Why study the OT?
Paul explains the importance of NT saints studying the Old Testament:
1 Cor 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction (admonition), upon whom the ends of the ages have come
Romans 15:4 (Note) For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Click notes on Romans 15:4) (Click study of God's Hope)
What do you learn about testing from Abraham's Example?
Genesis 22:1 after these things… God tested Abraham… Ge 22:14 called the name of that place the LORD will provide (Jehovah Jireh, the Provider)
It is not merely a son that God requires of Abraham, it was his only son Isaac, the son whom he loved and the son who was the crucial foundation stone for the fulfillment of the covenant promise that Abraham would become the father of many nations. This was not only a staggering faith commitment; it was an enormous personal challenge. Abraham's response was immediate obedience with not even a word of objection recorded in Genesis 22:1-14.
And so if you desire to see God's blessings "unleashed" in your life and discover that God is your Jehovah Jireh, your Provider, then you must obey when tested. Abraham's obedience was immediate and unqualified. Don't be deceived: delayed obedience is immediate disobedience and partial obedience is complete disobedience. Is there some issue where you are only partially obeying what God has commanded? Our ability to claim and live by God's promises will come only when we first experience Him as Jehovah Jireh. In sum this Old Testament example teaches us that we must practice immediate obedience, must learn to trust Jehovah to be fully consistent with His nature, must believe that He is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides, must be willing to place that which is most cherished in our life on the altar, surrendering it completely to Him, must be prepared to praise Him whether He restores our "Isaac" or removes it (fully cognizant that He is God, fully loving and altogether trustworthy) and finally must practice these principles daily.
Tested by Bitterness
In the days leading up to the revelation of God as Jehovah Nissi the children of Israel had experienced repeated testings:
Exodus 15:25 there (at the bitter waters of Marah) He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them them. He revealed Himself as Jehovah Rapha (Jehovah Rophe) declaring I the LORD am your Healer Ex 15:26
Israel had just experienced a great deliverance and Pharaoh's army had been destroyed by Jehovah and here at Marah they experience "defeat". Does it surprise you that great spiritual victory is often followed by defeat, discouragement, dissension, and depression?
Your adversary the devil, diabolos (word study) often intensifies his spiritual attack immediately after we experience spiritual victory, ever seeking to snatch away victory and dull our joy. He was successful at Marah. Israel may have thought that like we often do that our difficult circumstances put God to the test, when in fact our circumstances are often allowed by a sovereign God to test us. The pattern for victory when we face bitter, "Marah-like" circumstances which might otherwise bring discouragement, disillusionment and bitterness is to listen to God and obey His commands and to remember that God can turn them "sweet". Bitter circumstances actually test us and teach us to trust God to meet every need of our life.
Unbelief is often detected in one's spirit and attitude (which often includes grumbling). When we fall to see God's hand in our daily affairs and fail to trust Him for our daily provision, we often begin to fret and complain about our difficult "Marah-like" circumstances. Learn from the negative example of Israel that when you come to "Marah", first listen earnestly to the voice of God, seeking to know what He is trying to say to you in your present circumstances.
Remember that often we tend to hear God clearly when we are on the mountaintop of spiritual victory but when we get to "Marah", we must tune our ears attentively to the voice of the Lord. Ask yourself what God is saying through your circumstances, what God wants you to do and what have you learned about God from these events and then without hesitation do what is right or in other words, behave righteously, instead of responding by grumbling and complaining when you find yourself at Marah. Overcome your circumstances by focusing on the reliability of the nature of God Who never changes, and Whom you can rely on to always be loving and trustworthy and able to meet your every need. Finally, when you find yourself at bitter waters, examine your life to see if there are areas of disobedience. Remember that your willingness and desire to obey God emerges from the fact that you know His character.
If you have become sidetracked at Marah, bitter in your soul and spirit, feeling that life has been unfair to you, the only way you can go from Marah to Elim and find sweet water is to turn to Jehovah Rophe.
Tested by Plenty
Ex 16:4 "The LORD said to Moses "Behold I rain bread from heaven for you and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction."
Ex 16:12 God said "and you shall know (by experience) that I am the LORD your God."
Tested by Lack
Ex 17:2 No water caused Israel again to grumble and Moses ask "Why do you test the LORD?"
From these examples note how the names of God (character of God) was revealed during times of testing. Are we willing to persevere so that we might experience something our loving Father, learning something that we could never learned unless we had experienced the Refiner's fire (1Peter 1:7-note on testing of faith, Job 23:10, 11, 12-note)
When did this occur?
