‘ONLY’ our UNITY will DEFEAT our ENEMY: Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, "Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand." So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands became heavy; so 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 the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. (Exodus 17:8-13)
After the defeat of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea, this was the children of Israel’s first encounter with a hostile people that took place at Rephidim. Israel had watched God defeat the Egyptians at the Red Sea, but now they had to enter the battle themselves and trust God for victory!
The Amalekites, a nomadic group based in southern Palestine, were the descendants of Esau (Gen. 36:12–16) and according to Deut. 25: 17–19, they launched a pre-emptive unprovoked assault upon Israel from the rear. In fact, they took cruel advantage of those who were weak, faint and weary among the Israelite stragglers, as they “did not fear God.” As Esau’s descendants, the Amalekites also had a deep-seated grudge against the Israelites (Jacob’s descendents), especially seeing their rapid prosperity due to the blessing contained in their birthright.
How did Israel defeat their enemy? Joshua (meaning ‘salvation’) and his army engaged in direct warfare with the enemy. Israel’s success against Amalek was determined by the uplifted hand of Moses (v. 11). However, we see that “Moses’ hands became heavy” (v. 12). When that happened, Aaron and Hur were with him to support him by holding his hands up from both sides until sunset when the Amalekites were defeated. Aaron was the brother of Moses and Hur was the husband of Miriam, Moses’ sister (according to the Jewish historian Josephus). Joshua defeated the Amalekites with the edge of his sword, and won a conclusive victory.
How can we defeat our enemy? We have only one enemy - Satan and his demonic forces (Ephesians 6:12). Let us understand that it takes intercession on the mountain as well as intervention in the valley for us to win the victory over Satan. The uplifted hand of Moses (v. 11) signifies our prayer and supplication to God with uplifted hands (Psalms 28:2; 1 Tim. 2:8). However, we see that “Moses’ hands became heavy” (v. 12) signifying us growing weary in prayer while we “always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Aaron and Hur holding the hands of Moses show the intercessory prayerful support of our spiritual brothers and sisters. Finally, it was Joshua who defeated the Amalekites with the edge of his sword that tells us that we too should apply God’s Word (see Hebrews 4:12) as an offensive weapon in defeating Satan, just like Jesus did when He was tempted by Satan (Luke 4:1-13).
Above all, let us understand that only our unity will defeat our enemy. "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor 1:10). "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Tim 6:12).