Spiritual warfare exists in our world. All around us is the invisible world where Satan’s minions battle against the angels of God for preeminence. Sometimes, we know what’s going on because we’re struggling against opposition, too.
As our church nears time for the first revival week we’ve had in several years, things are heating up in the spiritual realm. Satan likes our church to be happy with the status quo. He doesn’t like the idea of people knocking doors, inviting neighbors to church services and blanketing a community with information about a guest speaker.
Several stories in the Old Testament illustrate this battle – and the faces of the players- quite dramatically. One such story is found in Exodus chapter 17.
Then came Amalek and fought with Israel in Rephidim – Exodus 17:8
Israel is traveling toward the land God promised to the seed of Abraham. Things hadn’t been too great. There was no food. There was no water. Lots of complaining was happening.
It was the perfect time for Satan to attack God’s people. They weren’t focusing on claiming the promise of God. Instead, their minds were filled with worrying about their physical problems.
In fact, if you look at Exodus 17:7, you’ll notice that Israel “tempted” the Lord by doubting his presence with them.
Satan can always find someone to fight on his side. Sometimes he can find them inside God’s own camp.
The Battle General
So Joshua…fought with Amalek- Exodus 17:10
Moses sent Joshua to gather choice men and fight against the enemy. Moses had a plan, but he didn’t divulge all of it to the general.
This didn’t stop Joshua from doing what he knew best – fighting for the Lord.
Sometimes we don’t follow our leader very well. We think our idea is better.
God puts men in positions of leadership. And we’re supposed to follow their direction.
A clear chain of command is apparent in these verses. God promised Moses victory as long as Joshua and his men would fight and Moses kept the rod raised toward God.
Joshua didn’t need to know all the details. He saw the enemy. He had a sword. He led his men into harm’s way at the command of his leader.
If you’re the general, lead on. If you’re a foot soldier, follow your general into the fray with your sword at the ready.
The Position of God’s Man
Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. Exodus 17:10-11
Moses climbed to the top of a hill overlooking the battlefield. His only job was to raise his rod toward Heaven. As long as he held it up, Israel won the battle.
His arms got tired. When he let them down, the enemy started winning.
A spiritual battle isn’t a three-minute boxing round. It’s a seven-day marathon of constant conflict. Satan is tenacious.
In order to win, God’s men (especially pastors, but fathers are often in this position for the members of their household) must not let down their guard. They must keep their hands lifted toward their salvation.
To me, this pictures prayer. Prayer is the greatest weapon in our spiritual arsenal. Think it’s not a weapon? Check out Ephesians 6. You know, where Paul lists the spiritual armor we need. Verse 18 says, “praying always.”
Prayer is an imperative in spiritual warfare. And God’s men need to be the ones making tireless petitions.
The Importance of Holding Up
Moses couldn’t hold up on his own. Neither can the strongest among us today.
That’s why he took his brothers with him to the hilltop. Aaron is his older brother and the first high priest of Israel. Hur was the husband of Moses’ sister Miriam.
Aaron and Hur might not have held a sword during this battle, but their part was just as important (if not more essential) than that of Joshua and his soldiers.
Moses’ hands were heavy…and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” Exodus 17:12
Aaron and Hur didn’t let Moses down. They stayed with him and held his heavy arms.
We don’t know how long Moses held the rod up on his own, but we do know he held it up all day long.
Have you ever tried this? If you did, you didn’t hold your arms up for more than ten or fifteen minutes before they started aching. Then your fingers tingled because the blood wasn’t reaching them. Burning in your shoulders made you check for flames.
Moses couldn’t fight this battle on his own. And neither can we. All of us need other believers to climb the hill and stand beside us during our battles.
That won’t be enough. These brothers (or sisters) will need to hold our hands up when we get too weak to do it ourselves.
For all Joshua’s swordplay and Moses’ intercession, if Aaron and Hur hadn’t been willing and able to bolster their leader, the battle would have been lost.
The faces of spiritual warfare:
- Satan wants to see us lose and will fight us using any means possible
- Some people need to pick up their swords and fight Satan hand to hand
- Pastors and fathers need to fight from their knees, praying for God’s intercession
- Faithful brothers and sisters must come alongside their leaders and hold them up through whatever means necessary until the battle is won
Life is a spiritual battlefield? Which face of spiritual warfare are you seeing today? Step us with your sword, your prayers or your help. Don’t let the devil win.
Next Week: Three Ways Satan Fights Revival