Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15)
God loves His children more than any earthly parents can do. God always pays undivided attention to His children regardless they are growing well while following HIm or suffering by getting astray. God constantly watched over His children and lead them so that His children follow paths of righteousness without being astray. However, some get astray. Then some hardships happen to His children. God quickly stretches His hand. If His children fall, God catches and lifts them up. God soothes the pains from the fall. Then God fills His children’s hearts with hope and love, and make them return to God in His mercy and forgiveness. God is always with us and He is our ever-loving Father for all who love Him. In Him, we are secure. From Him, we receive His love, which is greater than anything else that we can see, touch, or imagine. Why does God do all these to us? God wants us to keep growing into Him while turning back His love to Him and others by imprinting His character and love in our hearts. Here is Apostle Paul’s prayer, which reflects God’s love and character toward us, and which is also our prayer for each of you:
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)
The people of Israel were slow to understand and appreciate God’s love. Instead, they were quick to complain. They could not endure any hardship with God in faith, and they lost all opportunities to truly appreciate God’s love.
When they were chased by Egyptian armies, they immediately complained. Only a few days ago, they were slaves of the Egyptians. Then God sent Moses and utterly punished the Egyptians with God’s ten plagues. The Pharaoh, king of Egypt, finally let the people of Israel go, and they were freed from the 400 years of slavery. However, they could not connect God’s awesome power that they saw in Egypt to the Egyptian armies chasing them. The Egyptian armies looked mighty but, in reality, were nothing before God.
Despite their complaint, God split the Red Sea to make a way for the people of Israel with the mighty power of God. They safely crossed the Red Sea, and as they looked back, they saw God’s awesome power returning the Red Sea to where it was. The Egyptian armies chasing down in the middle of the Red Sea were buried deep into the Red Sea. The bodies of Egyptians washed up onto the beach where the people of Israel stood. Great awe stuck them, and they were silent before the unthinkable scene. Then suddenly a joyful noise broke out. The people of Israel were leaping in joy while singing and praising to God. God was faithful to the people of Israel, and the people of Israel were saved not because they were faithful, but because God loved them despite their unfaithfulness.
Only three days later after crossing the Red Sea, they complained again. They tried to drink the water from an oasis that had been just found after three days’ journey through the wilderness, but the water was bitter. It was bitter than their thirst after three days’ journey through the bone-dry wilderness. They were dying without water. They badly needed water. However, the oasis could not satisfy their thirst. Then they looked up, and they complained to God. Despite their complaint, God’s love toward His people did not change. God was patient. God made the bitter water to fresh and sweet water so that the people of Israel could drink and be satisfied fully. God was faithful ot the people of Israel because they were His beloved children.
Then they moved into the wilderness following Moses as God led. Some of them missed meat and bread. Soon all of the two million Israelites craved meat and bread in the middle of the wilderness. Then they complained to God by telling,
“Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16:3)
Of course, they did not have such a luxury when they were in Egypt because they lived miserably as slaves. They made up a story as if it had happened in Egypt. Then they used this made-up lie as a basis to justify their complaint to God. Human hearts are not authentic and full of deceits. Human hearts constantly spew out lies and deceptions as if they were true. Remember God sees through our hearts, not like humans. God exactly knew their sinful hearts. Even so, God was faithful to the people of Israel and extremely patient with them again only because they are His children. On the other hand, they tested God while thinking that even God could not bring meat to feed two million people in the middle of the wilderness. God knew their hearts not trusting God and His omnipotent power. Again God provided. God rained down meat from heaven, and they were fully satisfied with meat in the middle of the wilderness. God also provided mana, which was much better than the bread that they asked for. God’s mana fully and completely satisfied them.
For a short time, they were quite, but again they complained. When they arrived at Rephidim, there was no water for the people to drink. So once more the people spoke against God through Moses.
So far, Moses was so much faithful to God not like the people of Israel who complained again and again. Instead, Moses was always faithful to God and trusted Him despite the complaint of the two million people. It is not easy to stand firm in faith against a few people opposing our faith. Moses stood firm against two million people who did not trust God. Moses vs two million untrusting people gathered around him. What a scene! Moses always prevailed despite the extreme pressure from the two million people. This was the faith of Moses.
