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TRUST GODíS COVENANT LOVE
Have you ever found yourself so frustrated that you cry out, "Is the LORD among us, or not?" Have you seen giants in the land and declared to God, "The enemy is too strong for us!" Or have you wondered how God would move you through a seemingly impossible situation?
Recently, as the Lord was preparing my husband, Rev. Jim Craig, and I to go to Scandinavia July 4-16, He impressed upon me that the spirit we would be up against had to do with the Amalekites. Somehow it all related to the Vikings, pirates, and even South Florida. Somehow we were learning a new lesson in spiritual warfare.
Who were the Amalekites? They were pastoral, nomadic raiders, a people with no fear of God, God-defiant ones with an unrelenting and destructive spirit who attacked the rear guard and who cut off those who became physically weak, the old, and children. God told the Israelites to treat them differently. Deuteronomy 20.10-12 tells us that no offer of peace was to be given to them first.
Believed to be descendants of Esau (Genesis 36.12,16) by most, the Amalekites lived between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea in the land of the southÖfrom Havilah to Shur.(Genesis 14.7, Numbers 13.29, 1 Samuel 15.7) Their kings bore the hereditary name of Agag (Numbers 24.7, 1 Samuel 15.8, cf. Esther and Haman, the Agagite). They attempted to stop the Israelites when they marched through their territory (Deut.25.18), attacking them at Rephidim.
Scripture describes this powerful and influential nation (Numbers 24.7) governed by kings and possessing cities (1 Samuel 15.5, 20, 32) as wicked (1 Samuel 15.18), oppressive (Judges 10.12), warlike and cruel (1 Samuel 15.33). The first to oppose Israel(Exodus 17.8), they were doomed to utter destruction, as the Lord would oppose the Amalekites from generation to generation. (Exodus 17.14, 16; Deuteronomy 25.19; Numbers 14.20)
Moses and Joshua came up against the Amalekites right after a lot of murmuring and complaining from the Hebrews in the wilderness. It went like this. The people murmured about no water, and God provided, making bitter waters sweet and revealing that He is Jehovah Raphe, the Covenant Lord who Heals (Exodus 15). Then in the wilderness of Sin between Elim and Sinai, they murmured against Moses and Aaron over their hunger, and God provided manna and quail. God gave specific instructions, which the people refused to keep. (Exodus 16)
When the children of Israel came to Rephidim, and there was no water to drink, they chided Moses and murmured. (Exodus 17.3-7) They tempted the Lord and so tested covenant love. God had redeemed this people out of Egypt. They had seen His power and His provision. They had found Him faithful to His promises, the promises He had made to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God was bringing them out of bondage, but they were having trouble receiving His grace and His gracious provision.
The people were slaves, families, who had seen God supply in famine and thirst, had seen God part the sea. But in their frustration and fear, they challenged God rather than praise Him. They said, "Is the LORD among us, or not?"
"Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim." Joshua led the men in battle while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of this hill. When Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed. When he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. They had to hold Mosesí hands up to win. And then 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 Jehovah-Nissi: for he said, Because the Lord has sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." (Exodus 17.14-16)
Yes, God is Jehovah-Nissi, the Covenant Lord our Banner, the Lord the Conqueror.
Whatís going on here? What is God trying to say? What does He desire of these people, and us?
Look, youíve seen God supply in your life. Youíve seen how gracious He is, how He provides, how powerful He is. After all Heís done in the past, as you have trusted His grace in the past, trust Him for future grace. Trust Him today. Trust in Godís covenant love. He doesnít change. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. He wants you to trust Him, who He is. He is the I AM THAT I AM. He is Jehovah Raphe, the One who makes bitter waters sweet. He is Jehovah-Jireh, the One who provides Himself the sacrifice. But if you challenge Him, and want to know if He is among you or not, then prepare yourself for the Amalekites. Then you will know God as Jehovah-Nissi. You will experience Him in the power and hold of His covenant love.
