know the story, when Moses hands dropped, the Amalekites were winning and when Moses hands were lift up, Joshua won.. This is when Aaron and Hur took a stone to support Moses. They held on to Moses hands until Joshua and his volunteers defeated the enemies. (Ex 17:10-13)

The Battle Ends

Through the prayers of Moses, and the volunteers under Joshua, God defeated the enemies. God commanded Moses to write in the Torah to commemorate the battle, and in this battle God judged the Amalekites that he will judge them for their treachery to attack Israel (Ex 17:14). Moses built an altar and called it YHWH Nissi, (The Lord is my banner)

Lessons learnt :

Who are the Amalekites of this day?

This battle is still as relevant to us in the modern days. Amalekites can be liken to satan our adversary, who prowls around seeking for Christians he can devour (1 PeT 5:8). satan loves to attack the Christians who are straggling behind in their walk of faith and are feeling weak. Just like what the Amalekites did.

Joshua and the volunteers

This battle can only be won if there are valiant people who volunteer to fight against the enemies. The Joshua and his volunteers are liken to people who are working hard to strength the church and to serve the people. One of their prime motivators in their services must be the love for the people.

Indeed, the more one were to serve in the ministry to the people, there are many times they will have to work in tears. Lets take a look at some of the comments from the apostles themselves

“Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. ” -Paul ( 2 Cor 12:14-15)

“From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness- besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?” – Paul (2 Cor 11 :24-29)

But Paul keep saying that it is the love of Christ that compel him (2 Cor 5:13-15)

Therefore, let us be armed with the same mind in our daily service

Moses, Aaron and Hur

Moses, Aaron and Hur represent the members in church who had been praying for the work of God to be accomplished, although most of them are unable to be at the forefront fighting the battle, but they are ever willing to intercede to God.

In fact, as the battle is being fought, the church must understand that the battle is not their to fight, but Gods. while all of us are working together with God to accomplish the work. (2 Thess 3:1, 1 Tim 2:1, Eph 6:18)

In fact, Moses prayer would have been an impossible feat, once a preacher gave us a staff and wanted us to live up our hands and see how long we can hold it up into the air. Most of us will find it easy in the beginning and difficult by the 15-20 mins.

There are times where prayers are effective in a group. Just like the many prayers prayed from the church for the apostles (Acts 4:23-31, Acts 12:5-19)

So let us learn to support each other in prayers

Other Notes

This battle is interesting, because later on God finally judged the Amalekites by sending king Saul to destroy them. (1 Sam 15). Saul allowed King Agag of the Amalekites to live..

Although this is not confirmed, many people reckon that Haman in the book of Esther is called a Agaghite, which may indicate that he is an decedent of Agag (Esther 3:1) although it is not specifically mentioned why Haman hated the Jews so much (besides Mordecai pissing him off)

Ironically, Mordecai and Esther are Benjamites, Saul’s tribe..

I hope that through this sharing we can learn more about love and prayer.