My family will tell you that I am a bit strange, and one of my strange habits is to read Bible commentaries in my leisure time. (I also have a strange job, which means that the distinction between work time and leisure time is pretty blurred.) A result of this is that I am now reading Exodus through for the third time in three months, and am on my third Exodus commentary. And a result of that is that I am starting to recognise patterns in the text and am realising that God is saying some things to me (and perhaps to HHBC).
Exodus 17:8-16 is an example of this:
Firstly, the Israelites came under attack and they needed to respond - this required some planning and direction on the part of their leaders, and some bravery on the part of the fighting men. They had to do battle.
Secondly, while they had to do battle, they couldn't win the battle. Only God could win the battle for them - and he showed this using a prop. The prop was one he had used before with Moses (a wooden staff), but this time it was to be used differently (it just had to be held up in the air).
It was basically the repeat of a situation the Israelites had already found themselves in several times already in Exodus: they needed to step out in faith and do the thing God was telling them to do - but they also needed to trust God to bring about the result he had promised.
Refusing to fight is not the right approach. But neither is expecting to win the battle ourselves. God asks us to be faithful, not successful - and to trust him for the success. A long time afterwards, David recognised this: we went out to fight Goliath, but he declared, the battle is the LORD's (1 Samuel 17:47).
- Is there a thing you need to do, a step you need to take or battle you need to fight, in obedience to God?
- Is there a result, destination or victory which you need to trust God to provide?