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June 30, 2021 10:00 am
Well it was a hot summer of 1787. It was Philadelphia and the constitutional convention had been going on for months. It was seemed hopelessly deadlocked.
In fact, go some of the most prominent delegates had actually gone home and discuss several state delegations were considering doing the same and it was at this moment that Benjamin Franklin rose and spoke the following words and I quote he said in the beginning of our contest with Britain when we were sensible of danger. We had daily prayers in this very room for divine protection. Our prayers were heard.
Franklin said and they were graciously answered and have we now forgotten this powerful friend or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance.
I therefore moves that Franklin that henceforth prayers, imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessing on our deliberations be held by this assembly. Every morning before we proceed to business." You know, historians agree that Franklin's great speech was the turning point of the constitutional convention, which eventually produce the United States Constitution and establish the framework of a great nation in which we live today. But the point that I want us to see is this that when it comes to any crisis when it comes to any battle when it comes to any conflict in life. There are two ways for us to try to handle the first way is our way.
This is a way that's based on our own human wisdom. Our own human strength, our own human resources and this is how the delegates at the constitutional convention had been trying to do it for months and it wasn't working the other way to try to handle problems in battles is to do it God's way and God's way is based.
Instead of hacking it out on our own. If based on looking to God in prayer and relying on his wisdom, his resources and his strength instead of our own. This is the strategy that Benjamin Franklin suggested and as we know, this is the strategy that were not today were going to return to our study of the life of Moses Exodus 17 to be exact wording to see here in Exodus 17 God teaching the Israelites, handle their problems and their battles.
According to the second way that is God's way and then after we see that word in a boiled of principles out of that and bring it all forward and talk about how that's applicable to your life in my life today as followers of Christ. If you brought a Bible, I'd like you to open it to Exodus chapter 17 and if you did not bring a Bible return to the armrests there right next to you. You'll find a copy of the Bible were going to be on page 52 page 52 in our copy. Exodus 17 in your copy while you're turning.
Let me give you a little bit of background. Remember that the Israelites after they crossed the Red Sea they headed south will show your map down towards Mount Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula and they reached a place called graffiti demon Hebrew not far from Mount Sinai in the interior of the Sinai Peninsula. There they ran out of water and Moses took the rod of God the stick to God he been using ever since he went back to face Pharaoh and he struck the rock there that was there and God provided supernatural water for the people to drink to the tune of about 11 million gallons a day.
Now that's where we been so let's pick up Exodus 17 look with me in verse eight it says then the Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at refuting now.
Up to this point, my friends. The Bible has said nothing about any other inhabitants of the Sinai, but there were some folks living out there and one of those groups were the Amalekites know what we know about the Amalekites from history and from archaeology will we know number one that they were descendents of Esau, Genesis 36 tells us that we know number two from archaeology that they were not a well defined nation states, but rather they consisted of a bunch of nomadic tribes spread throughout the Sinai Peninsula and across what we think of today a southern Israel and finally number three.
We know that they were fierce, fighters.
They were a force to be reckoned with. So the Bible tells us that these Amalekites attacked the Israelites at review team but what you need to know is this is not the first time that the Amalekites had been harassing the Israelites. Deuteronomy 25 verse 17 Moses said, remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way. When you came out of Egypt. How is you moved along, they attacked all the stragglers who were faint and weary, and how they had no fear of God. Up to this point the Amalekites had been carrying out guerrilla warfare against the Israelites.
They have been engaging in hit-and-run tactics but instead of attacking the strong people at the front of the March.
They had been picking on the weak people at the end of the March for ladies. The, the sick people, pregnant women, disabled people, children and old people and they had been picking on them.
The people couldn't keep up with the main body they had been attacking them. At the rear of the column.
This was a despicable thing to do, which explains God's great anger against these people and the eternal curse. There were to see him put on them in just a couple minutes here will anyway. The Israelites are now tempted graffiti and for whatever reason, the Amalekites decide to now launch a full frontal attack and so verse nine Moses said to Joshua choose men out choose men and go out and fight the Amalekites and as you do. I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hands.
