Tag Archives: Moses

We Do Not Have to Battle Alone

Peninsula Community Church 

We Do Not Have to Battle Alone

July 22, 2018

Exodus 17:8-14 Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”

Throughout the Bible, we find stories of battles fought. It is noteworthy that every battle described in Scripture was different in its scope, different in how it was fought, and different in how God intervened each time. The bottom line is that each time a battle was fought and won, those in the battle had to commit to God, follow His will and His way, and trust Him no matter what they were asked to do. Many times, God had to clear the way of their fears, their hesitations, and their concerns in order to focus them totally and completely on His ability to fight for them. In so doing, each battle was won in amazing fashion and certainly not in what we would consider the usual ways. Each of these events were in reality a test to see how much those in the battle would surrender themselves to God and to His ways. 

As we review these battles, we find the battles that ensued were not a fair fight. The army confronting Israel was always bigger, more powerful, and better equipped than the armies of Israel. In a human sense, there was no way they could win. There was no way they could overcome the odds against them. In a human sense, they were already dead and were already defeated, before the battle even began. The truth, however, was that the God who was fighting for them was always greater than any enemy that could ever confront Israel and for that matter confront us. That is why John could unequivocally state in 1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 

Do you grasp that this morning? The God we serve, the God who has redeemed us, the God that is living in the depths of our hearts, has and continues to overcome every enemy we encounter. Here is the question I need to answer and so do you. “How different would I live if I truly grasped the concept that God has the power to overcome every situation in my life?” Would I live in fear and faithlessness, or would I live a humbly fearless life fully confident of God’s power and ability to fight every battle I encounter. Sadly, too often, we do not live with that expectancy.

To help us address this question, over the next couple of weeks, we will look at some of the Biblical battles found in Scripture so as to learn how they were won. We will also consider the lessons we can learn that will help us fight the battles we face with greater clarity, wisdom, patience, and grace. By grasping these lessons, we can have a greater understanding of the God we serve and who is on our side. Remember what Paul said in Romans 8. We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Notice this, we are not conquerors in ourselves or our ability, but in Christ, the one who gave His life so we could live in the abundance of all He has done. 

As I was preparing for this, I was wondering, how often do we live in less than the full power of God? I think that too often we try to live off of the crumbs and the morsels rather than pulling up to the table to live within that which has been prepared for us. Some years ago, a man had saved all of his money to travel to America. This happened before the invention of airplanes. He purchased his ticket and the day came to board the ship and head to America. 

Each evening he would retire to his room where he would eat the canned fish and crackers that he brought with him for the trip. Towards the end of the trip, he was on one of the decks and he met the captain of the ship. The captain introduced himself, and after some discussion the captain stated that he had missed him at dinner each night. The man seemed confused and explained that he could not afford the meals and that that he had brought his own food. The captain shook his head in disappointment and said you must have misunderstood. You see your ticket includes the meals each day. The sad part of this is the man was not living from the fullness of what was already provided for him. How many times do we do this? Sometimes we face battles only to be reminded that we have an abundance of blessing from God.

Today, we will briefly look at the battle fought by Israel against the Amalekites in Moses’ day. In this story, we find that Israel encounters the Amalekites at Rephidim. They were about to go to war. It did not matter what they did, they were going to have to face this enemy. So based on the news that war was unavoidable, what does Moses do? He commands Joshua to choose men and go and fight with Amalek. What did Moses do personally? He went up on the mountain with his staff or rod, as well as with Aaron and Hur. From there, he watched the battle below, but he was not inactive. Notice that as long as he kept his arms lifted with the rod in his hands, Israel was winning the battle, but as soon as his arms were lowered, they began to lose. As the day progressed, Moses became tired. He was weary. He needed help. Aaron and Hur stepped up and became the support he needed in that moment. 

This speaks to us that we do not have to be martyrs when it comes to the battles we face in life. We need to allow people to come around us to hold us up when the battle is overwhelming us.  We need to remove the mask of self-sufficiency and admit we need help. You see the enemy loves to get us to do a couple of things when we are tired and battle weary. First, we have a tendency to give up and concede the battle. The problem is that the enemy realizes that if he fights hard enough we will concede, so, he learns not to give up his fight. He will continue to fight us with all that he has because he knows we will eventually give up. But we do not have succumb to this, but rather we can stand and when we have done all to stand, we can stand in the armor that God has given us. 

Secondly, we often engage in battles that are not ours. Here we see the battle was Joshua’s to win. Joshua was the warrior and Moses was the intercessor. Joshua was the one who was to fight the battle, but Moses was to pray and to support Joshua and the warriors. This can be the hardest position to be in. There is a battle but it is not our battle. There is an illness. There is a personal issue. There is problem. And there is nothing we can do but pray. But prayer is the most powerful tool in our arsenal.

