Today’s story introduces Joshua, who will become an incredibly important character in the book of Exodus and Moses’ eventual successor. When Amalek sets out to war against Israel, Moses discovers that the Israelite army remains successful as long as his arms are held stretched out. Relying upon the strength of others, Moses is able to help lead the people to victory. Joshua, meanwhile, is given credit for calling and leading the army, a role as general that he will become famous for in the coming days.
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With Israel having an enemy of sorts, you know, not counting Egypt whom they really didn’t fight with they now find themselves challenged. Most of the challenges we’ve seen so far have come internally. This is an external challenge. So I’ll read this passage, then we’ll circle back and talk about it.
The nat came, fought with Israel at re, Moses said, did Joshua choose some. For us and go out and fight Amalek tomorrow, I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand. So Joshua did as Moses told him and fought with Amalek while Moses, Aaron and her went up to the top of the hill whenever Moses held up his hand.
Israel prevailed whenever he lowered his hand. Amalek prevailed, but Moses hands grew. . So they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and her held up his hands, one on one side, one on the other. So his hands were steady until the sunset, and Joshua defeated Amec and his people with the sword.
Then the Lord said to Moses, write this as a reminder in a book and recite it in the hearing of Joshua. I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amec from under heaven. And Moses built an altar and called it the Lord is my banner. He said, A hand upon the banner of the Lord. The Lord will have war with amec from generation to generation.
So a couple of things here. I think the introduction of a. Character, the character of Joshua, also the character of her in the story. Her is not going to be probably near as significant. Joshua goes on to eventually become leader of the Israelites. He’ll make a few more appearances in this book. But he is, Joshua has celebrated as a military leader.
Certainly that’s the case here though. Interestingly enough, Michael, the battle isn. Secured by Joshua’s efforts. It’s interesting. This is one of those strange texts where Moses somehow knows what to do or discovers what to do. There’s supernatural divine help happening here, but God doesn’t tell him, or at least God doesn’t initiate it in the context of the story.
But it, it is clear that the people’s victory is not entirely the. Of their own strength. There is more going on here[00:02:38] Michael Gewecke: than that. Yeah. If there’s a summary of this story, Clint, I think it would be the difference that it marks in the story from things we’ve seen before. We have the introduction of new characters, both in the positive as well as the adversarial aspect.
So we have Joshua introduced, as you said, he’s going to later become a significant figure as he takes leadership roles going forward, and then ultimately becomes the sole. Person responsible for the people as they make their way into the promised land. But then we have ek, who here is this opponent who rises up against the people?
We have already had some. Comments we’ve already known because the Texas mentioned that there were adversaries out there, in fact, right? Immediately surrounding the Exodus narrative, you had that language that God didn’t want them to see them because God knew that they would not have faith, that they wouldn’t trust God.
But here that is not raised, we don’t have that explicitly mentioned in any significant way. The story just continues on with, as is the case in most of Exodus. Simplistic kind of narrative, a really brief account. And where it really lingers is here around verse 12, where we start seeing that Moses, once again, Clint, you know, there’s no divine revelation.
There’s no divine orders given to Moses here. But rather he somehow knows that his job, his call, his part in this is to keep his hands raised. And you know, I think a thing that sticks out to me in this Clint, is Moses is. He maintains this very outside of the normal persona. He continues to be someone who is among, but not of.
I mean, he, it is not the fighting men of Israel who will win the war, and it, and we don’t really honestly think it’s Moses who’s winning the war. But yet Moses is the guy, he’s this linchpin who stands in between and it’s his action. And it’s God’s work through that action of faith that will ultimately bring deliverance for the people.
I, I just think Moses’ character here is what strikes me as interesting.[00:04:53] Clint Loveall: It is because literally as Moses’ strength fades, so does Israel’s, you know, right when he holds up his hand, they, they’re doing well. They’re conquering, and when he fade, Than they do and they drop back and, and Amec begins to win.
And so this back and forth continues. And, and this is one of those passages, we mentioned this yesterday. This is a, a fun kind of passage in the sense that there are these back stories or sub stories that are inside of this. So here you have Moses growing, we. Weariness is a wonderful biblical image.
It’s a wonderful kind of devotional idea. And then you have these two people, Erin and her, who hold up his hands, that when Moses no longer has his own strength, when he’s given all that he has to offer, he has. Who compensate for him. They literally take his hands and hold them up. And so now they have a, a role in Israel’s victory as well.
And it’s a, it, this is a great kind of community friendship story. Who is it that lifts you when you’re hurting, when you’re tired, when you’re fatigued? I. You know, the way this story is told is, is really helpful and gives us an easy point to jump off and think about it in a more devotional way than just a history text.
And so I, I. Think that aspect of the story is really interesting.[00:06:28] Michael Gewecke: Sometimes in a story like this, Clint, especially when reading the Old Testament, it’s important to pay attention to some of the smaller details because some of those small little hooks in the narrative become really significant and if not significant, at least.
