“Joshua did as Moses had told him, and fought against Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed. When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his army with the sword…. And Moses built an altar and named it, ‘The Lord Is My Banner.’ He said, ‘Indeed, my hand is lifted up toward the Lord’s throne.'” (Exodus 17:10-16, HCSB).
The Amalekites were probably a nomadic people who resided in the area of the Negev on the northern part of the Sinai peninsula and came down to the southern part of Sinai to attack the Israelites. The attack of the Amalekites was particularly offensive because they attacked the weakest Israelites, the stragglers who were at the rear (Deuteronomy 25:17-18).
While the Israelites were fighting the Amalekites under the military leadership of Joshua, Moses, Aaron, and Hur were standing on a hilltop watching the battle. When Moses raised his hands holding the staff of God, the Israelites prevailed in battle. When Moses’ arms grew weary and fell down to his side, the Amalekites prevailed in battle.
Finally, Aaron and Hur placed a large stone for Moses to sit down on underneath him and while Moses was sitting, Aaron and Hur stood on each side of him and held his arms up. They continued in this way until sundown and Joshua and the Israelite army defeated the Amalekites. But, the weakness of Moses indicated that he was not the source of the victory.
So, after the battle Moses built an altar and named it in Hebrew, Yahweh-nissi, meaning “The Lord Is My Banner.” The type of banner that Moses referred to was commonly hoisted high on a pole. The rich and powerful imagery of Moses’ raised hands symbolized a signal flag rallying the troops to trust God for victory and to know that God was the source of their victory.
The raised hands of Moses acknowledged that God, not Moses, was the enabler of Israel’s victory over the Amalekites and the altar named “The Lord Is My Banner” glorified God for giving Israel the victory in battle over the Amalekites. As you fight life’s battles, always remember Who is the source of your firepower and under Whose flag you’re fighting!
The Lord is the source of our strength and if we’re to experience victory over trouble and hardship in our lives, then we must recognize that God always brings His plans and purposes to pass. In other words, God prevails!
So, we must call on the Lord for strengthening to fight life’s battles and then give Him our allegiance to His will and our obedience to His commands to win the victory. That’s the symbiosis of a victorious Christian life!
It is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s. (1 Samuel 17:47, HCSB)