Nov 8, 2009                               "Water and War in the Wilderness!"  To listen to this Great Message Click "Here"

Sun Am Worship                                       

Text:  Exodus 17:1-16 (King James Version) THEME: Fireproof your Future -!

Subject:  Equipping the Church for the Harvest"

"Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

Exodus 17:1   And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.

Exodus 17:2   Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?

Exodus 17:3   And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
Exodus 17:4   And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.

Exodus 17:5   And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.

Exodus 17:6   Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of theelders 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?

Exodus 17:8   Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.

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

Exodus 17:10   So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

Exodus 17:11   And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

Exodus 17:12   But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; 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 17:13   And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Exodus 17:14   And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

Exodus 17:15   And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:

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


The leader is responsible for the followers to some degree. True, each one has personal responsibility, but ultimately someone must be held responsible and accountable. Also, he is responsible for their care and meeting their needs.



Question: Who is the leader in Exodus 17? Who has led Israel into the wilderness? Is it Moses? Or is it God?  Joshua came face to face with the reality of just who it is in Charge

 

Joshua 5:13   And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?

Joshua 5:14   And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

Joshua 5:15   And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standestis holy. And Joshua did so.

               It is not a question of God Choosing Side's he comes to take over..

If God Be for you who can be against you. He has already determined who he is for.  You didn't choose him He chose YOU.

 

Matthew 22:14   For many are called, but few are chosen.

Why is that Pastor

Jeremiah 7:13   And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;

 

But The people keep blaming Moses for anything that goes wrong. But Moses is just following God like they are. He's a human instrument, and the focal figure in their eyes, He is the one that is in the Lime Light but he's not in charge calling the shots. He is just simply following orders. God is in charge and remember, the One in charge is responsible to meet the needs of the followers.

Moses strikes the Rock, a picture of Jesus, because he is told to. However, 40 years later at the end of their wilderness experience they again need water and they complain to him and it seems to go to his head...maybe their griping got to him...because he takes the reins from God and assumes leadership of the people for a moment, aside from God:
Numbers 20:10-11
10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
God said, because ye have done this, you won't enter into the Promised Land. God takes His types and symbols seriously, and Moses just ruined the beautiful type of the once smitten Savior and Rock, Jesus. This time he was only supposed to speak to the rock. You see, Jesus has already been smitten and died for us, and now, anyone can simply call on the name of the Lord and be saved!

But in Exodus 17 they are just starting out in the wilderness, and Moses is following God as he leads the people. He's just like them in nature, but in his hand is the rod of God, and as he lifts it high among the people they prevail and flourish. He is their pastor, lifting up the words of God and leading them where he himself is being led. So they must lift up his hands...he needs their help!

But they are not behind him; rather, they are considering executing him!
v. 4 Most preachers would say to their desert deacon board at this point: "Gentlemen, I feel called to pursue another ministry at this time!" But Moses brought his burden to the Lord...he didn't quit!

Christian, don't quit on God when something goes wrong. The measure of your character is what it takes to get you to quit.

The devil has a plan to get you out of church and away from God. Will you let him have his way?

God tells Moses to do 2 things:
1. Take up your Rod.
v. 5 This is the same rod [staff] that was given to him when he returned to Egypt to deliver God's people. Now it's his badge and seal. It represents authority and the power of Almighty God. It symbolizes God's Word which we are to lift high and look unto. I hold in my hand today the Rod of God! It represents authority and the power of Almighty God. It's sharper than any two edged sword. The rod which divided the waters at the Red Sea is capable of dividing between soul and spirit...it points at each of us and gets to the heart of the matter.

And the reason I can come today to you and preach clearly, boldly, and without apology is because what I hold in my hand is the infallible, inerrant Word of the only one true Jehovah God! Without this I'm just giving a talk, a lecture. Without this we're all just taking a walk. But with this rod in my hand I can be a leader of people as I am a follower of God, and simply lift high His Words for all of us to look to!

And YOU have the rod of God as well. I think you should carry it with you to church and anywhere else you can. Hold it high if you have it today. This Word says I can Do all things through Christ who Strengthens me. This ward says I am the Head and not the Tail. This word says He will supply all my need according to His riches by Christ Jesus. This word say he gave me Power over all the power of the enemy. This word tell me that I am Healed by his Stripes. This word tell me that I am Made clean and rightious by His Blood. This word tell me that I can overcome by the word of my Testimony and by the blood of the Lamb no= matter what I am going through.. This word tells me He will be the thermostat in the midst of the fire. This word tell me he will put the lions on a diet while I am in the den.

 

Luke 10:19   Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

The first thing God tells Moses to do is to take up the rod... That is what God is telling you and I this morning.

