Exodus Chapter 17 Water from the Rock and the Amalekites Defeated

Oct 24, 2012  |  Exodus, Old Testament  |  No Comments

Exodus Chapter 17 Water from the Rock and the Amalekites Defeated

Water from the Rock

Exodus 17:1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, by stages, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink.

Exodus 17:2 Therefore, the people chided Moses, and said, “Give us water, that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you chide me? Why do you tempt the LORD?”

Once again, the children of Israel complained and asked Moses why he had brought them to the wilderness to die?

Exodus 17:4 And Moses cried to the LORD, saying, “What shall I do to this people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

Exodus 17:5-6 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. And take your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Exodus 17:7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

God Defeats the Amalekites

The Amalekites came and attacked the children of Israel at Rephidim.

Exodus 17:9 And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.”

So Joshua fought the Amalekites and Moses stood on the top of the hill with Aaron and Hur.  As long as Moses held up the rod, Joshua and his fighters prevailed, but as soon as Moses let the rod down, the Amalekites were winning. So Moses held up the rod and, when his arms grew too tired, Aaron and Hur put a stone under him and held his arms up for him. And so, his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua destroyed Amalek with his sword.

Exodus 17:14 And the LORD said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in a book, and recount it in Joshua’s hearing, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”

Exodus 17:15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it, Jehovahnissi, the LORD is my banner.

Exodus 17:16 For he said, “Because the LORD has sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

Reflections on Exodus Chapter 17

I think one of the problems with the familiarity of the stories of the Old Testament is that we’ve lost some of the wonder of the miracle after miracle God performed. Ho, hum, God provided bread. Ho, hum, God provided water.  Try to think of it as if you’re experiencing it as the children of Israel were.  They were in desperate straits.  They were in the desert with NO WATER.  Hundreds of thousands of people, plus animals and everything they owned. What were they going to do? God provided in a wondrous and miraculous way, enough water for all there needs where there was none. Wow!

The other thing I was thinking about with this passage is the parallel between God providing bread and water to the children of Israel and providing Jesus as the true spiritual bread and water to those who believe. In John 6, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger and he who believes in me will never thirst.” People need food and water to live physically.  What we too often forget is our great spiritual need for spiritual food and water.

How quickly we forget the miracles God does for us. Moments after He delivers us, we question whether He is with us. Remember. Repent. Believe.

The second part of this passage begins the long journey of battles Israel faces. Think about it.  This band of people with no land is attacked by a country of presumably strong warriors.  God protects them as long as Moses is holding up the rod of God. The God part here is clear – only with God is Israel spared certain destruction. What’s interesting is how God makes us partners in the battle. Without God, we can do nothing, but God asks us to do our part as well, whether fighting on the battlefield or holding up the rod of God. God could do it all without us, but He chooses not to. What part is God calling you to do? Are you holding up your end? Make no mistake, there is a brutal war being fought and, if you are a believer, God expects you to participate. Find out what He’s calling you to do and obey.

If you’re against God, including just believing there is no God, beware.  The fate of the Amalekites awaits you if you don’t turn your heart to God.  God desires that all be saved, but He will let you decide. Turn to Him before it’s too late.

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