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses ordered him and Moses and Aaron and her went up to the top of the hill overlooking the battle. Now we all know who Erin is, of course, Aaron is Moses's brother, but this man named her this is the first time is mentioned in the Bible. Josephus, the Jewish historian tells us that he was Moses's brother-in-law that he was married to Miriam Moses his sister.
Is that possible well, sure, and since we don't have any other information will just kind of assume that so this was his brother and his brother-in-law up on the hill within verse 11 and as long as Moses held up his hands with the rod of God.
It is hands the Israelites prevail. But whenever Moses lowered his hands, the Amalekites prevailed. Verse 12 but Moses his hands grew tired when I was in high school. I pledge the fraternity and one of the hazing activities that they use the practice is they would make a stand at attention with our arm stretched straight out and they would put a shoe in each hand and then they would ask us to stand there and hold me shoes for as long as we could, while the other brothers in the fraternity screamed at us at the top of their lungs that we should hold longer, hold longer, don't we dare let our hands drop don't you dare put your hands down, and the you know it was a it didn't last long. I mean if you you know if you think that you can stand like that. A very long time. I have a little exercise to recommend to you when you go home today go in your closet, get out of here shoes standing at attention in front of the mirror.
Hold your arms straight out with a shoe in each hand and see how long you can last if somebody comes in the room and think you lost your mind just told him what Juan told me to do it and it will be fine.
Don't worry about and I guarantee you, you will make it very long. You might think. Take a guess at how long you think you'll make it in and see if you make it that long. I bet you won't will friends Moses was not pledging a fraternity out there on that hill. But what he was trying to do is hold up the rod of God in prayer and petition to God.
And just like me when I was a teenager he could not hold him up all by himself for a long and so verse 12 continues. Then Aaron and her took a stone and they put it under Moses and Moses sat down on it and Aaron and her held his hands up one on one side of them and one on the other side of him, so that Moses his hands remain steady until sunset. How long can this go on up on this hill where the Bible said it went on the sunset 12 hours 14 hours out in the scorching heat of the desert. This was constant, relentless, tenacious prevailing prayer that Moses engaged in up on that hill and the results well. Verse 13 says so Joshua defeated the Amalekites with the edge of the sword and then look what Moses did verse 15 then Moses built an altar there and named it the Lord is my banner literally in Hebrew Jehovah nisi the word Nice in Hebrew literally means a military banner that an army marches on during fights under today we would call it of the colors so to speak, and by building this altar renaming it.
Jehovah nisi the Lord is my banner. Do we understand what Moses was really doing Moses was deliberately and exclusively giving all the glory. All of the honor. All of the credit for the victory. The Israelites and had he was giving it all to God.
He was giving none of the glory to Joshua. None of the glory to Joshua's army. None of the glory to Erin and her none of the glory to himself. He was seeing to it that God got every piece of the glory for that victory. Now before we move on. One other interesting fact. Verse 14 then the Lord said to Moses, write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely block out the memory of Malec from under the sun. This is a judgment that God pronounces on the people of the Amalekites, a judgment pronounced on them because of what they had done to Israel, particularly for attacking the week and the old and the sick and the disabled at the rear of the column.
God set on wiping these people off the face of this earth as a judgment.
They know it's interesting if you're here and you've never trusted Christ as your real and personal Savior. One of the things that may you may have heard as a criticism of the Bible and maybe it's hanging you up. I don't know is that the God of the Old Testament is cruel, the God of the Old Testament was brutal, the God of the Old Testament was capricious and mean and one of the passages. The classic passage that's pointed out in this regard is first Samuel 15 God tells King Saul to go wipe out the Davila village of Amalekites hears what God said. First Samuel 15 36 all go attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything they have put to death their men and their women and their children and their infants and all of their livestock and people will say how in the world could I possibly believe in a God who's this cruel, how could I possibly believe in a God who is this barbaric and this brutal and this mean and capricious. But listen, you have to read the verse that went before this verse two of that chapter. God says this is what the Lord says I will now punish the Amalekites for what they did to the Israelites when they waylaid the Israelites as they came out of Egypt. My point here folks is that God's command to tell King Saul to go annihilate the Amalekites. This was not an act of capricious cruelty on the part of God. Instead, this was the fulfillment of a judgment that God had pronounced against these people. 400 years before for their despicable actions here in Exodus chapter 17 picking on the week that helpless in the disabled and you say will why the world and God wait for hundred years before he carried out his judgment well I don't know right as God when you get to heaven if you really care about it. I don't have the answer to that but folks, I want you to understand if God's orders to Saul here in first Samuel 15 were based on arbitrary meanness and cruelty and barbaric name is a barbaric treatment of these people then you know what, I couldn't follow this God either friends if his command to King Saul. Here was simply the carrying out of a righteous judgment against these people for what their own actions have brought on them than you know what I'm good with good with and you need to be good with that too. God is not a barbaric God.