However, Moses was a man after all. Finally, the two million people’s repetitive complaints irritated Moses. Moses was constantly in between the complaining two million people and God. Moses had been burning the candle at both ends. Moses replied,
“Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the LORD?” (Exodus 17:2b)
It was the first time that Moses personally responded to the people of Israel while adding God at the end of his sentence. Of course, the people of Israel did not listen to Moses and kept complained to Moses. Moses hit the dead end. Moses came back to God, and cried out,
What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!” (Exodus 17:4b)
Again, for the first time, Moses prayed to God what he had to do rather than asking God to respond to the people of Israel. Moses was no longer like the one who used to be. This gives an important lesson for us. Even Moses can fall, and so can we. In order not to fall, we should fix our eyes on God, not the people around us or ourselves. The power belongs to God not in us. We are just a clay jar, which is fragile, but in Him, we are stronger than anything else because His power is acting on us.
God heard Moses and saw through Moses’ heart. How do you think? What would be the first response of God? Did God punish Moses for his wrongdoing? No, God comforted Moses first. Then God promised to protect him against the two million people who picked up stones and were ready to stone Moses. God, then, told Moses He would make water from the most unlikely object, “rock.” So Moses assembled the people and raised his hand holding the staff high in the air as God commanded. Then Moses struck the rock twice, not just once. Water gushed out from the rock, and the people looked on. God’s faithfulness did not change at all although Moses did not 100% trust God. Moses did not give 100% glory to God either. Moses stole God’s glory and demonstrated his power along with God’s power. Even Moses was trapped in the worldly glory and power although it is soon in vain even on earth and no value at all before eternity.
Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:26)
Our desire for vainglory just provokes others and makes them even more envious. The things that are objects of all earthly envy only exist in the world. Before eternity, it is nothing but a speck of dust. Nobody will remember, and our desire to have the glory of this world will turn out to nothing but just a faint memory of chasing a vanity in vain. Therefore, we, who have our eternal citizenship in heaven, should always be watchful against worldly desired constantly coming at us. Even the faithful Moses once knelt down before the vainglory of this world.
The people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD here with us or not?” How provoking complaint to God! But God was faithful and demonstrated his holiness among them. It was not all, but God had a special plan for the people of Israel and Moses because God loved both.
While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. Ah! It was the love of God. There was a division between the people of Israel and Moses. The people of Israel hurt Moses’s heart, and in return, Moses responded with the worldly vainglory. Our wisest God provided an opportunity to be one in God while experiencing who God was again. The attack by the warriors of Amalek was the first encounter with an enemy except for the Egyptian armies that God fought for them.
The people of Israel were just slaves for 400 years in Egypt. They had never been trained to fight against any foreign armies but just toiled as slaves for their masters, the Egyptians. It was a true and imminent threat to the people of Israel. The enemy was the warriors of Amalek, and they could easily wipe out the entire population of the Israelites. Indeed, a battle was about to start between the professional well-trained warriors and the ex-slaves who never had trained as warriors. It would be so easy to predict who would win. The outcome would have had been the overwhelming victory of Amalek.
Many were in a panic, but again Moses calmly prayed to God for His guidance. Moses did not dwell in his sin and guilty feeling for a long time, but in faith, yes, Moses confidently and authentically approached God in prayer for His guidance and protection while asking God’s forgiveness of his sinful behavior toward God and his people. God, who is always faithful and full of mercy, heard Moses’ prayer. God answered Moses. Upon God’s answer, Moses returned to the people of Israel and again led them in faith in God. Again, we can learn from Moses. We should not be discouraged and dismayed by our previous sin, but we must approach God with our authentic and contrite heart for his mercy and forgiveness of our sins offending God and others, and receive his guidance and love. God, who is full of mercy and love, surely answers our prayer and gives His forgiveness of our sins and His guidance to us because God’s faithfulness toward us never changes. We should say again and again in our hearts, “God is love and we are His beloved children.”
