By: Ely Lagajino
…I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt….1 Samuel 15:2 (NIV)
While the Israelites negotiate for drinking water at Rephidim near mount Horeb, the Amalekites, a warlike tribe ambush the weak and tired Israelites who are lagging behind.
Moses tells Joshua to select strong men from every tribe to fight the Amalekites. In the morning they battle the enemies while Moses stands on the hill raising his arms with the staff of God. As long as the arms of Moses holding the staff are raised upward, the Israelites win, but when Moses lowers his arms, the Amalekites become triumphant. As Moses becomes tired, Aaron and Hur help raise Moses’ arms until the enemies are defeated. Moses’ act of raising his arms with the staff signifies that God is holding their destiny in His hands (PP p.313).
God directed Moses to record the event in the book for a memorial; and read it in the presence of Joshua. Before Moses’death. He delivers this solemn charge: “Remember what the Amalekites did unto thee by the way. When they killed those who are tired and weak, You shall blot out the memory of the Amalekites under heaven… “(Deuteronomy 25:17-19).
The Amalekites are not ignorant of God. But instead of fearing Him, they challenge His power. Their assault is senseless without any provocation from the Israelites. It is evident that they hate God and seek to destroy His people.
The Amalekites had long been a rebellious people and their crimes reached God for vengeance, but God’s mercy still called them for repentance; yet, when the men of Amalek killed the weak and defenceless Israelites, they sealed their nations’ ruin.
God cares for the weakest of His children. Any act of cruelty, harassment, injustice toward them is marked by heaven and the sword of justice will be applied to the oppressors. PP p.314-315; Exodus 17:1-15; Deut. 25:17-19