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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

The First Battle - October 15, 2006


Exodus Seventeen

Sermon of the Week #200641 – October 15, 2006

The first battle of the first war Israel ever fought begins with these ominous words, “Then came Amalek.” The Amalekites were a cousin tribe of Israel. Amalek was the grandson of Esau. Esau and Jacob did not get along too well together, and their descendants did not get along either—then came Amalek.

Israel had escaped from Egypt when the waters of the Red Sea were parted and they passed over on dry ground; or as Paul says in Corinthians, “They were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual food; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them: and the Rock was Christ.” Moses struck the rock with his rod at Rephidim, and water came out, and then the First Battle began.

Is it not true with us today? When we became Christians, believing in Christ who died to save us, repenting of sins, passing through the waters of baptism for the remission of sins, and then the battle begins. Then came Amalek.

Moses, in his farewell address, reminded Israel that Amalek had attacked the old, infirmed, and weak stragglers first. Later on when King Saul fell on his sword and tried to kill himself, it was an Amalekite that came by and finished him off. It was an Amalekite that hatched the plot to kill all the Jews in the world in the days of Queen Esther. Even the Apostle Peter became fair game for his Amalekite when he lagged behind and followed Jesus afar off and denied three times that he even knew Jesus. Those in the Church today, who lag behind in their prayer, reading of the Word, and attendance for worship, are fair game for Amalek.

Moses told Joshua, “Choose us out men and go out and fight Amalek and tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” Moses did not go to the top of the hill alone. He took with him Aaron his brother, and he also took Hur who may have been his brother-in- law.

Now there stands Moses, Aaron and Hur. When Moses held up the rod of God in his hands, probably somewhat like a bar bell raised overhead, Joshua prevailed; whenever he put his hand down Amalek prevailed. The rod was the same rod Moses used just before when he struck the rock and brought forth water.

When Israel saw the rod lifted high they knew they had tapped into the power of God. When he put the rod down their faith wavered and Amalek prevailed.

A remedy for the situation had to be provided. So they took a stone and Moses sat on it, and Aaron stood on one side, and Hur stood on the other. They steadied the hands of Moses until the going down of the sun. In this manner, Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Moses stood on top of the mountain with the rod of God interceding for the people, as Joshua fought in the valley. It took two weapons to win the battle, prayer on the hill, and the sword below. This is true with us also as soldiers of the cross.

There are three things in this account that gave Israel victory over Amalek: first, the rod uplifted in the hands of Moses at the top of the hill; second, the sword of Joshua down below; third, the stone where Moses sat. These three things will provide victory today in our battle with Amalek. Remember the Apostle Paul tells us, “Stand fast in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Then he said, “Take up the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God with all prayer and supplication, praying at all seasons for all the saints.” These are the super weapons of God. Consider the weapon of prayer.


Consider prayer as a super weapon because the lifting up of the hands is suggestive that Moses was praying. Up lifted hands in Scripture is a sign of prayer. Paul told Timothy, “I desire that all men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and disputing.” And in Psalms 28:2, “Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry unto Thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.” We must do the same. Pray while the battle is going on. Do not wait until after the battle. When you are tempted in any way, start praying right then, don’t wait. When an immoral thought comes to mind, pray, don’t wait. When tempted to cheat, pray; don’t wait. When tempted to be selfish as the offering plate is being passed, pray; don’t wait. For maximum efAfect, prayer should always be used while the battle is going on. Don’t wait; pray!

Jesus had much to say about prayer. He spake a parable unto them to the end that they all ought always to pray. Jesus said there are many things to pray about, “Pray the Lord of the harvest that He send forth laborers into His Harvest.” Pray that prayer now. Don’t wait, pray. The crying need today is more and more, the Lord will send into the fields that are white unto harvest. When Jesus chose the Apostles He went up into a mountain and prayed all night. Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptations, the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is week. Pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee. James says, “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much in its working.” Paul tells us, “Pray without ceasing.”


The sword is the other weapon. Paul tells us in Ephesians, “Take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” We are reminded in Hebrews, “The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword.” Victory in the Christian life comes by prayer, and by the sword of the Word of God.

In Revelation the first chapter the Apostle John saw a vision of the glorified Christ, and part of the description shows Jesus with a two-edged sword proceeding out of His mouth. The Word of God is a sword, and it is appropriate that the sword was in His mouth. It is the preaching of the Word of God that Jesus included in the Great Commission, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”

When Jesus wrote to the church at Pergamos in Revelation concerning their need to repent, He said, “Repent or else I will come and war against them with the sword of My mouth.” The sword of His mouth is the weapon that will be used on the Day of Judgment. Jesus said in John twelve, “He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him at the last day.”

In Revelation nineteen there is another picture of Jesus coming in judgment, and again there is a sword proceeding out of His mouth. This time the use of the sword is more explicit. John says, “With it He should smite the nations, and rule them with a rod of iron.”

Prayer and the sword are two mighty weapons. Paul tells us in Second Corinthians, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Jesus Christ.” The sword of the Spirit is a powerful weapon, but it does not have any power if it is left in the scabbard. It must be drawn out daily by every Christian.


Notice now how it says that Moses sat on a stone. Moses could not hold up his hands indefinitely, and he put the rod down. God knew that Moses couldn’t do it alone. He was aware that Moses would need help. That is why Moses would instruct those two worthies,Aaron stand thou on my right hand, Hur stand thou on my left.

