“WINNING THE BATTLES OF LIFE”                                      By Pastor YAU

Exodus 17:8-16                                                                                 July 17, 2005



1)     Life is a battle ground: Some people described life as a battle ground---you have to fight to survive. Starting from the day a baby is born, he has to fight the unfriendly environment the world has to offer: all kinds of germs and diseases, taking so many shots just to protect them from harm that he will grow up healthy. By the time he is old enough to go to daycare, he needs to fight for attention of the workers the peers. Then in grade school, he has to fight for acceptance, grades, peer pressures and the favor of the teachers. And then when he goes to college, to job market, to finding dates and many more hurdles he has to overcome just to survive and if he is lucky, he may make it to something some how.   

2)     Spiritual growth is also a battle to win: The same happens to spiritual growth. Ever since the great fall, men have to fight to resist the corrupted nature, temptation from the inside and out, crossing rivers of evil all over, climbing mountains of human deficiency and constantly fight the spiritual war against the devil every day of his life. No one was born with a godly inclination. We all were born with a tendency of downhill spiral of spiritual deprivation.

3)     The Exodus journey:  The history of the Exodus of the Israelites is a journey all people of God need to travel. We may learn important lessons form that part of history both on individual and corporate level. The struggles, setbacks, battles and victories of the ancient Israelis are the same as for modern day Christians. Though the Exodus was commanded by God, the journey was never a smooth one.  The battle against the Amalekites as recorded in this chapter 17 in Exodus is a great story for us to learn some of the lessons and techniques on how to win over the battles of life both in this world and the spiritual level.

(Please read Exodus 17:8-16 before continue reading the message)


KNOW THE BATTLES YOU WILL FIGHT:  Knowing our enemies and their schemes may help us strategize our defense better and winning more battles. Here are some of the facts and strategies we need to know:

1)     There is more than one enemy: From leaving Egypt to arriving in Canaan, the Israelis had encountered more than one enemy. The Amalekites were just one of the many enemies Israel encountered in their journey to the Promised Land. Other enemies such as the Philistines and the Edomites, the Ammonites and the Medianites all were also eager to make their life miserable. No one could assume that life will be peaceful if you do your part right. The same happens to real life today. Challenges and hurdles are part of everyday life. Problems and difficulties are companies of every human being. Don’t be surprised by the number of enemies or battles you may have at one time or another.

2)     Battles and enemies need no invitation: They will come to you anytime anywhere they choose to without warning. Just read 17:1, while the Israelis were traveling peacefully finding their way out of the land of oppression and slavery, the Amalakites decided to come and attacked them without warning or reason. You don’t have to do anything wrong, don’t have to provoke anyone’s anger, don’t have to be blamed of anything, problems, betrayal, criticism, let downs and unfair treatments will find their way to you. That is life and we can do nothing about it.

3)     Battles come in many forms:  Physical battles may be brutal but are easy to recognize and fight. Battle from outside are easier to be identified. But there are enemies and battles you never imagine they will come but they do. I don’t mean you need to be suspicious of all the people around you. What I am trying to say is DO NOT be surprised if one of your “friends” turned out to be your fearful enemy someday. People whom you trust the most might one day lift his heel against you as David had lamented. (Psalm 41:9) There are also battles of the flesh, the evil nature of man. Battles of the heart, the greed, the hatred and the thoughts. Battles of the world, temptations, worldly values and pleasure seeking life style. We are constantly at wars and battles against the devil, the world and our corrupted nature.



1)      Don’t run, face the challenge: (17:9a) In the face of a battle, Moses took his ground and prepared for the war. He gave order to Joshua to select some of the men to fight. Running away from challenge is the same as defeat. Plan and prepare to counter challenges is the best: the best defense is offence. We can’t run from all troubles and problems. Once you run, troubles and problems will follow you until you collapse and surrender. The same is to face temptation and attack by Satan. We need to take the stand and fight back, and the devil will run. (James 4:7)

2)      Go to battles with God on your side: (17:9b) When the army of Pharaoh pursued the people of Israel on the banks of the Red Sea. God asked Moses to stand on the top of the hill and lift up his staff. As Moses did what God had told him, the Red Sea was parted and the people crossed over in dry land to the other side. The staff in the hand of Moses is the symbol of God’s presence, power and protection. He will not allow His people to be defeated. In fighting battles of life, we need to lift God up, way up that everyone can see that God is with us. He is our defender and deliverer. In Him there is no defeat.

3)      Never fight battles alone: (17:10) Moses did not fight the battle all by himself. He had good people around him: Joshua, the general, Aaron and Hur, his faithful supporters. Joshua led the people fighting the battle while Aaron and Hur stood by Moses to lend him support when he needed. One of the worst ways in fighting the battles of life is fighting it all by yourself without help from good people. King Solomon advised us that “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastics 4:12)

4)      Seek and welcome support: (17:12) No one is all invincible, not even Moses. There will be times you will feel weak like Moses did. Be humble and gracious to accept assistance from people around you, especially those on God’s side. It is never shameful to ask and receive help from friends. Fighting the battle all by yourself and get defeated is. On the other hand be  an Aaron or a Hur to your friends when they have needs in fighting battles. Lend them support, stand by them use whatever resource is available, such as a rock so Moses could sit, hold their hands and lift their heads high when they are feeling weak. Be a team to someone and win the battle.



1)     Continue to walk to God: (17:14) Remember you will have more battles after this one. You will need God down the road. Never feel independent from God. Too often, people forget God after they have won a battle: a broken relationship was restored, recover from a serious sickness, found a long-waited job, turn around a failing business, etc. God is never an emergency rescue worker. Don’t treat God like that. Moses continued to hear God’s command. It is our life long walk with God that brings Him into the picture of our battles. Never think you are safe now and you don’t need God any more.

2)     Tell others what God has done: (17:14b) God asked Moses to write the story down and read it to Joshua and I assume to all the people of Israel as well. We need to witness to others what God has done in our lives, about His power, and His love, about His guiding hand and leadership. Give glory and honor God deserves in helping you wining battles of life. Never pretend or imply that it is all your own efforts or wisdom or power that you have won the battles. Your testimony may encourage others to seek God when they are in time of battles.

3)     Be devoted and dedicated to God: (17:15) Moses built an altar and called it “The Lord is my Banner (victory).” Building an altar and acknowledging the Lord is his victory demonstrated the commitment and worshipful spirit of Moses. He did not claim any credit for the victory. He acknowledged that the victory is of God. The first thing Moses did was worshipping God with an altar. He continued his devotion to God after the victory. Never allow victories in your life to become stumbling blocks between you and God. Continue to be devoted to Him and serve Him diligently the rest of your life.



1)     Be prepared for battles:  Live “happily ever after” is a dream or a wish. No one has ever lived a life without battles, setbacks, pain and suffering. Don’t feel bad or sad when things suddenly happen that may drag you down the drain. Evil is everywhere and bad thing could happen anytime anywhere.

2)     Seek God and His help: When you face troubles and insurmountable mountains, seek God and His help. Jesus has promised that we will have peace in Him even at time of trouble and pain. (John 16:33) Don’t fight your battle all by yourself. Ask God to fight it for you because He has overcome the world.

3)     Have Jesus as commander of your life: Don’t live your life alone to face all kinds of challenges and battles. Jesus wants to walk with you. He can and will help you tackle all things in your life and bring you victory. Acknowledge your need for Him, ask Him to be your Lord and Savior and have the confidence to face anything without fear.