In Numbers 14 we find Israel "didnít get it." They had seen Godís glory and His miracles. They tempted God ten times and didnít hearken to His voice. They provoked God. You see, the spies had been sent out to explore Canaan, the promised land. Verse 29 says that the Amalekites dwelt in the land of the south along with some other fierce peoples. Caleb said, "Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it." But the others said, "no, the enemy is too strong for us." They brought up an evil report of the land. There were giants there.
So, again they murmured against Moses and Aaron. God judged the people as an evil congregation, as murmuring against Him. Only Joshua and Caleb would enter the promised land. That generation would perish in the wilderness for despising their inheritance from the Lord. Their children would wander in the wilderness 40 years and bear their whoredoms and iniquities. In presumption they went up against the Amalekites, but the Lord was not with them because they had turned away from the Lord. (Numbers 14.39-45)
In Gideonís day, the Amalekites and the children of the east arose as grasshoppers against Israel, surrounding them and destroying the increase of the earth.(Judges 6) Gideon questioned God, but not with the heart of complaint and murmuring and doubt and challenge. His was more of a "You areÖ" rather than an "are You?" Gideon became a mighty warrior by declaration of Godís mouth. In his appeal to God, he approached God in humility. He came as Godís servant, as one desiring to clarify instructions and to have all doubt and fear removed.
God downsized Israelís army to 300 before the battle began. Gideon proceeded in confidant expectation of victory. The trumpet was blown and they said, "The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon." You see, Gideon had received a revelation of the LORD as Jehovah-Shalom. The Lord had said to him, "Peace be unto you; fear not. You shall not die." With that revelation and as the Lord was with Gideon, he had victory.
Amalekites stand for pirates, plunder, and poverty. These marauders cause great fear. If you challenge Godís covenant love, God will put faith to the test. If you doubt He is with you, faithful to keep covenant, He may very well withdraw His presence. God IS with youÖby Covenant. You can go to have your doubt removed, but not challenging. You can go seeking, but not strutting.
God desires obedience, the natural outcome of faith. If obedience is a problem, then God may raise up a circumstance in which you can only trust Him. Trusting is harder than obedience. With obedience, God gives you something to do. With trust, you must wait on Him. You must watch Him. You must worship Him. With trust, you let God arise and see your enemies be scattered. With trust, you see God as your Jehovah-Jireh, your Jehovah-Raphe, your Jehovah-Nissi, your Jehovah-Shalom.
With trust, God gets all the glory, because surely the Amalekites are too strong for us. We must stand on Godís covenant promises. When we do, He prevails.
The Amalekites are all around us today. They are pirates and plunderers who pillage with no fear of God. They believe in fate or chance. They consider themselves masters of their own destiny. They are those who deny and defy God. They read their horoscopes and have tarot readings. They do their little rituals and dance around maypoles wearing flowers in their hair while worshiping the goddess. They plot vain things and conspire against God. But He who sits in the heavens laughs (Psalm 2).
Nevertheless, our God is Jehovah-Elyon, the Covenant Lord
Most High. Our God reigns. Psalm 83, a prayer to frustrate conspiracy against Israel, declares that as God confounds and dismays His enemies, they are put to shame and perish, and they will know that God, whose name alone is the Covenant Lord, is the Most High over all the earth.
Yes, one day all will come before the living God, to behold Him either as Judge or as Covenant Lord. The only way to resurrection life is through the only Mediator between God and Man, even Jesus Christ, who gave Himself a ransom for all, and who guarantees Godís covenant love for all who know Him as the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but through Him. (John 14.6)
Today, many want to change the image of the Vikings. Documentaries and magazine articles say they have had "bad press" in the past because of their raids on Christian monasteries and their plundering of the peoples. They went everywhere, into Russia, into Asia, into Europe, into North America. We go to England, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, and to Russia, to declare the Higher Covenant in Jesus Christ and to break the blood curse. We go to call seven nations to repentance and to resurrection in the Name of Jesus Christ, Lion of the tribe of Judah. We go in our generation against the spirit of Amalek, but the battle is the Lordís.
Calling the nations to resurrection,
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren
and for strangers,
Who have borne witness of your love before the church.
If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well,
Because they went forth for His nameís sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles.
We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth. 3 John 5-8
© 2000 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.
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