God is not a cruel God and God is not a God that practices capricious meanness, but God is a righteous God, and God is a holy God. And when he pronounces judgment and carries it out. That is his sovereign right and that's what he did in first Samuel 15.
He did not engage in capricious cruelty. He carried out judgment for people who deserve some to think about.
Well, that's the end of our passage for today, so it's time now for us to ask our most important question in you know what that question is are you ready sure all right here we go nice loud 123 of the Ceylon all right I hear everything you said makes sense. God bless you for your what difference is any of this make to me when I walk out of my house tomorrow morning to go to work to go to school will talk about. You see friends, I believe, just like the Israelites here in Exodus chapter 17 I believe is followers of Christ, we often find ourselves in battles. This is why is a matter of fact, the apostle Paul referred to the Christian life as a fight. He said second Timothy chapter 4, he said, I have fought the good fight. He says in first Timothy chapter 6 to Timothy.
He says Timothy fight the good fight of faith and in first Corinthians chapter 9. The apostle Paul compared the Christian life to a boxing match, and I don't know about you but I tend to coming to church every single weekend feeling like I'm coming from the front lines of an all-out war in the week behind me and maybe you're a lot like I am.
Maybe you walked in here every weekend and you feel like you're coming out about maybe you been fighting all week with your sinful human nature, or maybe we been fighting all week with some besetting sin trying to keep it where belong, so that we can stand for Christ to live for Christ.
Or maybe we been fighting all week against an unbelieving husband or an unbelieving wife and their influence or unbelieving parents, unbelieving coworkers or friends at school. Maybe we been fighting all week against an enemy at work or neighbor or someone at school or in our family was just flat out to get us. I don't know but listen, the Christian life is a fight with Paul said it's a battle and God has a strategy for how he wants us to fight the battles in the Christian life is the very same strategy that Moses used here in Exodus 17 is the very same strategy that Benjamin Franklin suggested to the constitutional convention and the best part about it. My friends is that it is a strategy that will work. There's three parts to it. Moses demonstrated them all. In Exodus 17 would be shown to you and my challenge to you is take these three principles and fight your battles. This way number one. Principle number one for fighting our battles.
God's way is total dependence on God and not ourselves that you remember when Moses went up on that hill. What he took with it. He took with them the rod of God.
You remember that the staff the stick. Now this was the rod that had turned the Nile River red with blood. You remember that this was the rod that it turned into a snake on the ground and eaten up the snakes of Pharaoh. This is the rod that it opened the Red Sea.
This is the rod that it closed and back again.
On top of Pharaoh's chariots. This is the rod that Moses had just used a hit that rock and bring water out for all the people, folks, this rod was a symbol. It was a symbol of God's prior victories and of the power of God that he had displayed in giving victory to the Israelites and by raising this rod up on the hill. Moses was trying to send a message to those soldiers down in the valley. Those Israelites he was trying to send them a message that don't trust yourself down there in the valley trust the same God who is given you all these victories that you seen this rod produce results. Make sure we understand there was no magic in this rod. Let's make sure we understand there was no magic in raising this rod up when it was raised up. Remember they were winning when it went down they were losing. There was no magic in raising up this rod. The power didn't come from the rod being up in the air.
The power came from the Israelites down in the valley taking up the challenge to trust God totally and utterly for their victory instead of trusting themselves. Psalm 20 Oliver Davidson. He said some trust in horses and some trust in chariots, but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God, the former group has bow down and fall in the one whose trust in horses and chariots, but we trust in God have risen up and stand firm.