#2. Go to the Rock!
Isn't a rock the last place you'd go to for water? I don't even think you can get ‘hard water' from a rock. You can't get blood from turnips or OJ from a doorknob, and certainly not water from a rock.
v. 6 This isn't just any rock?
1 Corinthians 10:4
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

 

this smitten rock, is a picture of His crucifixion and death on the cross.
Then we have the water gushing out of the rock, a picture of the Holy Spirit given to all those who trust Him for salvation.

The rock is a beautiful picture of Jesus:
Psalms 78:35
And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.
1 Peter 2:6
Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone,
Deuteronomy 32:4
He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
1 Samuel 2:2
There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
2 Samuel 22:2
And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
2 Samuel 22:32
For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
Psalms calls Him the rock of salvation and the rock of refuge.
Isaiah calls Him the rock of strength and the great rock.
Jesus is a rock in a weary land. "Rock of Ages, cleft for me!"

Thank God today that we can have our feet picked up out of the miry clay and we can have our feet set surely on the solid rock, the only foundation on which you can build a successful life, family, and church!

Matthew 16:18   And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:19   And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
To further Illustrate this we have the story of the woman at the well.

 

Ill.—she was an outcast woman, to be seen with her was socially unacceptable. Her reputation was so bad the other ladies in town wouldn't have anything to do with her. So it was when no one else was around that she went to the well to get some water. Her heart was as empty and as thirsty as those water pots she came to fill. But on this day a man would be leaning on the rocks that surrounded that well, waiting for her, to ask her for a drink of water. He was a Jew, and she was a Samaritan and a woman...this didn't jive! But He told her, Lady, if you knew who I was you'd be asking me for a drink of water, and with just a sip you'd never thirst again. It would spring up a well in your heart unto everlasting life. She took that drink and bubbling over ran into town proclaiming Him to be the Christ. Just a few days later He died on the cross, smitten like the rock, and still to this day flows everlasting water from the Rock!

The fountain is brim full, the stream's banks are running over, the levees are breaking, there is more living water flowing than the world could possibly contain, and yet in spite of all of this the souls of mankind of shriveling, dying for a drink that is all around them...they are literally swimming in it. It's written across the sky, the rocks cry out, and our hearts proclaim its truth with every beat. There is a God, He is the Rock, and He has been smitten, and we must only believe and drink!

It was water in the wilderness, and next is war!

v. 8 Up until now they hadn't needed to fight, God had done it for them. Now He wants to graduate them to the next level and fight battles THRU them.


God is telling us… there is a fight shaping up, and you need to be ready for it.


God is called the Lord of hosts, or armies. We are soldiers in the Christian militia. We are not called to a playground but to a battlefield. It's not a picnic, it's a war. We have 3 great enemies which are the world, our own flesh, and he devil. And Amalek in our text is a picture of the flesh. He's a descendant of Esau in Genesis, the carnal man. Even though Israel was delivered from the ‘world' when they had victory over Egypt at the Red Sea, they will still have to battle the flesh.

v. 13 ‘discomfited', not ‘defeated'
v. 16 ‘from generation to generation'.

If you've been born again say Amen. If so, you have 2 natures. A new spirit and the old flesh, the carnal nature. And the 2 war against one another.
Galatians 5:17
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Deut. 25 explains further that Amalek attacked from the rear, a sneak attack, focused on their weakest people, when they were tired, likely late at night. Isn't that just how our flesh is tempted? In our weakest moments, sneaking up from behind, under cover of darkness! What's your weak area? It just came to your mind. Guard against it!

"Two natures beat within my breast, one is cursed, one is blessed,
One I love and one I hate, and the one I feed will dominate!"

Feed the spirit and starve the flesh, whichever grows big and strong will win the battles!

Look at how Israel won the victory over Amalek, or, the flesh:
With an intercessor on the hill and a commander in the valley.
Moses was the intercessor on the hill, a picture of Jesus, our High Priest, praying for us.
Joshua was down in the valley with his sword actually fighting the battle and leading the troops.

I read once the story of a young black man in the ghettos. He was fortunate in that he had both of his parents, and they struggled to make ends meet. But for his birthday that year they had scraped together enough money to pay for a brand new bicycle. A few days later someone stole it. Enraged, the boy went looking for the thief and in the process of his search he encountered a policeman. The policeman asked him what he was going to do if he caught the boy who stole it and the boy said that he didn't know.
It was obvious to the cop that if this boy ever did find the person who stole his bike, he might not only lose the bike but be beaten terribly in any fight that ensued, so he asked the boy if he would like to go the gym with him. The boy agreed and they went together to a nearby sports center where the policeman began teaching the boy how to box.
That boy was named Cassius Clay. Later he changed his name to Mohammed Ali and became one of the greatest fighters to ever enter the ring. But while Mohammed Ali was similar to many of the fighters of that time –

 he worked out just like they did, he boxed, and sparred and ran for miles in preparation for every fight – he had one distinguishing difference that gave him the edge whenever he put on his gloves.


