Richard Agee

Exodus 17: Journey to the 10: Wilderness of Sin to Massah and Meribah; Amalek terrorized Israel

Richard AgeeThe territory of סִין Sin — a place-name, not the term for moral malady — that Israel transversed after leaving Mitsraim (Egypt) was a very large place. It’s in the area where Mt. Sinai is located.

Yisra’el in a ‘thorny’ situation

The word for Sinai, סִינַי Shinai (Strong’s lexicon No. H5514), means “thorny” — nothing grows there. Remember in the book of Joshua when the children of Israel were between the two mountains (Josh. 8:30–35)? One was lush and beautiful, one was barren and dull and God had them build their altar on the barren mountain. Mt. Sinai is also a barren mountain. 

When the people started grumbling about the lack of water, God told Moshe (Moses) to gather some of the elders and take the staff Moshe used to smite the Nile and go to a specific place. God told Moshe that He would stand on top of the rock and told Moshe to hit the rock. There’s a reason that God told Moshe to hit the rock to make the water come out. This rock was struck before the giving of the 10 Commandments — “living water” preceded law. 

Was this a great miracle? Why did God bring the people to a place with no water, no beautiful foliage? They didn’t just wander here and there. God Himself brought them to this place with the guidance of the cloud. Every place they went was of God’s choosing, not Moshe’ choosing.  

We are told in Scripture that the rock represents the Messiah (1st Cor. 10:1–5). Paul says it was the rock that went with them from place to place, just as God Himself was in the cloud by day and fire by night. God, though the rock, gave them life before He gave them the covenant of Sinai. 

They renamed this place Massah and Meribah. The word מַסָּה Massah (H4532) means testing, proving or rebellion because it was here that the people were rebelling against Moshe. It was also called מְרִיבָה Meribah (H4809), which means “place of strife” because “they were testing God” (Ex. 17:7). They wanted “proof” that God was with them.

God fights Amalek

Right after this incident, God allows Amalek to come to war against Israel. They wanted “proof” of God’s guidance, God gave them a profound test, a test of war. Far more significant than a temporary lack of water.

Amalek was a descendant of Esau, the grandson of Esau, aka Edom. The area we call the Sinai peninsula has never been Edomite territory. That spot was called Sinai by Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine. The real Mt. Sinai is located in the ancient Edomite territory, which Paul referred to as Arabia (Gal. 1:17; 4:25). This first battle of Israel vs. Amalek occurred in the Edomite land of in Arabia, not in Egypt. 

This was only a one-way war, it didn’t last for very long. Moshe asked Yehoshua (Joshua) to choose the men to fight against Amalek. 

Moshe told Yehoshua that he will go up to a high hill with the staff of God in his hand. This is the same staff that God turned into a snake, the same rod Moshe used to turn the water into blood and to part the Red Sea. 

Moshe went up on the hill with Aharon (Aaron) and Khur (Hur) by his side with arms raised in prayer. When Moshe’ arms were up, Israel prevailed but when his arms grew weary, Amalek prevailed. Amalek came to destroy Israel at a place called Rephidim, where they ended up resting for over a year.

Khur’s name, חוּר (H2354), means to be white or glows white. White is the presence of all colors. One of Khur’s sons later became one of the most important men who built the tabernacle. 

At the end of this experience, Moshe was told by God to write this story down and to recite it to Yehoshua so that Joshua would know the other side of the story. Joshua was in the thick of the battle and didn’t know at the time he was fighting that Moshe, Aharon and Khur were also on his side in their own way. 

While we were still at war with God, God took His son’s life for us (Rom. 5:6–11).

Speaker: Richard Agee. Reader: Jeff. Summary: Tammy.


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