Exodus 17

Exodus 17


Exodus 17 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The team was assembled and ready to go! Joshua would lead the army into battle. This is the first we’ve heard of Joshua but, of course, it wouldn’t be the last. His training here on the battlefield would suit him well as he would later lead Israel into the Promised Land in Canaan. In this way, Joshua was being groomed for leadership.

At this point in their history, God was teaching them that by His power, their enemies could be defeated. Israel was anything but a powerful military force by human standards, however, they had the Lord to fight their battles. Joshua would get trained on the practicals of war while also getting trained on the necessity of relying on God.

Many are quick to assume that God had given Moses a “magic wand” but this was not the case. The staff of Moses came to represent God’s personal and powerful involvement in all of Israel’s struggles.  As the warriors looked up to Moses on the hilltop, they would either see his arms outstretched toward the heavens, or drooping with fatigue.

The symbolism is thick. Moses was God’s chosen leader and victory would come through his obedience (and Israel’s submission to him).  The people are fresh off a Moses-bashing party that threatened his life. God reestablished that Moses was his main man.

God also established that the victory would only be found through Him. The warriors could not do it alone – they had to trust the outstretched arms of victory. Isn’t this similar to the way we fight our battles today? In trying times of absolute need, we reach up to the heavens declaring that we cannot do it alone.

Raising your arms is not a prideful show of yourself but a submissive act of giving everything over to Him. In this way, Moses was giving the battle over to the Lord and reminding the people that it was only through His strength that triumph would be felt.

Alongside Moses were Aaron and Hur who helped him to hold his arms even when he had lost his strength. Similarly, we need our church family to lift us up when we lose hope and momentum. Overall, this story is such a great example of how we are not called to fight the battle alone. It was a joint effort that harmoniously credited the Lord with all power and glory. The same should be true for us today.

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