THE BATTLE AT REPHIDIM: A LESSON FOR CHRISTIAN OVERCOMMER (EXODUS 17:8-13)

The Bible in Exodus 17:8-13 describes the battle at Rephidim in this manner, “Now Amalek came and fought Isreal in Rephidim. 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”. So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Isreal prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hand became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat down 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. so Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” At the end of the battle God swore to utterly destroy the Amalekites from the world and God told Moses to write it down for a memorial. (Exodus 17:14).

The Amalekites were descendants of Amalek, a grandson of Esau. (Gen. 36:12) “Now Timna was the concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son, and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. (Gen. 36:12). They were a fierce nomadic tribe that lived in the wilderness region of the Dead Sea. They made part of their livelihood by conducting frequent raids on other settlements and carrying off booty. They killed for pleasure. When the Isrealites entered the region, the Amalekites saw this as a perfect opportunity for both pleasure and profit. But this hostile tribe was moving in on the wrong group – a people of God. For the Isrealite slaves coming out of Egypt to defeat such a warlike nation was more than enough proof that God was with them as He had promised to be.

We met Joshua the fighting general and servant of Moses. Aaron, Moses senior brother and Hur, Mariam’s husband stood side by side and held up Moses’ arms to ensure victory against Amalek. We need to offer support to our spiritual leaders as well. Shouldering some responsibility, lending a word of encouragement, or offering a prayer are ways of refreshing spiritual leaders in their work. Doing this also makes you a partaker in God’s work and in its success.

In the story we saw a miracle of God in the sense that when Moses’ arms were raised Isreal preavails but when the arms are down Amalek prevails. But the hand can not stay up for a long time without weariness, tiredness, and pain. All these Moses have to endure for success to be achieved and for Isreal to prevail against the enemies.

This is a very important lesson that any would be Christian Overcomer must learn. To be a Christian overcomer or prevailer or victor especially in spiritual warfare, prayer, and in Christian life the lessons from this passage must be understood and learnt.

As Christians and children of God we face many enemies or adversaries. For examples, Satan, demons, sin, death, spiritual wickedness in high places, powers of darkness, strongholds, principalities, powers, the devourer, the world, the flesh, tribulations, trials, etc. As Christians in order to succeed we must contend with and overcome the enemies. Lord Jesus expects us to be overcomers and promises that “He, who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the Tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God”. (Rev. 2:7; see also verses 11, 17, and 26) “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Rev. 3:5; see also verses 12 and 21).

To be an overcomer we must learn from overcomers. How did the children of God overcome their enemies in the Battle of Rephidim?

  1. Cooperation with others was shown. Moses could not hold his arms up permanently, he was helped by Aaron and Hur to keep them up until they overcame the enemy. Joshua led the army of Isreal.
  2. Observation or paying attention. It was by paying attention in the course of observation that it was discovered that when Moses’ arms were raised Isreal prevailed but when down Amalek prevailed. The Christian must be observant.
  3. Faith was shown. They realized that this was a miracle of God and they keyed in on the miracle by helping Moses to raise his arms while others were fighting. Through their faith the gift of victory was given by God.
  4. Suffering or pain. No pain, no gain the saying goes, one who will be an overcomer must be ready for pains and suffering but at the end it will be joy and glory. Lord Jesus overcame the world because he was able to overcome the pains and suffering that came with victory. Remember that our strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).
  5. They fought until the going down of the sun. The race is not a dash but a marathon. The overcomer must learn to endure and be ready to take everything thrown at him. The greater the battle the sweeter the victory.
  6. The help of God. Moses had the rod of God in his hand. The rod with which he turned rivers of water into rivers of blood, the rod that turned into snake and swallowed up Jannes and Jambres snakes in front of Pharaoh king of Egypt, the rod that parted the “Red Sea”. Moses and Isreal used the help of God in their battle. The would be overcomer must seek God’s help in prayer to succeed.
  7. Being on top of events. Moses said tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill. Why? It is to be on top of the events or happenings. An overcomer must be able to be on top of events around him. He must be able to see everything at once and make right decisions as need be. Satan took Lord Jesus up on an exceedingly high mountain top, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory (Matt. 4:8) to convince Jesus to worship him. Lord Jesus of course made the right decision by refusing him.
  8. Identification with God. The children of Isreal believed in God on seeing all that God has done on their behalf in Egypt and against Pharaoh’s forces. They saw the parting of the Red sea. So they were not afraid of fighting against the Amalekites who have attacked them. They knew they will prevail against such a mighty and experienced kingdom because God was on their side. See Romans 6:4-22.
  9. The Isrealites choose victory over defeat. As a result of their choice God gave them victory over the Amalekites. A Christian that will be an overcomer must always choose to be victorious in any challenge he might face. Ask God and you shall be given the Bible says. Whatever you ask for shall be your portion as a child of God.
  10. Work while it is light. The Isrealites fought the Amalekites during the daylight with intention to defeat them before sundown before darkness comes. An overcomer must make haste while the sun shines. Use the light of the Lord when you can see the enemy or challenges. In the dark men stumble and evil may be stronger. An overcomer must also not procrastinate because the enemy will build up his strength and who knows what tomorrow may bring forth.

As an overcomer we must continue no matter the results, be it success or failure. Your failure does not weaken Christ. He will forgive you and cause that this fall will be used to strengthen you against a similar failure. Do not rely on past victories for future victory. Always rely on God alone. Rest on the Lord constantly. Let your desire be Gal. 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live in faith in the Son of God, who loved and gave Himself for me”.

Thanks be to God Almighty who always stand by us no matter the situation and who always give us victory. God is our strength always.

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