Thirdly, we may not give up, but we begin to isolate and hide. In isolation, we are a target for the enemy to attack us and minimize the work of God in us. Sometimes isolation is good for a time of reflection and prayer, but too often we can become so isolated that we do not let anyone in to help us. We reject the help of others and try to fight all alone.

So what do you do? It is at this moment that we have a choice to make. Will we isolate, or will we engage with others who can assist us? One of the greatest problems we face is the pride and fear of going it alone in life. It is prideful to say we do not need anyone to help us. Fear also moves us to fight alone because in fear we do not trust others. We believe we are tough, independent, and capable of handling things on our own. Conversely, we need to take off the mask of self-sufficiency, pride, and fear to acknowledge that we need help.

I am reminded of the story of one of the greatest preachers in history, Charles Spurgeon. Many of you do not know him, but his sermons today continue to be referenced by modern pastors. He pastored one of the largest churches in London, England for years. People were coming to Christ and the church was growing every year. He was a successful pastor in every sense. While on the outside his ministry seemed to be effective, inside he had a battle raging. You see, he dealt with a heavy depression. You see, he was being criticized for his ministry. Even though the church was growing, he often felt ineffective and felt that he was failure. At 22 he was preaching and a prankster started yelling fire. Chaos ensued and that night seven people died because they were trampled to death and 28 others were severely injured that night. His wife proclaimed that she thought he would never preach again. 

With all of this, he knew he could not fight this battle by himself. So, he asked a group of intercessors to meet in the room just below the platform where he would be speaking. Their job was to pray for him as he was ministering the gospel. They were in essence lifting his hands in battle. They were supporting him. The result was he was able to preach with even greater victorious power.

So this morning, are you isolating yourself when you really need help? Do you feel trapped because you are engaged in what seems to be a losing battle? Does it feel the weight of the world is on your shoulders? Do you feel overwhelmed? You see as powerful as Moses was, he needed help. He needed people to come into his life. Rather than isolate, we need to invest in others who will share hope and will encourage us. Do not be afraid to let others in. The fact is fear is a liar. Because of fear and anxiety, we isolate and we disconnect. Moses gives us the example however that we need help. We need people to engage with us as we fight the battles we face. Will you?

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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By Faith: Faith Wins

Peninsula Community Church 

By Faith: Faith Wins

November 6, 2016

Hebrews 11:23-28By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

Today, we look at the story of one of the most iconic members of the Hall of Fame of Faith. As many of us will remember, Moses’ story was memorialized best by Charlton Heston who played Moses in the epic 1956 movie “The Ten Commandments.” When we consider all of the Old Testament characters, Moses is one of the first characters most people think about. We remember him most because of the plagues, the parting the Red Sea, and that God gave him the Ten Commandments but there is so much more to the story. His entire life was lived in a way that God was honored. He went from riches to rags, not because of bad decisions but in fact because he chose wisely. Each stage of his life allowed him to learn more about life, people, God, and most of all about himself.

As we look at this story, we will find four key areas where faith triumphed in Moses’ life, but in each case Moses’ stress led to an exhibition of tremendous faith. From a personal standpoint we all need faith when the stressors of life impact us. We all have them but the stressors of life do not have to cause stress. Instead of stressing us out, we walk and move in faith which brings to us to a confidence in what God can and will do in us and for us. Moses’ life was filled with stress points but all along the way we see that faith triumphed over fear.

So with that in mind let us look at the areas of stress in Moses life as detailed in Hebrews 11. The first stressor was a choice between life or death. At his birth, the faith of Moses’ mom was on display. To understand her faith, we must recognize there was an edict that all males born to Hebrew women were to be thrown into the Nile River and killed (Exodus 1:22). Additionally, if anyone harbored or protected one of these babies they were to suffer death as well. This edict was initiated by the new Pharaoh of Egypt who did not fully appreciate the relationship that Egypt had with Israel. His edict was based on the fear that the Israelites would outnumber them and one day would attack the Egyptians and overtake them.

You see, while fear motivated Pharaoh’s actions, faith in God motivated Moses’ mom’s actions. It should be noted that she was not ignorant or naive. She was keenly aware of the edict that had been mandated when Moses was born but rather than being driven by fear, Moses’ mom was driven by faith. She trusted the one who would protect her son. What a contrast of attitudes. Fear versus faith. Here is the promise for us. Faith wins every time. While Moses’ mom was very aware of Pharaoh’s edict, her love for her son and her faith in God outweighed the thought of what might happen to her or her baby. Her actions remind us of Paul’s admonishment to Timothy. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:6-7). 