What did God allow?
Amalek (click) came and fought against Israel
What was Israel's war experience? How had they "defeated" the Egyptians?
Ex 14:13+ (As Pharaoh drew near) … Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.
Where did the Amalekite attack take place?
Rephidim = "Rests"
Who is Amalek?
Isn't there a bit of "Esau" in us all… we are so prone to lose sight of "eternal" truths, instead giving in to our temporal desires?
Verb tense for "bore grudge" (in the Septuagint) = imperfect denoting an action repeated over and over again. So we can begin to understand the deep root of enmity Amalek ("Esau") held for Israel ("Jacob").
What was Amalek's strategy?
(Context: a section from Moses' instruction to the Second generation of Israel just prior to entering the promised land)
"Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear God. Therefore it shall come about when Jehovah your Elohim has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which Jehovah your Elohim gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out (click note) the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget Deut 25:17, 18, 19
Note what Elijah did to the enemies of God in 1Ki 18:40 (Spurgeon's comment)
Am I giving aid to brethren in the faith who have straggled behind because they have become faint and weary?
Do I disregard & disrespect them because of their "weakness"?
Am I thinking lightly of God's command to blot out the "Amalekites" in my life?
Note that "forget" is a keyword in Deuteronomy so we must be especially careful to heed this command to "not forget" (uses of "forget" in Deut)
The Second Battle Israel Waged was again with Amalekites: Nu 14:42, 43, 44, 45
"Do not go up, lest you be struck down before your enemies, for Jehovah is not among you. (this truth is key when we go into spiritual warfare! see Ep 6:10ff-notes) For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will be there in front of you and you will fall by the sword, inasmuch as you have turned back from following Jehovah. And Jehovah will not be with you. (disobedience resulted in loss of God's power and presence) But (they continue to disobey) they went up heedlessly to the ridge of the hill country; neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses left the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down, and struck them and beat them down as far as Hormah.
Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of Jehovah and Jehovah gave them into the hands of Midian seven years and the power of Midian prevailed against Israel. (How could this principle apply to a believer?) Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens which were in the mountains and the caves & the strongholds. For it was when Israel had sown, that the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites the sons of the east and go against them. So they would camp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey.
When did Amalekites attack?
Contrast the outcome of the battles in Judges with Amalek and the battle in Ex 17:13: "So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword."
Why is the outcome different?
Had God changed -- was He no longer Jehovah Nissi in Judges?
From these examples of defeat in Numbers and Judges, when am I most likely to be attacked and defeated by the Amalekites in my life?
While they may attack after a time of blessing as they did in Exodus 17, they may also attack after a time of disobedience which will quench the power of God's Spirit in my life!
Lesson: Confess sins ASAP!
(click for more on Amalek)
How did Moses respond?
What's God doing w/ Joshua?
Training Joshua to succeed Moses & wage war upon the entry into Canaan.
What is God training you for?
Do the trials seem to never end, to be w/o any obvious purpose?
As Cromwell said to his men: "Trust in Providence and keep your powder dry"
Joshua did as Moses told
He obeys, submits, serves
Fought against Amalek
How was battle won Ex 17:11? (note)
How does he explain? Ex 17:12 (note)
How do following verses help understand Aaron & Hur's role?
What was the result in Ex 17:13?
So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek w/ edge of sword
What was purpose?
To learn war (Jdg 3:1,2-note , Pr 17:3)
How do the following verses relate to the war against Amalek?
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Php 2:12+, Php 2:13+)
What some lessons for life?
