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Exodus 17:8-16

Defining Moments

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • August 02, 2020

Battles are defining moments. They reveal reality to us. Our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood, it’s a struggle against Satan and the evil of this world. God is here to fight our battles, and He has a battle plan in place in order to lead us to victory. In moments such as these, we need to let God define our lives and let him fight for us. Today we will discover how the Lord took a critical moment during Israel’s journey through the wilderness and used it to define them and their understanding of God. What moments in your life have defined you?

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Defining Moments
Exodus 17:8-16                                                 

August 2, 2020                       


ILLUS – Defining Moments

  1. What moments in your life have defined you?
  2. Tonight, we will discover how the Lord took a critical moment during Israel’s journey through the wilderness and used it to define them and their understanding of God.

Exodus 17:8-16


  1.  God was building a nation, a theocracy.
  2. God was preparing Israel for life with Him in the Promised Land.
  3. Each difficulty Israel encountered in the wilderness as they traveled to the Promised Land was an object lesson for Israel.
  1. To learn about God’s character and trust Him.
  2. To learn to God’s ways and walk by faith.

      4.  Here in Exodus 17, Israel was not confronted by Pharaoh, thirst, or hunger but by a foreign enemy, Amalek and his men.

Transition – What was God teaching Israel then and us today through this attack? What was and is the meaning of this defining moment?

I.  Battles Reveal Reality (8-10)

A.  Our struggle is not against flesh and blood (8)

  1. Here at Rephidim Israel had their first actual battle.
  2. Suddenly Israel was attacked by the Amalekites, their relatives, descendants of Esau. (Gen. 36:12)
  3. Scripture records their tactics and goal.

       a.  Tactic: Surprise attack on the weak.

Deuteronomy 25:17-18, 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.

APPL – Satan seeks to disorient and destroy God’s people.

1 Peter 5:8-9, Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

        b.  Goal: Defeat God by annihilating Israel.

Psalm 83:4-5, They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.” For they have conspired together with one mind; against You do they make a covenant.

APPL – Satan’s ultimate goals: Defeat God and His redemptive plan:

  • Blot out Israel to prevent the first coming of Messiah. (Failed)
  • Blot out Israel so there is no remnant when Messiah returns.

ILLUS – Dwight Pentecost’s teaching on the antichrist.

APPL – When life defining battles come, we must remember our battle is not against flesh and blood. Satan seeks to divide and conquer.  

Ephesians 6:12, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

B.  God has a plan for every battle

  1. God may use different means to achieve victory.
  1. Red Sea: Pharaoh’s army drowned.
  2. Jericho: March around the city and the walls came down.
  3. Rephidim: Sword and staff.

     2.  We must never forget that God’s ways are higher than our own.

  1. Sometimes He prevents the battle.
  2. At other times He takes us away from battle.
  3. Often, He leads us to victory through the battle.

APPL – While God’s battle plan may not be predictable, we can trust God through it all.

  • When the battle is His, the outcome is sealed.
  • His wisdom and grace are sufficient for us to overcome all our enemy’s attacks and schemes.

Ephesians 6:16, . . . taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.

APPL – Are you in a battle? Does your battle belong to the Lord?

  • Job or finances?
  • Marriage or family?
  • Personal struggles?

Romans 8:31, If God is for us, who is against us?

APPL – What does Romans 8:31 mean to you?

  • Will you confidently stand on what God is saying to you through this verse?
  • Will you let the truth of this verse become so ingrained in your soul that it defines you and the way you live?

A.W. Tozer, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

APPL – When God defines our lives, we see ourselves differently.

Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.

APPL – When God defines our lives, we see others differently.

2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

APPL – When God defines our lives, our reason for living changes.

2 Corinthians 5:9, 14, Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For the love of Christ controls us

APPL – God changes everything for our good.

  • We see life through His love, His grace, His faithfulness, His sufficiency.
  • Our identity is in Christ, and Christ alone.

II.  Ask God to Define Your Life (11-16)             

  1. Ask Jesus to fight your battles (11)
  1. This passage introduces us to Joshua for the first time.
  2. Joshua is a type of Jesus Christ.
  1. “Joshua” in Hebrew means, “The Lord saves.”
  2. “Jesus” in Greek means, “The Lord saves.”

      3.  Joshua defeated the Amalekites and ultimately brought Israel into the Promised Land.

      4.  Jesus defeats all our foes and will ultimately bring us to our Promised Land, the eternal New Heavens and Earth.

  1. Jesus is our victory over the world.

John 16:33, These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

       b.  Jesus is our victory over Satan.

Colossians 2:15, When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

       c.  Jesus is our victory over temptation.

Hebrews 2:18, For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

APPL – But notice Joshua became weak and Israel began to falter when Moses became weary of holding up the staff, not so with Jesus Christ.

Matthew 16:18, . . . upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.       

B.  Take courage, Jesus is praying for you (12-16)

  1. Moses brought Aaron and Hur with him to the top of the mountain to watch the battle.
  2. With both hands, Moses elevated the staff over the battlefield.
  1. Staff represented God’s authority and power.
  2. For the believer, the raising of the staff is a picture of humility and dependence upon God.
  • Like a child reaching to a parent for help, Moses cried to the Lord, who is mighty in battle.
  • As an intercessor, Moses stood in the gap for Israel, representing them before God in prayer.

       3.  Moses is a type of Christ.

       a.  But unlike Moses, Jesus does not need the archangels Michael and Gabriel, to steady His arms after a long day of prayer.

       b.  Jesus never grows weary of interceding for us.

Hebrews 7:25, Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

  1. After the victory, God told Moses to write the account of this battle and victory in a book as a memorial so that Joshua and Israel would never forget that what Amalek started God would ultimately finish.
  1. The same is true for us in Christ.
  2. What Satan started Jesus will finish.

       5.  Then, Moses built an altar so that Israel may offer thanksgiving and worship to the Lord for the victory.

       6.  There, Moses declared “the Lord is My Banner.” (Yahweh Nissi)

       a.  A banner was rally point, a place to unite.

       b.  A standard for gathering and receiving orders.

       c.  A place to receive vision, healing, and hope.

  1. Ultimately, Moses was swearing allegiance to God.

ILLUS – Yahweh Nissi, The Lord is our Banner.


APPL – Joshua never forgot that battle.

  • The Lord was Joshua’s banner, his allegiance to God never wavered.
  • That moment defined Joshua.
  • And Joshua let God define the rest of his days.

Joshua 24:15, And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

APPL – Will you ask the Lord, “Define my life”?


Exodus 17:8-16    NASB

8 Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. 13 So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner; 16 and he said, “The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.” 



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