A Good Battle Strategy

Exodus 17:9-11
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." So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.
In order to defend themselves in a battle against the Amalekites, Moses kept his hands raised with aid from Aaron and Hur.

How is this a good battle strategy? Did Gen. MacArthur ever do this?

The “raised hands” battle strategy isn’t what it looks like to the enemy. From the enemy’s perspective, there was an old man on a hilltop with a staff raised in his hands. It may have seemed like a strange way to view a battle. He certainly wasn’t fighting.

From Aaron and Hur’s point of view, the staff in the hands of Moses must continue to be raised in order to triumph because whenever Moses lowered his staff, the enemy was winning. Moses was unable to stand for as long as the battle raged. Aaron and Hur got a stone for Moses to sit on. When raising the staff became difficult for Moses, Aaron and Hur each took one of Moses’ arms and steadied him.

The extra strength Aaron and Hur brought to the battle was exactly what the warriors needed. The warriors fought with swords, face-to-face with the enemy, but they didn’t need Aaron and Hur to pick up weapons and join them. They depended on Aaron and Hur’s cooperation with Moses for their victory.

Moses was simply obeying God. His obedience was a sign to the warriors that violence alone doesn’t win a war. This may have been the event that persuaded Joshua to win the battle of Jericho by simply obeying God.

Sometimes our plans seem like the smart thing to do, but without obedience to God, our plans will not help us win.

Gideon and the Few Men

Judges 7:7
The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place."
Is too many men in an army a problem? It was for Gideon.

The Lord hand-picked Gideon’s army. The fearful and those who knelt to drink with their heads next to the water were sent home. The only men left to fight were those who were brave and observant. Gideon saw God’s lesson in army-building. True warriors know what’s going on around them, and they rise to the challenge.

Out of the thousands of Israelite men, only 300 made the cut. These men didn’t get to use state of the art weaponry. They used trumpets, empty jars, and torches.

All Gideon had to do was listen to God’s guidance and obey. But he wasn’t a courageous warrior, so God gave him something to do to build his courage. He sent Gideon to his enemy’s camp to listen to them.

When you’re preparing for battle and you overhear your enemy confessing that God has given you the victory, that would certainly build your courage. You’d shout with joy – at the appropriate time, of course.

Gideon followed God’s instruction and the enemy fled. Obviously, you don’t need a large army if the enemy runs away at the shout of 300 voices.

Even though I know they only had swords to fight with, my imagination has that terrified army running away and shooting behind them, not looking to see who they pointed the gun at. The enemy lost a lot of soldiers with friendly fire.

Gideon’s army was small but very effective because of God’s guidance. The lesson to learn in this battle is that the size of your enemy doesn’t matter, the size of your army doesn’t matter, but listening to and obeying God is everything.

Do you have a battle you need to win?

Unusual Battle at Jericho

Joshua 6:10
But Joshua had commanded the people, "Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!"
In the thirty-third chapter of Numbers, the Lord said to Moses that the Israelites would have to drive out the inhabitants of Canaan and take possession of the land. Over the next several chapters, the Lord explained in detail how the Israelites should divide up the land and how they should live in the land the Lord would give them. So the Israelites knew that this land was theirs if they would obey the Lord and take it.

Moses died in the desert and didn’t go into the promised land, but he laid his hand on Joshua so that he was given a spirit of wisdom. As the new leader of the Israelites, Joshua had to send out spies to see what lay ahead. In the second chapter of the book of Joshua, Rahab gave shelter to the spies and told them her people had already heard about how God was taking care of them and had given the land to them. In return for hiding them, she asked the spies to remember her and her family when the Lord gives them Jericho. For three days, Joshua and his officers went to the Israelites and instructed them to carry out detailed orders about their trip into the promised land.

The Lord built up everyone’s confidence in Joshua when they crossed over the Jordan River on dry ground just as they crossed over the Red Sea under Moses’ command. After the leaders constructed a memorial so that generations of children would ask and be told about how God sent them across the Jordan on dry ground as a sign to all people that they should fear the Lord because he is powerful, they circumcised all the Israelite men in obedience to God. They remained in their camp until they were healed, without fear of the Canaanite kings along the coast because no one had enough courage to face the Israelites after hearing how God had dried up the Jordan.

The king of Jericho had closed the city so that no one came in and no one went out. He thought Jericho’s city walls were enough to protect them, but he did not know the Lord. Joshua gave instructions for the unusual battle plan. The people marched around the city for six days and on the seventh, they shouted in obedience to God. Joshua instructed the spies to go into Jericho and get Rahab and all her family, but no one else was to be spared.

The Lord prepared the people and their leaders to obey his commands and find great success in their battle. When they took the city, they were proving what God had said. The Canaanites had good reason to fear the Lord. He’s powerful and mighty and can take care of his people.

The Lord proved that no wall was a problem for him. The mighty walls of Jericho fell without the use of dynamite or other explosives. The battle was successful because of the obedience of Joshua and his people.