Teamwork — Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and to Mt. Sinai. He’s old and tired. Out of nowhere come some distant cousins, the Amalekites, to attack. Can Moses hold out? Let’s dig in…
8 While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. 9 Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.”
10 So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. 11 As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. 12 Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. 13 As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.
14 After the victory, the Lord instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the Lord is my banner”). 16 He said, “They have raised their fist against the Lord’s throne, so now the Lord will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.”Exodus 17:8-16 NLT
- Who were the Amalekites? As we went through Genesis, there were many genealogies. Yeah, I know they’re boring, but they are important, as the Israelites are going to encounter the descendants of these people at some point or another. Here we encounter the “army of Amalek”. Amalek was a grandson of Esau, Jacob/Israel’s brother. (You can check out that family line in Genesis 36.) Remember, Esau tried to kill Jacob because he stole his birthright and blessing. Even though Jacob and Esau reunited and hugged it out years later, apparently, Esau’s descendants still carried animosity towards the Hebrews.
- The battle belongs to the Lord! We fight battles every day. Whether we’re battling people, disease, or the spirit of laziness and procrastination (that was mine for a long time!), when we give it to God, He steps in for us. We must realize that we can’t do it all ourselves. We were never meant to! Here, Aaron and Hur, stepped in to help Moses keep the staff of God up high. The moment he let down his arms, the battle turned and the Israelites were losing. When we are struggling, Jesus steps in to hold us up by the strength of the Holy Spirit.
- Finally, when the battle is won, the Lord wanted Moses to have a permanent reminder. So, Moses wrote down the story of the battle. Also, he built an altar and called it Yahweh-Nissi — the Lord is my banner. A banner is a flag. We look for it in war. That’s what inspired Frances Scott Key to compose the “Star Spangled Banner”. Amidst the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air, the night sky was lit up and he could see the U.S. flag still flying high. It was a sign of hope.
Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law comes from Midian to visit him. He observes all that Moses does for the Hebrews. Everyone was coming to Moses with their problems — some petty, some bigger. This was wearing Moses out. So, Jethro gives him some wise advice…
13 The next day, Moses took his seat to hear the people’s disputes against each other. They waited before him from morning till evening.
14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, “What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?”
15 Moses replied, “Because the people come to me to get a ruling from God. 16 When a dispute arises, they come to me, and I am the one who settles the case between the quarreling parties. I inform the people of God’s decrees and give them his instructions.”
17 “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed. 18 “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself. 19 Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him. 20 Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives. 21 But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 22 They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. 23 If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.”
24 Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. 25 He chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 26 These men were always available to solve the people’s common disputes. They brought the major cases to Moses, but they took care of the smaller matters themselves.
27 Soon after this, Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law, who returned to his own land.Exodus 18:13-27 NLT
The Big Idea
- Face it. Sometimes, you can’t do it all yourself. I see this a lot when working with entrepreneurs. They are hesitant in delegating everyday tasks because they think that no one can do it as good as they can. That only leads to burnout and eventual failure.
- Jethro here was an objective mentor. Having an outsider review your situation is extremely helpful as we are usually too close to the issue.
- You have to be willing to listen to advice. Wise advice, including God’s direction can come from other people. However, make sure that the advice is biblical. If it’s a major decision, pray about it.
Jesus is always with you…He told us…
17 “He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.”John 14:17-19 NLT
Something I was reading this morning drew my attention to Psalm 83. I pulled it up in the Bible app, read it and was blown away! I read it again and again. Here it is…
1 O God, do not be silent!
Do not be deaf.
Do not be quiet, O God.
2 Don’t you hear the uproar of your enemies?
Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up?
3 They devise crafty schemes against your people;
they conspire against your precious ones.
4 “Come,” they say, “let us wipe out Israel as a nation.
We will destroy the very memory of its existence.”
5 Yes, this was their unanimous decision.
They signed a treaty as allies against you—
6 these Edomites and Ishmaelites;
Moabites and Hagrites;
7 Gebalites, Ammonites, and Amalekites;
and people from Philistia and Tyre.
8 Assyria has joined them, too,
and is allied with the descendants of Lot.
9 Do to them as you did to the MidianitesPsalm 83 NLT
and as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the Kishon River.
10 They were destroyed at Endor,
and their decaying corpses fertilized the soil.
11 Let their mighty nobles die as Oreb and Zeeb did.
Let all their princes die like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 for they said, “Let us seize for our own use
these pasturelands of God!”
13 O my God, scatter them like tumbleweed,
like chaff before the wind!
14 As a fire burns a forest
and as a flame sets mountains ablaze,
15 chase them with your fierce storm;
terrify them with your tempest.
16 Utterly disgrace them
until they submit to your name, O Lord.
17 Let them be ashamed and terrified forever.
Let them die in disgrace.
18 Then they will learn that you alone are called the Lord,
that you alone are the Most High,
supreme over all the earth.
Lord, I pray this right now because…
Indeed, he who watches over IsraelPsalm 121:4 NLT
never slumbers or sleeps.
Watch the video at the bottom for a clear explanation on who these nations are today.