Very interesting. I wanna point out one of those for you here actually. So this altar that we have named he builds an alter and calls it the Lord is my banner. The word banner here shares a root in Hebrew. The way that that language works is a part of that word banner. Also gets used in other conjugations and other forms of that word to to be test.
And if that’s the case then remember the stories that came before, right? Remember how, and the last episode where we just were yesterday when we were looking at the miracle of water from the rock and this idea that the people were quarreling Moses literally talked about how they were testing God and.
Once again, on the backside of this story, we have another perspective of that kind of testing here. If you’re going to use that frame, the, the people trusted God, would we be comfortable saying if they passed the test? I’m not sure that we would. I, I do think we would say on the backside of this very clearly, God has been faithful to the people through the victory and we also though, We see the people of Israel taking part in that in a way, like we haven’t, I mean, Joshua is leading the fighting men.
It is Joshua’s leadership that we see highlighted, celebrated. So you know, if we’ve had some stories here where the people have been failing to trust and they’ve been moving to coral sum and complaining and all of these negative behaviors. Here we have the people coming on the other side of a victory and.
Involving all of this cast of characters. I, I think it just makes it a really interesting story and it, it continues the narrative on it. It changes the narrative from that sort of pattern that we had seen.[00:08:33] Clint Loveall: Yeah, I would, I would say that’s accurate. Also, I think there’s a tie here with the Egypt story, you know, we get told here that Amalek came and fought with Israel.
So Amalek is the aggressor here, and as a result, The last time we saw a leader go to war with God against God’s people, they had terrible consequences. And the same is true here. God tells Moses at the end, I, I’m going to blot out a remembrance of Amec from under the heaven. I I’m going to erase his.
and the Lord will have war with amec from generation to generation. In other words, the enemy of my people is my enemy. And God again, battles them and utterly conquers them and, and seems to revel in the idea that he’s going to put them into obs. And we don’t, we don’t know much, maybe for this reason, we don’t know much about Amec.
We don’t know why he attacks it. We, we just get told that somebody goes to war with God’s people and God takes it very, very personally and takes it upon himself to blot out memory remembrance of that very person. And so, again, I, I think. A restating of a theme that we’ve kind of seen in the Israel part or the Egyptian part of the story.
I[00:09:59] Michael Gewecke: remember reading this story as a child and thinking it was really interesting. There’s something very visual about the idea that Moses keeps his hands up and that as he gets tired, The battle becomes more difficult. I think that it is one of those biblical stories that is easy to read, think that’s interesting, and then just pass by.
And then that said, on the other hand, I’m not entirely certain. That this is as devotional as some other text we’ve had even Sure. In the complaining. I think the quarreling narratives that we just had recently, we can put ourself in the shoes of the Israelites. In the case of this story, I think most of us would find it difficult to either imagine being the one on the ground with the warfare or the one holding their hand in there.
I, there’s a kind of provision to this story. There’s even a kind of specificity in the naming of Am. And the recognition that it’s that particular person whose memory will be blowed out. I, a story like this is important, but it, it does remind me personally, Clint, that this wasn’t written to me. In fact, it was written thousands of years ago, was written with a kind of shared memory.
Things that the readers would’ve certainly known who received this, that we on some level speculate[00:11:19] Clint Loveall: about. Yeah, and I, I think there’s, you know, there’s a kind of tempering here too, of the Moses story because Moses is simultaneously lifted up as the force behind Israel’s. But he’s also, it also makes it clear that he lacks his own strength and ultimately has to be helped.
And so, this, this text in a strange way, both elevates and humbles Moses in his leadership role. And I think that has to be intentional. I think that that’s probably a, a on purpose. Yeah.[00:11:57] Michael Gewecke: Yeah. And ultimately, Moves the story along in an essential way because this story introduces us to Joshua, who is going to, in many ways carry on what Moses is unable to do.
Right. And you know, I think that that is one of the most fascinating aspects of a book like Exodus, is it spends so much time introducing us to Moses. Helping us to see how he’s essential, how even back when he’s arguing with God over that he shouldn’t be the one to go speak to Pharaoh. God makes it clear that God has chosen Moses.
Moses is the one to do the task. And now in a text like this, we already are seeing foreshadowing that Moses isn’t the ultimate character, he’s. Going to be the pinnacle of the leadership of Israel, that God will continue to pass on those leaders who God chooses to raise up. And I think in that way, maybe this story is significant.
If you look at the whole arc of the narrative, we had that pivotal moment going through the Red Sea, now we have a pivotal moment. Yeah, in the introduction of Joseph, and it’s only gonna keep turning as the story goes. Yeah, and I[00:13:14] Clint Loveall: think, you know, tomorrow we’ll look at a text that will continue to balance Moses central role with his limitations.
And I, I think this gives us a nice introduction to that. So hope you can be with us tomorrow. Thanks for tuning in today. Thanks for joining us and listening. Hope there’s something in it that you could find helpful and we’ll see you.