These ferocious wanderers attacked Israel unawares in a cowardly and unprovoked manner, when they were least able to defend themselves. They seem to have been of all Israel’s foes the most wantonly malicious, and hence they are instructive emblems of sin and Satan.
We must fight as well as pray. Though effort without prayer would be presumption, prayer without effort is mockery. Joshua must go to battle as well as Moses to the hill. Jesus said, “Watch and pray.”
Let all of us labour to uphold the prayerfulness of the church, for if that flags all flags. “Lift up the hands that hang down, and confirm the feeble knees.” Spiritual evil can only be overcome by the energy of prayer, and when we fail in devotion, the enemy easily overcomes us.
Exodus 17:13, 14
It has been suggested by a quaint author, that the Lord’s reason for specially commanding this event to be recorded is, that his people may imitate it. We are to fight against sin, and to expect victory over it by God’s help, afforded us in answer to supplication. Our Lord Jesus is both our Joshua to slay our sins, and our Moses to intercede for us against them, and his hands never need upholding. “He shall not fail nor be discouraged.” Amalek shall be utterly destroyed, and we shall be for ever freed from sin.
or, the Lord my banner, for the uplifted rod had been as a sacred banner to Israel. Whenever we win victories we ought to bring thank-offerings, and ascribe the glory unto the Lord alone.
We find this war carried on in Saul’s day, and he was bidden to root out the nation.
On account of the sinfulness of Amalek, as well as its unprovoked hostility to the tribes, the nation was doomed by divine justice to utter extirpation, even as our sins are by divine grace doomed to be crucified with Christ, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Let us read
Deuteronomy 25:17, 18
God will not endure it that his people should be assailed. He counts their injuries as done to himself.
Deuteronomy 25:17, 19
By the aid of the Eternal Spirit let us carry on war to the knife against all sin, whether in ourselves or others. All sins are our deadly foes, with whom we must hold neither truce nor parley. Death to them all, for they all aim at our death, and they were the crucifiers of our Lord Jesus.
While Moses stood with arms spread wide,
Success was found on Israel’s side;
But when through weariness they fail’d,
That moment Amalek prevail’d.
O thou whose hand is stretch’d out still,
Our sinking hands confirm and stay;
While praying for us on the hill,
Fight with us in the plain to-day.