At that time the children of Israel were camped at Rephidim. Prior to that, they had been under captivity in Egypt. But God resued them by the hand of Moses and promised them a new beginning, a fresh start.
However the Israelites continued to murmur and complain despite God’s visible presence amongst them.
Now while they were camped at Rephidim, their enemy, the Amelekites invaded their camp. The Israelites cried out to Moses for a solution. Moses prayed to God and He gave Moses specific instructions.
Moses had a sidekick called Joshua. Moses instructed him saying, “Have some men ready to attack the Amelekites tomorrow. I will stand on a hilltop, holding this staff that has the power of God.” Joshua nodded and went to do as instructed.
Meanwhile Amon, Joshua’s friend had listened in on their conversation. He pulled Joshua aside and said, “Are you crazy? You better don’t listen to him. Those Amelekites will be the death of you.” Joshua shook his head, “No Amon. Moses is a true servant of God. We’d better do as he says.” Amon hissed and turned away.
Joshua led the attack as Moses had instructed, while Moses, Aaron(Moses’ brother) and Hur stood on the hilltop. Now God had instructed Moses to lift up the staff, for as long as he raised the staff, the Israelites defeated the Amelekites.
Meanwhile Joshua was on the battlefield having the time of his life defeating the Amelekites. He had been terrified at first but He had faith in God and He trusted Moses. The Amelekites were falling on every side. Joshua had tasted victory before but this was different and sweet…
“My hands hurt Aaron. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up…” Moses trembled and his hands faltered. Immediately Hur screamed, “The Amelekites are advancing strongly against our army.” Moses tried to lift up his hands but he was too tired. So the Amelekites began to defeat the army of Israel.
All around Joshua men began to fall. One hit by an arrow, another slashed by a sword… There was chaos as the army of Israel fled before their enemies. Joshua stood in the middle, shocked and confused. He cried out, “Where now is the God of Israel?”
Aaron and Hur were alarmed. They paced while Moses tried to lift tired hands. Suddenly Aaron stopped dead in his tracks. He had an idea! He told Hur and they hurriedly got a rock for Moses to sit on. Then they stood beside him and supported his arms in the same position until sunset.
And that’s how Joshua and the army of Israel defeated the Amelekites.
Afterwards, Moses built an altar and named it, “JEHOVAH NISSI” (THE LORD GIVES ME VICTORY!). Then Moses explained, “This is because I depended on the Lord.”
It’s the fourth day of the long awaited 2017 and I bet a lot of people have recovered from the euphoria of the new year.
The pressure is starting to build, projects to be undertaken and submitted, goals to be achieved, debts to be paid, promises to be kept, exams to write, heights to attain, family to cater for, policies to make, negotiations to make, decisions to be made…. And the clock keeps ticking…
It’s overwhelming and worrisome… But two basic things I learnt from that story is, “This year and everyday, we need to DEPEND solely on God! We need to be led by God. And we need the right circle of friends….” You already know what happened when Moses heard from God. You realize what might have happened if Joshua had listened to Amon, and you see how they won when Aaron and Hur stood by Moses.
“So why don’t you turn to God and start living right? Then He will decide to rescue and restore you to your place of honor.
Your future will be brighter by far than your past.” (Job 8:5-7).
Happy New Year!