"The Amelekites came and attacked Israel at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amelekites. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands."—Exodus 17:8,9
It sounded like a "cop-out" when Moses told Joshua to go and do the fighting. He was going to leave the battle scene and let Joshua do the dangerous work! What kind of leader is that? When the going gets rough, Moses goes up a hill! Was he fleeing the battle?
Joshua went and did as he was told. He went out to fight the Amelekites. If you or I were a tourist on the Sinai Peninsula at that time, we would see a strange sight! Down in the valley, the battle is going on. At times, the Amelekites are chasing the Israelites. Then, the tide turns, and the Israelites are chasing the Amelekites.
Now you look up on the hill. There's an old bearded man there. It looks like he is doing his calisthenics. His hands are up. They sag down. They go back up, and again they go down.
Then it begins to click! When the hands are up, God's people are chasing the Amelekites. When the hands go down, the Amelekites are chasing the Israelites.
Where was the battle decided? In the valley? No! On the hill. Imagine Joshua down in the valley and seeing his best soldiers being cut down by the Amelekites. He had every right to look up to Moses and ask, "What's going on up there? Get those hands back up!"
So we send missionaries out to do battle for the Lord. Sometimes they come home with glowing reports of victories won. At other times they tell of losses on the field. The lesson of this historical event is too obvious for words.