Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.(Exodus 17:8-16)
Immediately after the miracle of the smitten Rock which gushed forth with life giving water, Israel came under attack. Amalek, one of the grandsons of Esau, had grown into a tribe of hit and run fighters, preying on straggling travelers, the weak and sickly, and the young. The name “Amalek” means, “a people that licks up” , locust like.
These distant cousins of the miracle nation would become fierce resisters of Israel, and a constant thorn in her side. Here God swears that the war with Amalek would go from generation to generation, and warned the children of Israel to never forget what Amalek did to them in the desert,
Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.( Deuteronomy 25:17-19)
The cowardly way that Amalek fought, attacking civilians, and the sick and feeble and children, which is reflected in Muslim terrorism today , is particularly odious to God. Israel was instructed to wipe out the Amalekites, something which they wouldn’t completely do, to their own hurt.
Remember that Saul, the first King of Israel was disqualified because he had been tasked with fighting and killing all of the Amalekites. But when he captured the Amalekite king he spared him, for humanitarian reasons. When Samuel confronted Saul about this disobedience, Saul pretended to have fully obeyed the LORD, but the prophet Samuel would have none of it;
And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.( I Samuel 15:19-23)
What Samuel did next, illiterates the seriousness of the Commandment of God to war against the Amalekites perpetually,
Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.( I Samuel 15:32-33)
Notice the attempt by Agag, the king of the Amalekites to dialogue with Samuel on humanistic terms and appeal to the humanity and mercy of Israel which had become well known to the heathen( who themselves practiced neither). This is an incredibly modern description of our situation with the spiritual and perhaps physical heirs of the Amalekites.
Modern day Amalekites count on and base strategy on the mercy of the Judeo-Christian world, using innocents as human shields, and knowing the “rules of engagement” of armies tempered by mercy and too often tethered by feckless “Saul” like political leaders.
One pagan prophet, Balaam, who happened to have been filled with the Holy Spirit on ne occasion and prophesied against his own will, saw the last days, the coming of Jesus and Israel’s final conflict. He prophesied that as Amalek was the first official national enemy of the nation of Israel, so she would be the last enemy to resist Israel, before they(Amalek) perishes forever!
And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.( Numbers 24:20)
This is the reason The LORD ordained that the battle with Amalek be remembered forever. We see Amalek in the modern scourge of Islamic terrorism with it’s cowardly attacks on the weak and vulnerable, it’s religiously sanctioned rapes, and it’s inveterate anti-Semitism.
The battle was fought physically on the plain, but Spiritually on the mountain, for Moses was told to lift high his staff, (The symbol of God’s authority delegated) . But whenever Moses began to tire and falter, the Amalekites gained ground in the battle. The high Priest Aaron and Hur were enlisted to hold up Moses hands, and thus the battle was won, and Amalek retreated.
The lesson is this, we will always be resisted by heathendom, there will always be an AGag, a Pharaoh, Caesar or Hitler, but victory is in the LORD and not in horses or shields. The battle is always the LORD’S.
The Altar Moses built to commemorate the battle was called JAHWEH NISSI, The LORD our Banner(of victory).