War with Amalek

Exodus 17: 8-16

Note the sequence of events here.

Israel journeyed from the 1) first gathering of the manna to the 2) first refreshing draught from the smitten rock. Then they went on to meet the 3) first enemy and to fight their 4) first battle as the Lord’s redeemed people.

This is a perfect picture of the experience of a child of God.

First he appropriates Christ. He eats the manna or the Bread of life.

Secondly, because of the smiting of the Lord Jesus, he receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, a draught of living water.

Thirdly, a strange conflict is experienced, something hitherto unknown.

Galatians 5:17 describes this.

“The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other.”

Amalek in the Old Testament is a type of the flesh.

Amalek was a close relative of Israel.

The Amalekites were the descendants of Esau, who was Jacob’s brother.

They came forth to impede the progress of Israel and to fight against him.

In Exodus there is a wonderful variety and a comprehensive range of Biblical teachings.

Its characters and leading events foreshadow that which is spiritual and divine.

Moses is a type of Christ.

Pharaoh of Satan.

Egypt of the world.

Israel groaning in bondage pictures the sinner in his misery.

Israel delivered speaks of our redemption.

Their journey across the desert points to the path of faith and trial which we are called to walk.

Now we see in the conflict with Amalek, the conflict between two natures of the believers.

There is always the desire of the flesh to impede spiritual progress and to engage in a continuous struggle for supremacy.

The first confrontation was a head-on fight. Later Amalek’s tactics changed.

Amalek’s tactics to achieve this end were subtle and cowardly.

“He laid in wait for him in the way.”

“He set upon the feeble, the faint and weary, first.”

“The hindmost of the host became his prey.” 1 Samuel 15:2.

Those who were furthest away from their leaders.

To know these things is basic for our spiritual survival.

Let us look at the filthy flesh so that we can recognize it.

Galatians 5:16-21 Read.

This horrible list is supplemented by Paul in Ephesians 4:22, 25-29, 31.

When we go down this list, we realize that the flesh was not eradicated at conversion.

It is still with us, and I have been on the road for a long time now and it never lets up in its attacks in one form or another. So long as Israel was in Egypt, no Amalek.

The scriptures describe Amalek, which means warlike, as a people that lick up and as “first among the nations.”

Nations feared Amalek, they were a strong, warlike people, trained in the art of war.

Israel, on the other hand, had just been released from 400 years of slavery.

What did they know of war?

What kind of weapons did they have?

Israel was no match for Amalek.

Whenever a person is born again, the flesh attacks.

The believer, even though he may be mature, is no match for the flesh.

The flesh shall always be with us. We should have “no confidence in it,” make “no provision” for it, “not to yield our members to its service.”

By what means could Israel overcome?

The respective actions of Moses and Joshua reveal the provisions God has made for them and for us to combat the flesh.

1. Israel’s success against Amalek was determined by the uplifted hands of Moses and the rod of God’s power (see v. 11). There were the upper and lower spheres.

The significance of Moses’ attitude is defined in several passages of Scripture. Moses held up the rod—the symbol of God, power of the blood—horns on brazen altar, power of prayer—horn on altar of incense.

The uplifted hands is emblematic of prayer.

“I will therefore pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” 1 Timothy 2:8.

2. Notice that Moses’ hands grew heavy, v. 12.

When his hands grew heavy and his arms dropped, Amalek prevailed in the valley.

So it is in the spiritual warfare, when we fail in prayer, the flesh prevails.

“Men ought always to pray and not to faint.” Luke 18:1

3. Moses was not left to himself in this life and death struggle.

Aaron and Hur supported him, they held up his hands, v. 12.

Moses could never have continued without this support.

A. Aaron and Hur supporting Moses is an illustration of the ministry of Christ in heaven on our behalf.

“He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” Hebrews 7:25. Find grace to help in time of need.

“We have an advocate with the Father.” 1 John 2:2.

B. Then there is the other Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

“He helps our infirmity.” “He Himself makes intercession for us.” Romans 8.

So then the believer has and needs and Advocate within and an Advocate above to prevail against the flesh.

4. The typical picture is complete for us by what is said in v. 13, “And Joshua vanquished Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” This in type shows the believer using the “sword of the word” against his own flesh.

The “sword” here speaks of the Holy Scriptures, Hebrews 4:12.

We cannot fight the flesh by prayer alone. We need the Word of God. Christ used it in temptation, Matthew 3.

The Psalmist said, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee,” Psalm 119:11. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his ways,” etc.

v. 16 “The hand will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

Amalek was not completely eliminated at this time. See 1 Samuel 15:9-15.

King Agag, king of the Amalekites, was spared by Saul.

For this Saul was rejected, lost his kingdom.

Finally he who had spared the Amalekite from the sword was slain by the hand of an Amalekite, 2 Samuel 1:8-10.

The flesh is our enemy within.

The world is our enemy around us.

Then to complicate the matter Paul says that our enemies whom we fight with are not flesh and blood, but principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6, the devil.

The only way to victory over spiritual powers is to put on the armor of God.

The way to victory over the world is not to love it.

The way to victory over the flesh is by prayer and the word.