You Ceylon you is in the sum, balance here, I mean, are you saying that whatever battle were in we don't do anything. We just stand around and trust God know the note. Listen here is a balance. Sometimes in our battles as Christians sometimes God will ask us to stand still and know that he is God.
Sometimes God will ask us to set out to do absolutely nothing and let God do it all for us. For example, like he did at the Red Sea for the Israelites, like he did for Daniel in the lion's den like he did for Daniels three friends in the fiery furnace like he did for the apostle Paul in the jail at Philippi and you know in those times it's easy to trust God. 100% because I and arch and ourselves 0% because were not doing anything anyway. But there are other times where God will ask us to do to take some human action in our own defense to use horses and chariots.
As David refers to, just like here in Exodus 17 God asked Joshua to go on out and fight, just like a Gideon. He asked Gideon to do the same thing. He asked Esther to go in and see the king and plead for people but the secret is listen. Even in those situations where God draws ask us to do something human to assist him in winning the battle. The secret is that you and I look past those human things were doing and we still rely on God. 100%. We don't trust the human things were doing it all even though were doing him but were trusting God 100% to use those things and the victory is still based in God not in us. You understand what I'm saying. Remember when David went out to face Goliath. You remember that story. King Saul called the men put all his armor on. Remember that what is a helmet on David his breastplate on David his leg guards on David his chain mail on David is the goal sort on David, you know David did. Don't you he took it all off. I guess he figured a if this had to help Saul go out there and be Goliath well I wanted for make sense to me. David understood he didn't need all this human armor. He didn't need all this human weaponry. He just needed to walk out there with a simple trial like childlike trust in the living God. And that's what he did and God gave him the victory. I love what do Proverbs 21 says the horses prepared for the day of battle, and sometimes you have to use the horse with the victory comes from the Lord.
Folks just like David, we are often constantly challenged as people as followers of Christ to put on Saul's armor. We are constantly being tempted to trust human weaponry in our battles instead of trusting the living God alone you say what you mean by that. What I mean is we often end up trying to trust our education or our physical strength or what our money can bias or our human charisma to win our battles. We often are tempted to trust our human power unit on the phone and wait around to win our battles were often tempted to trust our human contacts. It's not what you know, it's who you know to win our battles or statesmanship durability or salesmanship ability or our own human logic, but folks listen God may use these things in giving you the victory. Sometimes, but the key point is for us to remember to look past these things and remember that it is not these things that are giving us the victory even if are using them.
It is God himself who is still responsible for the victory. The horses prepared for the day of battle at the victory still comes from the Lord.
Principle number two is prevailing prayer, you know, Moses went up on that hill and he raised up the rod of God is a symbol of trusting God 100%, but he also raised up the rod of God is another symbol as a symbol of prevailing prayer, fervent prayer, and as we saw in Exodus 17 when the rod was a and the prayer was going on. The Israelites were winning when the prayer stopped.
The Israelites stopped winning the point. God's trying to get us to see in Exodus 17 is the prayer was more central to their victory that all the swords down in the valley were and let me tell you why this is friends it's because as followers of Christ, we are not in a physical battle. We are in a spiritual battle. The Bible makes that clear that our battle is not against flesh and blood.
Paul says in Ephesians 6, but against spiritual wickedness in high places against Satan himself and the forces of evil that he commands and listen. Satan was in this a situation in Exodus 17 he was behind the Amalekites trying to destroy the Israelites. Is that why would Satan even care. Listen folks because if there are no Israelites, there can be no Messiah. If there's no Messiah.
There was no cross if there's no cross. Then there is no redemption there is no plan of salvation.
There's no eternal life. There is no forgiveness of sin. This was a spiritual battle on physical battle. Moses understood that.
And Moses understood that the spiritual battle that was really happening here was being fought in the heavenly places, not down in the valley and Moses also understood that as any battle goes in the heavenly places. That's how the battle goes on her and say what I'm saying friend mom. I wondered if you've learned that in your Christian life with your battles folks at the victory down here on earth comes from victory in the heavenly places. First, by prayer, the victory in the Valley comes from victory on the hill. The victory on our feet comes from victory on our knees.
