Introduction: Exodus 17 closes with Moses giving God instead of Joshua the glory for the victory over Israel’s foe Amalek. Such thankfulness is the fruit of God’s work in Moses’ life, patiently growing Moses over many years of barren disappointment and desert trials. How far Moses has come compared to the unwilling, cowardly Moses of Exodus 4:10-14 who almost refused to stand against Pharoah as Israel’s deliverer! Now as he raises the rod of God in prayer (v. 9) and then worship (v.15), Moses is a great encouragement to us to pause in the midst of our busy lives and to review with this mighty prophet how far the LORD has brought His people and how far He brings us. As hymn # 605 puts it:
All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.
Monday: read Exodus 17:8-9, 15-16 and Ephesians 6:10-12. Where does our victory lie when we face opposition from a world at odds with God? We are not to turn to personal vengeance or to the kind of dramatic protests that are so common in the news right now. It is not the force of our personal or political agendas that will win the day. Only prayer will avail. The battle we face is spiritual. Just as the Amalekites in their hatred represent Satan in his enmity to Christ, so in our day eruptions of wickedness have a spiritual root. To paraphrase Paul: “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly places”.
Meditate and Pray: Use hymn # 574 to remind yourself of the spiritual nature of our warfare and the certainty of victory through Jesus Christ, noting how Jesus Himself speaks to us in verse 4:
Christian, dost thou see them on the holy ground, How the powers of darkness rage thy steps around? Christian, up and smite them, counting gain but loss, In the strength that cometh by the holy cross.
Christian, dost thou feel them, how they work within, Striving, tempting, luring, goading into sin? Christian, never tremble; never be downcast; Gird thee for the battle, watch and pray and fast.
Christian, dost thou hear them, how they speak thee fair? “Always fast and vigil? Always watch and prayer?” Christian, answer boldly: “While I breathe I pray!” Peace shall follow battle, night shall end in day.
“Well I know thy trouble, O my servant true;
Thou art very weary, I was weary, too; But that toil shall make thee some day all Mine own,
At the end of sorrow shall be near my throne.”
Tuesday: read Exodus 17:8-9, 15-16 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Moses knows the spiritual nature of the enemy. He does not seek human wisdom or cleverness to outwit the foe. He does not start an arms race with Amalek or seek to acquire chariots (such as the Egyptians used). But neither does he retreat with a cowardly desire for “peace at all costs”! No! Instead, he seeks deeper communion with God as the only effective weapon against the Amalekites. The rod of God raised in Exodus 17:9 is no magic trick! It is the visible tool by which Moses’ faith uses the weapon of all prayer. Such weapons, as Paul promises us in 2 Corinthians 10: 4-5, are indeed, “… mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”. (NKJV)
Weds/Thurs: read Exodus 18:1-8, Malachi 3:16-18 and Revelation 13:8. After explaining how his family separated from him during the dangerous conflict with Pharoah in Egypt (Ex. 18:2-4), and then how they were reunited through the visit of his father-in-law Jethro (Ex. 18:5), Moses gives all glory to the LORD, recounting to Jethro the work of salvation which the LORD accomplished (Exodus 18:8)! What a privilege when God’s Spirit reminds us of all the LORD has done for us and gives us opportunity to share that with our fellow believers!
Three lessons to reflect on:
- Is there anything sweeter than meeting a long-lost loved one in the LORD and sharing how much God has accomplished in each of our lives? Malachi speaks about the sweetness of this kind of fellowship, which we should strive for and treasure, in Malachi 3:16. Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. May the LORD give us that kind of fellowship one with the other.
- On the other hand, is there anything more terrible than the fate of the Amalekites whose names were written down in Exodus 17:14 in their own “scroll (or book) of remembrance”? Their names would become a monument to God’s judgment not to saving mercy!
- Finally, what joy should be ours when we appreciate how God “writes down our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life” in Revelation 13:8! What security! What joy! What a glorious destiny!
Meditate and Pray: Sing about the great privilege of having your name written down in saving characters of blood, using hymn # 463:
A debtor to mercy alone, of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on, my person and off’ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God with me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood hide all my transgressions from view.
The work which His goodness began, the arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen, and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now, nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo, or sever my soul from His love.
My name from the palms of His hands eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains, in marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure, the glorified spirits in Heav’n.
Friday: read Exodus 18:1-9. The gratitude which Moses shares with Jethro is proof that God has transformed Moses’ life from doubt, fear and ungrateful cowardice in Exodus 4:10-14 to strong faith in God’s mighty ways. Look at the names of Moses’ sons in Exodus 18:3-4. Though he expresses his own loneliness and disappointment in life in the naming of his eldest son Gershom (Exodus 18:3), his faith is renewed in the birth of his second son, whose name Eliezer points to God’s saving help during the Exodus from Egypt.
Such ripe and mature gratitude on Moses’ part is contagious! Jethro hears Moses’ report and expresses himself in terms of joy and delight in Exodus 18:9! May we likewise edify each other by giving God all credit to God for the blessings of our lives! May our loved ones come to appreciate our testimony and witness, and join us in heartfelt faith and worship! This is my prayer for you, dear believer and reader of these Bible notes. My prayer for you is that of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:9-14:
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
(For an excellent sermon on Colossians `1:9-14, see B.B. Warfield in his book Faith and Life, in an article entitled ‘The Inheritance of the Saints in Light’.)