Where’s Jesus in the Defeat of the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16)

We often struggle with the battle images and records in the Scriptures.  We dislike the murder, killing, and genocide and the war we find in the Scriptural story but if we remember that the Bible all points toward Christ and his ministry and work, these parts don’t need to trouble us.  The physical and historical truths they proclaim point to a much larger spiritual reality, which we can be thankful. 

As the Amalekites gather to attack the Israelites Moses lifts us his hands.  This posture illustrates Moses’ intercessory prayer and worship during the battle for the success of the people.  As long as Moses stuck to his ministry of prayer, the battle went well, but when he grew tired, the tides changed.

A similar spiritual lesson can be applied to our personal and corporate lives.  Prayer and worship is the key to the advancement of the Church in the world.  When a body is dedicated to praying and worshipping God, the missionaries that it sends out will be successful in their charge, but when a body quits these vital ministries, the laborers will experience defeat.  This is why Paul instructs the Ephesians to pray after he instructs them to put on the armor of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, (Ephesians 6:18-19)

Prayer is vital to the successful advancement of the Kingdom of God.  But unlike the Israelites who relied on the prayers of Moses, we have a high priest in heaven that is always praying and interceding for us.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

Our victory is assured for unlike Moses who tired and dropped off in his task, we have one who never stops speaking to the Father in our behalf.  And what is better is his Spirit dwells in us and continually prays even when we don’t see it, feel it, or know it.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27)

The defeat of the enemies of God is a sure and certain truth because Christ and his Spirit are greater than Moses, Aaron and Hur.


About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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