Ali said, "To this day I never found my bike, but every time I got in the ring, I'd look across at my opponent and say to myself, that's the guy who stole my bike!"

APPLY: What Ali was saying was this: He was prepared long before he stepped into the ring. He (like other prize fighters) had always prepared for the fight physically for weeks ahead of time, but what gave him his cutting edge was this: he had prepared himself mentally long before he stepped into the ring.

Paul writes Timothy and tells him: "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12

Again Paul writes and tells Timothy "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs— he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules." 2 Timothy 2:3-5

Paul understood that, because when he found himself in prison, facing imminent execution, he wrote: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" 2 Timothy 4:7

In other words… I did my job… I was successful. I competed and I've won my battle.

IV. Now many of you are "physically" ready for the battle…
Some of you have gone to church for years. Attended Bible Studies and Sunday School. Some of you may have "perfect attendance" pins from your youth. Some of you can recite all the Bible books in their order or find any passage you want in a matter of moments.

Physically, you may be in shape… But the question you need to ask yourselves now is this: are you mentally ready. Do you know what you need to know to give you the edge when you enter the ring?


I have noticed that some of the most powerful witnesses for Christ have been those who have been to the gates of hell, and they haven't liked what they have seen. They've been the drunks, the drug users, the sexually promiscuous. The type of people Jesus associated with: the prostitutes and tax collectors. The dregs of society, the sinners who everyone despised.
These people know what hell looks like, and they don't want to live there anymore… and they don't want anyone else going there either.

ILLUS: The problem for many of us Christians, is we don't have a clue what hell is really like. Because we've not been to its gates and seen the emptiness and evil that lies on the other side. We've not been there, and frankly most of us have no desire to go.

A wise man is someone who learns from the mistakes of others. Someone who doesn't feel he has to hit his head against the wall to learn that it hurts! That's a smart man

It's into this "ring"; into this arena of struggle and blood…that you & I have been called by God. To fight the good fight, and contend for the faith.

You and I have been called by Jesus to change the world around us
In the sermon on the mount Jesus told us "You are the salt of the earth…". Matthew 5:13
What does that mean? It means the world doesn't taste good. It is fouled by the bitterness of sin. You and I are called by God to flavor this world, to change its taste.

" You are the light of the world…" Matthew 5:14.
What does that mean? It means the world is a dark and dismal place. Filled with forbidding corners where evil lurks in the shadows. You and I are called upon to shed the light of Christ into those corners and expose the harshness of wicked men.

You and I are called upon by God to make a difference. To storm the very gates of hell itself an take captive those who are bound for hell. We're called to get into the ring and fight the good fight.

Now, I'm here to tell you, if you're going to win this fight… if you're going to accomplish what God has called you to do. Then, you've got to come to grips with what is at stake.

You need to realize that people may very well go to heaven or hell depending on how they see you conduct yourself in the ring.

When you first became a Christian, you recited the same confession Peter made at Caesarea Philippi… "I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the Living God…" (have them repeat it with you).

And you were commended for that. In fact, the very foundation of your salvation is the realization that this is exactly who Jesus was. You cannot be saved if you are unwilling to make this confession.
But now, it comes down to – what does that confession mean to you?

When you made that confession, were you saying you expected to come and sit down and have God meet your every need? Cater to your every whim? Did it mean you got sit back and let God be your servant and come you beck and call?

Or, when you made that confession, did it mean you wanted to be His champion? The fighter for His cause? That His enemy (Satan) was now your enemy? And that you wanted to step into the ring and fight the good fight, making a difference in this world?

There were a couple of other people important to this story.
v. 12 [Aaron and Hur]
Will you hold me up in prayer? Will you help me lift high the rod of the Word?

 

CLOSE: In the late 1800's into the days of the Great Depression, there was a great evangelist that caught the imagination of the people. He was known not just as a great speaker but a great baseball player... his name was Billy Sunday.
One wouldn't say that he stood in the pulpit, for he would range the stage pleading with people to understand the power of God and the grace of Christ.
At one point, he slid across the stage as if sliding into home plate to illustrate that becoming a Christian was much like sliding into home and God calling us safe.
Speaking on sin, Sunday said:
"I'm against sin. I'll kick it as long as I've a foot, I'll fight it as long as I have a fist, I'll butt it as long as I have a head, I'll bite it as long as I have a tooth. And when I'm old, and footless and fistless and toothless... I'll gum it (pause…) until I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition!"