In a selfless act of faith she built an ark. She sealed the ark so the water of the Nile would not seep into the ark. Once completed she placed Moses into the ark and went down to the river. At the riverside, she gently pushed the ark into the water and she let it go. Many have asked how this showed faith. One pastor stated the greatest sign of her faith was evidenced in the fact that she did not tie a rope to the ark. She simply let it go and trusted God. Moses’ sister, Miriam, is asked to watch after the ark as it floats down the river. When the ark finally came to its resting place, it was Pharaoh’s daughter that found the ark. Miriam took this opportunity to step up and proclaim that she knew a woman who could be the nurse maid for this child. Amazingly mom and baby were reconnected and God’s plan for Moses’ life was set in motion. Faith wins.

The second stressor Moses faced was the choice between enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin and following the heart of God. Because of his faith, Moses was positioned to choose the ways of God rather than the ways of sin. Moses chose to side with the people of God who were being mistreated rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. His faith moved him to focus on God rather than on the sin of the world. John Piper said this about Moses’ faith. “Walking by faith means defeating sin’s pleasures with the promise of a superior pleasure in God.” How powerful that is?

By refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter (Hebrews 11:24), he was refusing the privilege and power that was his by way of being Pharaoh’s son. What a choice but it was a choice that was made in faith because he had no clue of what the outcome would be. The Bible tells us that Moses chose “to be mistreated with the people of God” and “considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth” (Hebrews 11:26) than anything that Egypt or pharaoh would have to offer him. He knew that the pleasure of sin would only be a temporary pleasure. In the end the sin he might enjoy for a season would leave him empty in the end. Faith wins.

The third stressor for Moses is that he chose to leave Egypt rather than stay in the comfortableness of Egypt. He had no clue where he would go but he left Egypt because he desired to be obedient to God’s plan. Until this point, all he knew was Egypt. He had lived there all of his life. While Egypt was his home there was something within him that drew him to a different place and to a different vision of what could be. God led Moses from the beauty of Egypt to the barrenness of the desert where he would learn to trust God more. He left the riches of a kingdom where all the wealth of that kingdom was at his disposal to serve God with a few sheep and a staff. Does that sound familiar? Do remember that it was Christ that left the riches of heaven to come to the earth.

There was a second reason that God moved him to the desert. He needed to learn the way of the desert because God’s ultimate plan was to use him as the leader who would guide the Children of Israel through the desert. In the desert his life was not over. God was orchestrating and positioning him to accomplish God’s future purpose for Moses. Moses would return to Egypt to become the spiritual leader of the nation of Israel. Nothing in Moses life was wasted. Everything he experienced would be used by God to bring about His purpose and His plan. The lesson for us is that we may not understand the plans and workings of God in our life. In the midst of the problems, the changes, and the detours we may think God has blown it or He has somehow missed a moment but God does not make mistakes. He uses our experiences and the detours of our life for His glory. He positions us to be used by him. Faith wins.

And finally, we find Moses returning to Egypt where he chose to take the spiritual leadership of the children of Israel rather than viewing things from the back seat. Because of his experiences and the life lessons he acquired, we find that he was the right person for the job. He had learned faith from his mom. That faith kept him and sustained him through some very difficult times. As noted, nothing is ever a waste in the economy of God. Every circumstance is an opportunity for God to be glorified and for His name to be proven trustworthy. I am sure there were days where Moses thought his life was over and that he would never be successful. I am sure there were times that Moses thought that he had missed the mark. After all why would God not use him in Egypt before he had to leave Egypt? Whatever the reasoning, God had a plan and God was about to fulfill that plan. What was His plan? It was the deliverance of Israel.

We know the story. Moses returned to Egypt where he began to lead the people of Israel. He confronted Pharaoh with the command to let God’s people go. Each time Pharaoh resisted his resistance was met with another plague or sign that God was in control. The final sword in the side of Pharaoh is that God chose to take every first born child in Egypt. It is noteworthy that God used the very thing that got Moses to Egypt in the first place to convince Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go. God used the death of children to change Pharaoh’s heart.

For the children of Israel, they were given an opportunity for redemption if they would offer a lamb to God and would apply the blood of that lamb to the doorposts of their homes. That night when the angel of death swept through the land of Egypt all of those who had the blood applied escaped death. That night, death ravaged the land but Israel was safe. Through the brokenness of Pharaoh’s heart he relented and let the people of God go free. They had their liberty. They had their freedom. Faith wins.

Today, as we gather around the communion table we look back to another person who was sent to us as a deliverer. He came not just as a deliverer but He came as the lamb Himself. He came to offer Himself so that when His blood is applied to the doorposts of our hearts, we find life and not death. That is why we can come today in celebration of His death and resurrection. So as we take this cup and we take this bread, we are reminded that the Israelites were redeemed and the death angel passed over them because the angel of death could not pass over the blood to touch them. Today death can stand at our door but it can not touch us. When death comes it is a blessing to the one who is in Christ. Paul said to be absent in body is to be present with the Lord. What Paul is saying? He is saying that in the end faith wins!

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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