Exodus Chapter 17

Thus far, the children of Israel had been delivered by the hand of God from the oppressive Egyptians. They were led across the dry land of the Red Sea when Moses had parted the waters. They have been blessed with bread from heaven and quail, both provided by the Lord, in their time of need. The journey of the Israelites continues as follows:

1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.
2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?
3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
4 And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
5 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.
6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?

The next place the Israelites stopped in, was Rephidim. There was no water there for them. Since the Lord had provided for them in such great ways before, they turned to Moses for help. Moses was the prophet and could plead on their behalf. It says they chided him, which sounds like they had a feeling of entitlement from the Lord. They took their complaints to Moses. Moses asked them why they tempted the Lord to give them water. They began to murmur again for Moses bringing them out of Egypt. Moses turned to the Lord and asked for help to know what to do for the people. It sounds as though he felt they were almost willing to kill him over this. The Lord told him to go with the elders or leaders of the Israelites to a place called Horeb. He was to take his rod and while there in front of the people, he was to hit a rock where the Lord would lead him, and water would come out of it. Moses did as he was commanded and water was provided to the people.

8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
9 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.
10 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.
11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
12 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.
13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
14 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.
15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:
16 For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

Next, prepared to fight against Amalek in a place called Rephidim. He called Joshua to lead those who would fight and told him that he would go to the top of the hill, I think to assure him that he would seek the help of the Lord. They fought and when Moses raised his hand, Israel would be winning. If he let his hand down, Amalek would be winning instead. To help Moses keep his arms up, since they grew heavy as he tired, they put a stone under him for sitting, and Aaron and Hur helped him keep his hands up. The men under Joshua prevailed with the help of the power of God through Moses. It says they discomfited Amalek, which the footnote says means to weaken or disable. It doesn’t mean they destroyed them all. I have to wonder it that means they would fight with them again. Moses was commanded to record this happening so that it would be remembered. Then Moses built and altar with an oath to God, to be a reminder of this fight as well.

The Israelites had a consistent problem with looking back to their lives before, whenever they faced difficulty in their present situation. A lesson in this for us, is that when we have chosen to devote ourselves to the Lord, or when we have chosen to make covenants with him, as the Israelites had, we should not look back to life before and complain about what we have. We need to look forward in faith and hope that the Lord will provide for us when we do what we are called to do.

In the last chapter of Exodus, the bread of life was the focus for the Israelites. Again, this water is a type or representation of Christ. He is often times referred to, as the rock of our salvation. Here the Israelites went to a specific rock for the water. Christ is the source of living water. Again we must turn to him for our sustenance, just as the Israelites went to this rock for theirs. We can remember this and think of the Savior, as we drink of the water of the sacrament today. The water that the Lord provides for us, is the everlasting gospel which leads to eternal life. We cannot live to a fulness of joy in the eternities, without the living water He provides.

I imagine Aaron and Hur were the counselors to Moses, who would sustain and support the prophet so that he could accomplish the work of the Lord. I wonder what kind of support I could give to the prophet today, which would help him to accomplish his work for the Lord. Every time I raise my hand to sustain the prophet, such as in General Conference, I am making an oath to the Lord, that I will do my part. My part is to do those things that I am called to do after the pattern that the Lord has established. When the prophet announces a change, I need to be more willing to accept and follow it, doing all I can to help the work along. A recent example of this, is the new curriculum for the youth which started world wide in January. The stake I live in, was given the opportunity to test this new program last year. I was teaching the youth at the time, and had the chance to teach in a completely new style. In order to sustain and support the prophet, and do my part in the work, I needed to adapt to a new teaching style. It was not always easy, but I went forward in faith and I was richly blessed along the way. I know that as the members of the Lord’s church, are willing to sustain and support His prophet and other church leaders, the church is greatly blessed. I know this is a matter of personal devotion. When we follow the prophet’s counsel and magnify our callings in the church, we are showing the Lord that we are devoted to Him and the work of His gospel.


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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.


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