Moses by the staff in his hand looked for victory to God alone, & did not trust the “arm of flesh”
The staff of God was clearly a symbol of the presence of God's omnipotent power over evil, over nature, over every circumstance however hopeless (click comment)
"Seeing the Lord and rallying behind him as our banner lifts us above the demands and accusations; it frees us from their crushing effect. And amazingly enough, it also frees us to invest in those who make the demands and accusations. And as they see us rally behind the Lord, they do as well, even those who may have been griping about us earlier. In the First Battle of Bull Run in the Civil War, Gen. Thomas Jonathan Jackson was leading the Virginia troops of the Confederacy. One man from another division saw Jackson mounted on his horse, leading his troops, and pronounced, "There stands Jackson like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!" They did so, and the Confederacy won a decisive and surprising victory at the outset of the war, dashing the Union's hopes for a quick victory. And Thomas Jonathan Jackson was thereafter known as Stonewall Jackson. That day, he was the "banner" for the Confederate troops. Although shots were flying all around them, they saw Jackson, standing before them, as impregnable as a stone wall, and rallied behind him. Similarly, the LORD is our Banner. (Jehovah Nissi) Although demands and accusations may be flying all around us, we are to look to the LORD Who stands before us and rally behind Him… the LORD gives us a vision of Himself, in the Scriptures and in our own experience, of His trustworthiness. And it is that vision that inspires us to rally to the LORD, lifting us above the demands and accusations. And from that position, above the fray, so to speak, we are free to re-enter the fray and invest in people - even the people who earlier were accusing us. Although people can be demanding and accusative, rally behind the LORD and don't give up on them." (Scott Grant - Rally Behind the LORD)
What does God say in Ex 17:14?
Write this in a book as a Memorial (cf Ex 12:13, 14+, Jos 4:7)
THOUGHT - Have you commemorated the "victories" Jehovah Nissi has given you over the "Amalekites" in your life so that in future "wars" you might look back & be reminded of His faithfulness to provide victory in His way & in His timing? He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Remember past victories and run again & again to Him and take Refuge (see Greek meaning of Jehovah Nissi below) in the Strong Tower of Jesus, our Banner, our rallying point.
How does Moses respond in Ex 17:15?
Jehovah Nissi in the Greek (LXX) = "kurios mou kataphuge" which in English which translated means
The Lord My Refuge
For interesting parallel see this same word kataphuge in (Ps 46:1)
God is our refuge and strength,
Who is Jehovah Nissi?
Isa 11:10+ Then it will come about in that day (what "Day"?) that the nations (who are "nations" in Scripture?) will resort to the root of Jesse (Who is this?) Who will stand as a signal (Hebrew word = nec = banner)
(Isa 11:12) He (Who?) will lift up a standard (nec) for the nations and will assemble the banished ones of Israel and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth ().
Even today a banner is a standard that bears the colors by which a military unit is identified and behind which troops rally. The "standard-bearer" carries the colors and marching bands are often led by people carrying a banner that identifies the band, and after which the musicians fall in line. So when Moses names the altar Jehovah Nissi, The Lord is my Banner, he proclaims as a memorial - "I rally behind Jehovah. It is He to Whom I look. It is He Whom I will follow."
LORD our Banner
A wonderful picture of God's protection & deliverance under imagery of a banner >
Ps 60:4 Thou hast given a banner to those who fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. 5 That Thy beloved may be delivered, Save with Thy right hand, and answer us!
Ps 20:5 We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.
How Amalek characterized? Exodus 17:16 (commentary)
Jehovah will have war against Amalek from generation to generation
Haman a descendant of the Amalekite, Agag, tried to exterminate the Jews (Esther 3:1, 6+) which illustrates the point of Exodus 17:16 Haman's defeat is commemorated by the Jewish festival of Purim. See more detailed discussion below.
ILLUSTRATION - A terrible fire was raging, and many attempts were being made to save a child who stood at a top window frantically waving and calling for help. One man, braver than the rest, put forth a last bold endeavor to rescue the boy. Sensing the almost impossible odds, and fearing he might fail, someone in the crowd cried, "Cheer him, cheer him!" The people caught the words and shouted loudly. Inspired and encouraged by their support, the man doubled his efforts and rescued the child from the flames.
Even as Moses needed the assistance of Aaron and Hur, so today those called to spiritual leadership need the undergirding of the people to whom they minister. How can you help your pastor, your Bible study leader, etc? Their work is demanding, often discouraging, and fraught with many attacks by the "Amalekites". Christian leaders need your encouragement (word) and support (deed). When was the last time you "took hold" of your pastor's hand and verbally expressed your gratitude for his ministry? A word properly timed will be, in effect, "holding up his hands," and will help to assure spiritual victory in your church under the banner of Jehovah Nissi!
O "hold up the hands" of the worker for Christ,
What does Amalek picture ("type")?
Enemies of God's people (discussion)
How do we win the battle against the "Amalekites"?
What do we learn from Joshua?
Obedience (Joshua 1:7, 8-note, 11:15)
Joshua was submitted to authority as an obedient servant. During the first half of his life, he obeyed Moses; and during the last half, he received his orders from the Lord. Joshua was a man zealous for Jehovah (click for characteristics of a zealous man).
What do we learn of warfare?
