Is the Lord among us or not?
“And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?” The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” NIV
After the Lord brought the people of Israel out of Egypt, He took them into the great desert of Sinai. In the desert they faced many hardships and attacks by marauding tribes. In the face of these challenges, their faith faltered. How quickly they seem to have forgotten the mighty signs and wonders that preceded their freedom from slavery. How quickly they went from singing “the Lord is my strength and my song” (Ex 15:2) to wondering, “is the Lord among us or not?”
The road to what God has promised us is not always an easy one. Being a Christian does not mean that we have immunity from trial and hardship. We must not forget that we do have an enemy that is determined to keep us from reaching our goal and keep us from fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. It seems the more awesome the promise, the greater the struggle.
When the enemy attacks us, when trial and hardship come our way, we must be especially careful not to let our guard down and see only the problems that confront us. That’s what the people of Israel did in the desert: every time they were confronted with a problem or a difficult situation, they allowed themselves to be overwhelmed with doubt and fear. They were quick to conclude that God had abandoned them or that somehow their problems were too big even for God.
And so they were always murmuring against God.
The answer to their predicament, however, was right there all along: God’s word to Moses, “Raise your staff… stretch out your hand…” (Ex 14:16). You see, God’s faithfulness and power is not the issue; the real question is our attitude and what we choose to do when faced with challenge and trial.
Now the staff symbolizes both the authority and providence of God that is invested in the man or woman of faith. God expects us to go out and face the enemy in the authority that He has already given us. And when we go out in faith and stand up to the enemy we see the deliverance of the Lord.
So then, when we hear the enemy approaching we must instinctively reach for that “staff of God” that is given to every believer and prepare for battle sure in the knowledge that victory is ours.
And that is what Mosses did. In the midst of doubt and unbelief, he reached for his staff and went out and stood against his enemies. As long as Moses stood on that hill with the staff of God raised up, the armies of Israel prevailed over the Amalekites. Faith never fails!
After the Amalekites were defeated, God revealed to Moses one of His compound names: Jehovah Nissi (The Lord is my banner). I believe that when we go out in faith and stand against the enemy in the authority that we have in Christ Jesus, Jehovah Nissi unfurls His banner over us! Who can stand against us then?
Are you under attack right now? Is the enemy encamped against you at this very moment? Is the enemy coming against your family or your finances or your business? Don’t allow fear and doubt to fill your heart. Don’t be wondering whether the Lord is with you or not. He has already declared that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Now is the time to reach for your staff and go and stand on the hill with hands raised up to heaven. Go, and Jehovah Nissi Himself will give you the victory.
Arise man of God. Arise woman of God. Go and stand on the hill with the staff of God in your hand. Take hold of the promise of God. Enter into that which the Lord has given you.