Do you feel like you’re fighting a lot of battles lately? Maybe battles of frustration and impatience, maybe battles with co-workers or family, maybe battles of anxiety and weariness. I’m sure we’ve all been there at some point or another and maybe you’re in the midst of one or all of these battles today. Let me encourage you with a story about our next altar built by Moses coming out of the book of Exodus.
We find the Israelites, under Moses’ leadership, having just experienced one of the most incredible miracles of the Old Testament, the parting of the Red Sea. God has led them out of slavery and rescued them from the hands of the Egyptians. After leaving Egypt, God is leading them on a journey where they will ultimately end up at Mount Sinai (the location where the 10 Commandments were given to Moses), but before they get there, the Israelites encounter a particularly miraculous battle.
The specific battle we’re talking about today isn’t used in a metaphorical term but in the very literal meaning of the word. We see the very first battle that Israel ever had to fight unfold in Exodus 17:8-16 against the Amalekites. It’s a beautiful story for us in terms of application. There are so many things for us to learn, but I want us to hone in on one particular lesson.
First, let me draw your attention to the miraculous. In this account, scripture states that Moses went up on a hill with Aaron and Hur while Joshua and the other men fought in the valley below. Whenever Moses’ hands were raised, the Israelites were winning the battle; but when Moses lowered his hands, the Israelites began to lose. With help from Aaron and Hur who literally held his arms up, the Israelites won the battle. But what I want us to recognize is that Moses served as an intercessor during the battle, calling on God to help them defeat the Amalekites. His role was vital not only for the state of the battle but for the very survival of the people he was leading.
When the battle concluded in victory for the Israelites, Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is my Banner.
Here is the amazing takeaway for us from this account…
You and I are Joshua. We’re in the valley fighting for life, but we have an intercessor above who is fighting for our abundant life. His name is Jesus.
“Therefore he [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” -Hebrews 8:25
“…Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” -Romans 8:34
Jesus’ arms are raised and unlike Moses, they never grow tired or weary and therefore will never lower. Moses named that altar The Lord is my Banner because he was claiming the name of victory in his life and the life of every soldier in that battle.
Whatever battle you are facing today, remember that Jesus is your banner, your victory – He will provide a way and wants to intercede for you. In fact, he lives to intercede for you.
Friend, the battle that burdens you, weighs you down, leaves you in a defeated and hopeless heap wasn’t meant for you to carry. While you’re in the valley, look up, and see your banner, your victory and your help.
“I lift my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” -Psalm 121:1-2