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Exodus 17:8-16, Amalek Attacks Israel and is Defeated

Saturday, June 2

God Wins the Battle

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Moses' staff

The Israelites, recently freed from slavery in Egypt, were still a weak and vulnerable people. They had not governed themselves for generations. They were not trained for war. They were not educated. When neighboring countries decided to attack, they were quite vulnerable to defeat. 

But God knew this. God had plans to prepare them for war so that one day they would be able to defeat Canaan and live in the promised land of milk and honey. But today was not yet that day. When Amalek attacked, it was only by the power of God they would prevail. God instructed Moses to lift his staff -- as long as his staff was raised, Israel would win. But it was a long battle, and Moses was only human. His brother and friend stood beside him, helping him hold up his arms until the battle was finally won. One day they would be ready for war. In the meantime, these small battles helped prepare them for the one that would count.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Exodus 17:8-16

Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some men for us and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the sun set. And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the sword. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a reminder in a book and recite it in the hearing of Joshua: I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called it, The Lord is my banner. He said, “A hand upon the banner of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”