That is very suggestive. The stone is always a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Matthew 21 Jesus said, “The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner.” Paul says in Ephesians, “The Church is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.” Peter referred to the prophecy in Isaiah 28, “Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious stone, a sure foundation.” Peter said, “To some it was a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence, for they stumble at the word being disobedient.

These are the prophesied qualities of the Lord and His Church. The Lord and His Church are tried, precious, and sure. The Apostle Peter tells us in his first epistle, “If ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious, unto whom coming, a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, and precious, ye also as living stones, are built up a spiritual house.” According to the prophecy of Isaiah, the stone is tried.

The Scripture is filled with the trials of Jesus and His Church. Jesus Himself was tried by the Devil, among other places, in the wilderness of temptation. He was led out into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. The Devil tried the stone and Jesus did not break. The Devil departed from Him for a season and returned many times, and always the same, the Stone did not break.

Not only was the Lord tried by the Devil, He was also tried by man. They said to Him in the closing days of His ministry, “By what authority doest thou these things, and who gave thee this authority?” Many and varied were the trials, “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar? Whose wife shall she be? What is the greatest commandment in the law? Show us a sign from heaven. How then doth He now say I am come down out of heaven? How can he give us His flesh to eat? Art thou the King of the Jews? What is truth? How can a man be born again when he is old?” On and on, the questions came throughout His ministry. Jesus was thoroughly tried by men.

Not only was He tried by the Devil and man, the Heavenly Father tried him. On the cross Jesus said, “My God: My God! Why hast thou forsaken Me?” The stone was a tried stone.

Not only was the stone a tried stone, but it was also a precious stone. Isaiah said it was a precious cornerstone and Peter called it a stone elect and precious.

Under normal circumstances we take water for granted. It is as near to us as the turn of the tap. But to a person on the desert with no prospects of getting more, his canteen full of water is more precious than gold. He will not wish to waste a drop. Jesus, who gives the water of life, must be recognized as the most precious thing in our lives. Peter told the council at Jerusalem when they were being tried for healing the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, “There is therefore now no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Jesus is our only hope. The Stone is precious.

The stone was also a sure foundation. Paul told Timothy, “Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth sure.” The Lord knoweth them that are His, let everyone that nameth the name of the Lord Jesus depart from iniquity.

Remember Peter said, “Ye also are living stones, built up a spiritual house.” And again Paul tells us in Ephesians that we are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints and the household of God, built upon the foundation of Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ, Himself being the chief cornerstone. All Christians are a part of the rock, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Jesus gives the best plan for a life when He tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, “Everyone that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them shall be likened unto a wise man who built his house upon the rock. And the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon the rock. And everyone that heareth these words of mine and doeth them not is like unto a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. And the floods came and the winds blew and beat upon that house and it fell and great was the fall thereof.”

The stone is sure, and we are sure. We are just as sure as the Lord is sure. We stand or fall in Christ. Our salvation is just as sure and solid as the Rock of Ages. The stone is tried, precious, and sure.

Jesus told the chief priest after the Triumphal Entry that the stone that the builders rejected, the same was made the head of the corner. Whoever falls on this stone shall be broken in pieces, and on whomever it falls it will scatter him as dust.

Those who are a part of the stone elect and precious are indestructible and those who are not shall be ground as powder and scattered as dust. To those who are not a part of the stone Peter has a word of warning in the eighth verse of First Peter, chapter one. He refers to the stone of stumbling and the rock of offence. He further states they stumble at the word. Many have stumbled over the stone.

To many that stone is a rock of offence. I know of no place where people stumble at the Word and trip over the rock of offence as much as at the point of how to be saved. Peter said on the Day of Pentecost to those who inquired, “What shall we do?” “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Luke tells us in Acts the eighth chapter of an example of how a baptism was performed, “They went down into the water ... they came up out of the water.” In spite of the clarity of God’s Word, many there are who stumble at the Word, and trip up on the rock of offence. The stone is tried, precious, and sure. Jesus said, “And upon this rock I will build My Church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”


When the battle was over, God made a promise to Moses that He would put out the remembrance of Amalek from under Heaven, but before that happened God would have war with Amalek from generation to generation. It was not Israel that would have war with Amalek—the battle is the Lord’s. Moses made an altar to this event and called the name of that altar Jehovah-nis-si, which means The Lord is our Banner.

Is it not true that the Lord is still having war with our Amalek today? There is an Amalek that wars against the people of the Lord from generation to generation. But the day will come when the Lord will put the remembrance of our Amalek from under Heaven.

We read about it in the Word of God in several places. In Matthew we read, “Depart from Me ye cursed into the eternal fire which is prepared for the Devil and his angels….These shall go away into eternal punishment.” In Revelation such words are used as, “And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.” Our Amalek will be put out of our remembrance.

But until that day, God still uses us in the battle as we march on under the Banner of Jehovah-nis-si. The Lord is our Banner.

There’s a royal banner given for display to the soldiers of the
As an ensign fair we lift it up today, and as ransomed ones we
Over land and sea wherever man may dwell make the glorious
tidings known.
Of the crimson banner now the story tell while the Lord
shall claim His own.

Marching on, marching on for Christ count every thing but loss.

And to crown Him King we will toil and sing beneath the Banner
of the Cross.

Jehovah nis-si: the Lord is our Banner.