Moses summoned the people of Israel and called out young men who could fight against the Amalek warriors. Many responded in faith although the enemies were the fearful Amalek warriors. Among them, Moses picked up Joshua. Moses saw a difference in Joshua. Joshua was full of faith like himself. Moses appointed Joshua as the leader and commanded Joshua to lead the battle. Moses gave a command to Joshua,
“Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.” (Exodus 17:9b)
Moses fully trusted Joshua, and Joshua chose men to fight against the fearful Amalek warriors. Moses, then, promised Joshua to pray for this upcoming battle, which was impossible to win by any earthly measures. Moses trusted God, and Moses believed God would provide a victory against the army of Amalek although it looked impossible to win. In every word by word in Moses’ voice, Joshua could feel Moses’unmovable faith in God.
Indeed, Moses believed that the battle against the Amalek was God’s carefully chosen blessing, which was only disguised as an impossibility. Here is a question; What would we do if we encounter an obstacle so big that it is impossible for us to eliminate? There are two choices. Giving up completely while complaining to God? Or praying to God while absolutely trusting Him and asking His guidance?
So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. The battle had two fronts. Joshua fought with his people on the battlefield, and Moses fought in prayer. Our payer and our action in faith are mere two sides of one coin. They cannot be separated and they always go together for those who are children of God.
God did not let them alone, but God together fought against the much stronger enemy — the warriors of the army of Amalek. Again it was the battle between the professional well-trained and well-equipped warriors vs the ex-slaves without any military training and with no prior combat experience. In short, the battle was suicidal to the people of Israel, if they had fought alone while relying on their might.
However, God was with them and fought together. As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. The mighty warriors of the Amalekite army were losing before the ex-slave Israelites. But whenever Moses dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage.
Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. What we can learn from Moses, Aaron, and Hur?
Moses was getting tired, and he could no longer hold his hands high with the staff as God commanded. Anyone who had held up hands before knows how difficult to hold up hands for a long time. Moses held up his hands high not just 10 minutes but all day long from morning to sunset. Moses grew tired, and Aaron and Hur helped Moses by holding up Moses’ hand on each side. Even Moses needed help from his colleagues. Then how about us? Yes, we need help from our fellow Christians. In turn, we also give out our help to our fellow Christians both physical and spiritual. Please remember that the time spent by Moses of prayer and the time duration fought by Johsua and his people were equal. However, We tend to do more than praying.
In fact, our prayers for our fellow Christians are most important. Why? We believe God governs the world, and He alone is the master of all existing in the entire universe. Then what should we do first? Should we ask God with our prayer while telling our needs? Then faithfully wait for His answer while trusting Him and especially believing His absolute goodness. The battle with the warriors of the army of Amalek was a suicidal mission, but with God, a victory came because the enemy fought against God. God defeated the mighty warriors of Amalek before the ex-slave Israelites. Yes, after all, God fought for the Israelites. God just used Joshua and his people to bring this victory although God alone could bring the victory as He split the Red Sea.
It is not uncommon for us to dragged into a battle impossible for us to win, but we should not be discouraged or dismayed. First, we recognize it is yet another opportunity provided by God for us to experience God. Remember that God is the mast of the universe and He loves us. He gives the best always without exception.
Then we pray to God. Make sure we are precisely aligned with God and God’s will. We make sure we are standing on His side. We should not against God. Then the outcome is sure.
Then listen carefully to what God tells us, and follow what God tells us by absolutely trusting God in faith. It was impossible for the people of Israel to win the battle against the warriors of the army of the Amalek, but God led them to a huge victory. Therefore, we should not eye on our enemies, but keep our eyes on God with a humble and authentic prayer from the bottom of our heart, and ask for His protection and guidance.
God who led the ex-slave Israelites to the huge victory over the army of Amalek will provide a huge victory to us in Him. We should not forget our victory in Him is what God wants, but God especially hates sins. When we approach God, we must take off all sins so tightly clinging to us and faithfully follow paths of righteousness in prayer. Then our victory is sure in Him, who dearly loves us.
Thus, be strong and courageous! The battle is not ours, but God’s. Praise God, who gives a victory in Him as Our Ever-Loving Father!
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1)