The victories here on earth are merely out workings of victories we have one in the heavenly places by prevailing prayer and so my challenge to you is don't try to win your victories on your feet when you victories on your knees because that's where the real battle is folks. You win the victory in the heavenly places.
Don't worry about the earth the earth the victory on earth will happen and so how is your prayer life when it comes to the battles that you face in her enemy ask further how is your prayer life or McLean Bible church on the word army here on a mission to reach Washington DC for the Lord Jesus Christ is an enormous battle going on in the heavenly places. Right around this church and what were trying to do in this town and I'm wondering how many of us spent five minutes last week, praying in prevailing prayer for the ministry of this church raising up the rod for the ministry of this church, you know, we gave you when we walk when you walk in the day of prayer booklet.
Usually it's 31 days of prayer.
We picked the mantra month of March, but we've actually got 39 days of prayer because were going to go all the way up to Easter, which is in the very beginning of April, and the purpose of giving you this is to call this church together to corporate prevailing prayer for the ministry of this church to call us together to prayer than wins in the heavenly then winning here on earth is not a problem and you salon. I'm confused. You keep using the term prevailing prayer.
What you really mean by that friends prevailing prayer means having a prayer life that is constant. That is ongoing. That is, regular that is systematic that is tenacious that is relentless.
That is steadfast that is immovable.
You got the idea right you got the idea and I beg you to take this booklet and for the next 39 days to really unite together as a church family and prevailing prayer for this church and I urge you to become a person of prevailing prayer in your life for the battles and the crises that you face in life. Remember if you win the battle on your knees in the heavenly places here on earth. It's just a mop trust principle number three and finally and Moses did this to is making sure that God alone gets all the glory. This was the whole point of Moses building that alters soon as they had won the victory and folks if we as followers of Christ.
Want to see great victories from God in our lives. We have to have the same kind of commitment and Moses had a commitment to make sure that God gets all the credit all the glory. Every bit of it goes to him. Folks there must be no alters to cells in our life. There must be no alters to man in our life, not just outwardly but even inwardly in the secret recesses of our soul when we look at our victories, our souls got to rise up and say none of this was because of me and I don't deserve the credit for any of this, Lord Jesus. It all belongs to you. Not 5%.
Nothing belongs to me. God, then even take 5% you God and I know that this is why God refused to give Gideon the victory till he got down to 300 men. Why, because God wanted to make sure when they got the victory he got the credit.
This is why if you're smart as a follower of Christ that I'm smart will make one of our life versus Psalm 115 verse one. What is it say it says not to us, oh Lord, not to us but to your own name. Give glory level data vetoes are said he said God is jealous of his glory and he will not share his glory with another if you're serving the Lord with your life and yet slyly you're hoping to get just a little 5% commission on the glory. Then look out, it will chill the power of God in your spirit. We must determine closer says that we will never take any of the glory, but rather we will see to it that God alone gets it all." And he's right. So let's conclude God is given us a battle plan for fighting the battles the crises the issues in our life as followers of Christ. It's a battle plan that is been used by every great saint in the Bible.
Check it out. It's a Bible plan the thousands of Christians down through the centuries have used and have tested and have found it to be good and he is based on three principles number one total dependence upon God in our battle for victory and not ourselves. Even if God asks us to use some human means we don't trust them. We trust God number two prevailing prayer that wins the battle first in the heavenly places than the battle on earth is easy, and finally number three a commitment to making sure that God gets all the glory from the victory folks until God stops being God, which is never going to happen.
I'm telling you this plan is guaranteed to work.
It may not work as fast as you want to work but it will work if you stick to it and I I pray that God will help you start fight your battles different tomorrow morning as you leave your house and go out to work to school wherever you go. You fight your battles like this and I'm telling you, you will see God work in those situations, but spring or thanks for talking to us about practicality. Paul wasn't kidding when he said the Christian life is a fight Lord Jesus. Whatever kinds of fights we all have here remind us that the very same battle plan works. Help us to use it this week and for the rest of our lives. Lord help us trust you that in your perfect timing. If we use this plan you will give us victory in every battle that we face.
So Lord Jesus change our lives change the way we live in the way we react to life because we were here today and we studied the written and holy word of God and we pray these things in Jesus name. And God's people said what you say and