Fighting an unconventional warfare
Open our eyes, O Lord, that we may see wonderful things out of Your Word, today; and bless our souls, our bodies, our circumstances by the power of Your Word, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
Permit me to share with you another experience of the Children of Israel in their Wilderness Journey, the unconventional war they fought with the Amalekites in Rephidim. We find the account in Exodus 17:8-16. This was a war that should not have taken place because the Amalekites were also the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Esau.
Amalek was the grandson of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, later called Israel: Genesis 36:12. This war, was no doubt, an extension of the family squabble between Esau and his brother Jacob. This animosity between the two, apparently, was transferred to succeeding generations especially on Esau’s part. For in our text, it was Amalek that started the fight. We read in,
8Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
Friend, do you have a transferred aggression or squabble in your family? It is not wise for adults to bring their children into their fight. Families with wonderful prospects for progress and prosperity have been reduced to an unenviable status, because misunderstanding between brothers has been transferred to their children. Sometimes it is so bad that the hatred will lead to murder.
Let us consider what the Lord Jesus says in:
25…“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”
Every city or house divided against itself will not stand. We must not forget, united we stand; divided we fall. But we do not have the capacity to make peace when we have not received the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, into our lives. Only sons of God or children of God can make peace. For Jesus says,
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God, Matthew 5:9.
We cannot have the peace of God until we have God through faith in Jesus Christ.
1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…
And for those who have peace with God, the apostle Paul says, Let the peace of God rule in your heart. The peace of God cannot rule in your heart until you have made peace with God through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Amalek, nursing generations of grudges against their relative Israel, declared war against Israel. How Israel prosecuted or fought the war will be the rest of our discussion.
The Israelite fought this war unconventionally, in terms of the tactics used. They fought on two fronts: military and spiritual. Joshua led the military front while Moses led the spiritual front. We read in,
9And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” 10So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
From verse 11 it is clear that Moses wilted spiritual weapon, and that this spiritual weapon he wilted was superior to Joshua’s military weapon. A spiritual weapon was what determined victory or defeat. This should not come as a surprise to us because no physical weapon can ever match God’s spiritual force. In this context of the war with Amalek, the divine spiritual force was released by Moses holding up his hands. At other times this divine force could be released by spoken words; as Jesus did when the storm, demons and death obeyed His word: Mark chapters 4 and 5.
Spiritual warfare clearly taught in the bible. Even a heathen king, Belak, knew the secret of spiritual weapon in warfare, when he hired Balam and told him to curse the Israelites in order to facilitate his victory over them.
Numbers 22:5b, 6:
5“Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! 6Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too might for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
2 Corinthians 10:3-4
3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
The child of God has an invisible weapon that the enemy cannot stand. The unfortunate truth is that some believers are ignorant of such weapon. In our text we see that Amalek would have defeated the Israelites if Israel had depended only on its military weapons. This truth explains the defeat some of us – people of God, experience sometimes. We depend on our intellect or on our material resources or possessions. We depend on people we know in high places rather than depending on God and the spiritual weapons He has placed at our disposal.
But what is this holding up of hands by Moses? It is symbolic of prayer. Speaking of prayer, in:
1 timothy 2:8
8I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting
Prayer is a powerful secret weapon God has made available to His people. Even the devil trembles when the weakest Christian is on his or her knees. Samuel Chadwick, one of the noble servants of God of yesteryears once said, "The one concern of the devil is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray. Notice that Moses needed support in exercising his weapon of prayer.
12But Moses’ hand became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
For greater effectiveness in prayer, sometimes, we need support. This is better than contracting out prayers to some who claim to pray more effectively than us – more often than not. That claim is not true.
Let me conclude. In verse 12, we see an instruction for those who force about posture in prayer. Some people believe that prayer is never effective except one offers it standing. If Moses, Aaron or Hur had insisted on Moses standing to pray the effectiveness of his prayer would have been compromised. But his prayer power was optimized when he assumed a comfortable posture.
Friend, won’t you avail yourself of this tested and potent spiritual weapon God has made available to all who will receive His Son Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord? Receive Him and start enjoying your wonderful privilege of prayer.
Thank You Father again for Your Word. Into Your hands I have commit those who have read this. Please draw many to Yourself, and make them Your sons and Your daughters that they may Have this power that beats any power anybody can think of, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!