In Part 1, I wrote about Moses and the Staff of God; emphasizing that we each are accountable to God to use that which He has given us to further His kingdom. Today I want to revisit this story in the life of Moses and Joshua that encourages accountability between men.
“Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim.” (Exodus 17:8).
Remember who they are fighting, the Amalekites, perhaps the most savage and inhumane of the Canaanites.
- They were a nomadic tribe of formidable people that first attacked the Israelites after the Exodus at Rephidim (Exodus 17:8).
- They were descendants of Amalek, the grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:12) and they inhabited the desolate wasteland of the northeast Sinai peninsula and the Negev Desert.
- They were the first to attack Israel after the Exodus (Numbers 24:20). Israel won the initial battle (Exodus 17:8-16), but later was driven back into the Sinai wilderness by a coalition of Amalekites and Canaanites (Numbers 14:43, 45).
- From then on, the Amalekites waged a successful guerrilla war against Israel (Deuteronomy 25:17-19). Fighting even continued after Israel settled in the Promised Land.
- Because of their atrocities, God commanded Saul to exterminate the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:2-3), but Saul disobeyed, and the Amalekites were not defeated completely until late in the eighth century B.C. (1 Chronicles 4:43). Interestingly, no archaeological data concerning the Amalekites has been discovered. Talk about God wiping them out (1 Samuel 15:3).
Now with the history lesson over, notice what is happening. According to Deuteronomy 25:18, they would attack the stragglers, those who were weak and weary. Think about how many men get attacked by the enemy simply because they are not keeping up with the right crowd.
Straggling behind is really all that most men need to do in order to have the enemy harass, capture, control and destroy them right before their (and their family’s) eyes. Stragglers don’t have their eyes on the prize, or their minds on the task before them. They wander through life underestimating the mission, tactics, power and the patience of the enemy. These enemies don’t come at you with a frontal assault, but will subtlety grab you when you least expect it; perhaps a moment of weakness at the computer late at night or on a business trip, or maybe joking with that attractive co-worker in the office break room. The stragglers were faint and weary (Deuteronomy 25:18). We need strength to defeat this enemy.
So what? Do we not see the importance of accountability for men? We need other men to keep us moving forward, to keep us from straggling, to keep us focused on the important areas of our lives. Men, please don’t be caught straggling behind!