Staff of God ~ His "banner over" us (Song 2:4) symbolizes His presence, His power & His provision. Even as He provided food & water He gives us victory in spiritual warfare. When confronted with "Amalekites" don't depend on your zeal or ingenuity to defeat them but on your rallying point, Jehovah Nissi (Ro 8:26, 27-note; Hebrews 7:25-note)
What's Value of Memorials?
1 Sa 12:24 Only fear the LORD & serve Him in truth w/ all your heart, for consider what great things He has done for you.
Who are the "Amalekites" in your life?
According to God's word what are we to do w/ the "Amalekites"?
See Dt 25:19, Ex 17:14
Click Exposition of Exodus 17:8-16
|Deuteronomy 25:19||Exodus 17:14|
"you shall blot out the memory of Amalek"
|"I (Jehovah) will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek"|
"Work out your salvation with fear & trembling"
"It is God Who is at work in you
|Ray Stedman's (see his full sermon Power to Please) insight on Romans 15:4 as to why studies such as this one on Jehovah Nissi are important…
|Characteristic of a Zealous Man: (like Moses or Joshua):
"A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He only sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives, or whether he dies—whether he has health, or whether he has sickness—whether he is rich, or whether he is poor—whether he pleases man, or whether he gives offence—whether he is thought wise, or whether he is thought foolish—whether he gets blame, or whether he gets praise—whether he get honor, or whether he gets shame—for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory. If he is consumed in the very burning, he cares not for it-he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn; and if consumed in burning, he has but done the work for which God appointed him. Such a one will always find a sphere for his zeal. If he cannot preach, work, and give money, he will cry, and sigh, and pray… If he cannot fight in the valley with Joshua, he will do the work of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, on the hill (Ex 17:9, 10, 11, 12, 13). If he is cut off from working himself, he will give the Lord no rest till help is raised up from another quarter, and the work is done. This is what I mean when I speak of ‘zeal’ in religion." (10,000 Sermon Illustrations. bible.org) (See 21 part series: "Biblical Characteristics of a Christian Leader")
|Spurgeon on the "FAINT and WEARY" stragglers attacked by the Amalekites in Deut 25:17-19:
A Fourth Tower is JEHOVAH-NISSI
This reminds all of us who have given public testimony of our faith in Christ, that we are still in an enemy's country. You remember how Bunyan (to quote the great Dreamer again) represents Christiana and her children knocking at the Gate; while in a castle, near by, there were those who were assailing them. If any leave a Communion-table to return to the world in their own strength, they shall assuredly fall. But we go not a warfare on our own charges. "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God," and He who is for us, is greater than all that can be against us.
Let our moral attitude be like the workmen on the walls of Zion in Nehemiah's time, building with the sword girded by our side; ever ready, when the missiles are flying thick and fast around, to flee to Him who is a "High Tower against the enemy," and who thus invites all weak and helpless ones—"Come, my people, enter into your chambers, and shut your doors about you; hide yourself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast" (Isa. 26:20). This is the true Tower of King David, built for an armory, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men (Song 4:4). "Blessed is the people who know the joyful sound—they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name shall they rejoice all the day and in Your righteousness shall they be exalted. For You are the glory of their strength—and in Your favor our horn shall be exalted. For the Lord is our DEFENSE—and the Holy One of Israel is our king" (Ps. 89:15-18).—"We will walk in this name of the Lord our God forever and ever."
|Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening" Note related to blotting out the Amalekites in Deut 25:17-19:
"Let not one of them escape." --1Ki 18:40
|John Piper commenting on the world system exhorts believers declaring that…
By whom was David taught,
To aim the dreadful blow,
When he Goliath fought,
And laid the Gittite low?
No sword nor spear the stripling took,
But chose a pebble from the brook.
'Twas Israel's God and king,
Who sent him to the fight;
Who gave him strength to fling,
And skill to aim aright.
Ye feeble saints your strength endures,
Because young David's God is yours.
Who ordered Gideon forth,
To storm th' invaders' camp,
With arms of little worth,
A pitcher and a lamp?
The trumpets made his coming known,
And all the host was overthrown.
Oh! I have seen the day,
When with a single word,
God helping me to say,
My trust is in the Lord;
My soul has quelled a thousand foes,
Fearless of all that could oppose.
But unbelief, self-will,
Self-righteousness and pride,
How often do they steal
My weapon from my side?
Yet David's Lord and Gideon's friend,
Will help his servant to the end