THE UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE
Greetings, friends. Permit me to speak to you on one of the experiences of the Children of Israel in their wilderness journey – the unconventional war they fought with the Amalekites. We find this account in Exodus 17, from verse 8.
Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9 And 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.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands 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. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner; 16 for he said, “Because the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
Help us now, dear Lord, as we reason in Your Word. Help us to understand. Minister truth to our hearts; and transform us by it…in Jesus’ Name. Amen!
This was a war that should not have taken place. Why? Because the Amalekites were also descendants of Abraham through Esau. Amalek was the grandson of Esau – the twin brother of Jacob later called Israel. You find that in Genesis 36 verse 12. This war was no doubt an extension of the family feud 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 Exodus 17 from verse 8:
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, families with wonderful prospect for prosperity, have been reduced to an unenviable status – because misunderstanding between brothers was transferred to their children. Sometimes it is so bad that the hatred will lead to murder.
Let us consider what the Lord says in Matthew 12:25. He says,
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.
We must not forget, friends, that 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: the Lord Jesus Christ into our lives.
Only Sons of God – only Children of God can make peace; for Jesus said, in Matthew 5:9,
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
We cannot have the peace of God until we have peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ – by receiving Jesus Christ into our lives. For Roman 5:1 says,
1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Anyone who has not received Christ is still an enemy of God – for every sinner has declared himself God’s enemy. But when you receive Christ, you have made peace with God. And to those who have made peace with God, the Apostle Paul says in Colossians 3:15,
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
Amalek, nursing generations of grudges against their relative Israel, declared war against Israel. How Israel prosecuted or fought this war is the rest of our discussion.
The Israelites fought this war unconventionally – in terms of the tactics they used. They fought on two fronts: they fought militarily; and they fought spiritually. Joshua led the military front; while Moses led the spiritual front. For we read in Exodus 17:9-11, again to refresh our memory:
9 And 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.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
From this verse 11, it is clear that the spiritual weapon of Moses was superior to Joshua’s military weapon. The spiritual weapon was what determined the victory or defeat. When Moses held up his hand Israel prevailed, when he led down his hand Amalek prevailed. This should not come to us as a surprise because no physical weapon can match God’s spiritual force. In this context of war with Amalek, the divine spiritual force was released by Moses, holding up his hands. At other times, it is by spoken word: as Jesus did when He spoke to the storm, when He spoke to demons, when He spoke to death. We find that in Mark Gospel Chapters 4 and 5.
Spiritual warfare is clearly taught in the bible. I don’t know that the way it is taught in the bible is the way it is taught in some quarters today. Even the heathen king, by the name of Belak, knew the secret of spiritual weapon in warfare. And that was why he hired Belam to pronounce a curse on the Israelites to facilitate his victory over them. You find that in Number 22 – Numbers 22, from 5b to verse 6.
Belak said to Belam:
“Look, a people has come from Egypt [- the Israelites]. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! [They are settling next door] 6 Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me [spiritual weapon], for they are too mighty 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.”
He understood the secret of spiritual warfare. And in 2 Corinthians 10,
2 Corinthians 10:3-4, the Word of God says,
2 Corinthians 10:3-4
3 For though we walk in the flesh [physically], we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [they are not fleshly; they are not physical – they are spiritual] 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 weapon. This truth explains the defeat some of us people of God experience some times. We depend on our intellect, we depend on our material possessions, we depend on the people we know in high places, rather than on God and the spiritual weapons He has placed in 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,
1 Timothy 2:8, the bible says”
1 Timothy 2:8
1 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;
Prayer is a powerful secret weapon which 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, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at or wisdom – but trembles when we pray.”
Notice that Moses needed support in exercising his weapon of prayer. Aaron and Hur helped him. And he sat as he prayed. This counters some of the instructions we have these days when we cannot sit to pray: Let us stand and pray. The best posture, if it comes to that, is kneeling. But God is not mindful of your posture.
Friend, won’t you avail yourself of this tested and potent spiritual weapon which God has made available to all who would receive Jesus – all who would receive Jesus Christ? If you have not received Him, receive Him now – because this weapon is not available to you. All you can do is contract out prayer to others. But it will not avail because they are praying on your behalf when God does not know your name.
Give your life to Jesus Christ –and you can use this weapon. Receive Him now and enjoy the privilege of the spiritual weapon.
Father, again we’ve come to the end of our discussion. I leave in your hands as many as the Spirit is touching now to yield themselves to Christ. Holy Spirit, Hand of Heaven, Go after them, and give them no rest until they do so. And for those who have, and are not praying, convict them also that they may go down on their knees and converse with the heavenly Father and use their spiritual weapons…in Jesus Name. Amen!