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02(Exodus 17,08-09) Both sides of the Shield

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Both sides of the Shield – Ex 17:8,9

Ex 17:8-9 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. [9] And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. (KJV)

In trying to understand the truths of God, we are often in danger of being one-sided. We take a side and run with it, often blinded to the other side of the truth.

Two men examine a shield: one says it is of gold, the other of iron. Yet it is the same shield.

Some see only the sovereignty of God, thus deny the responsibility of man. Others see that Christ died for all men, and see nothing of the justice/soveriegnty of God.

Some have come to reconcile two great doctrines. “How do you make these agree?” Well, how do I make 2 things agree that never fell out. God knows where these two harmonize, and if he wants me to know it he will.

Besides, as they come from God’s mouth, it would be as difficult for you to show me that they do not agree as for me to show you that they do agree. Both spoken by God, who can not lie. “What thou knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter.”

I.                    Persecution in its double aspect.

On one hand, attack upon Israel from amalek’s great sin, to atttack the people of God. As a result (see v.14).

On the other hand, attack is result of Israel’s sin (see v8, ‘then came Amalek’).

On one hand, rest in assurance that “vengence is mine, sayeth the Lord.”

Israel’s sin—quarreling with God. Little wonder others quarreled with them. If you had the prophetic eye you might see your chastening in your offense. If we withhold from service, little wonder God withholds from us, withhold from offering, he withholds from financial blessings. Slow to forgive, don’t soon feel forgiven ourselves.

NEW golden rule – ‘do unto God as you would have God do unto you.’ (PS 18:25-26).

Though God forgives, he chastens, and he chastens all the more because he forgives. He condemns us in our consciences, the he may not condemn us at the judgment-seat. He afflicts us here, that we are not destroyed. We are being conformed, to be presented a chaste virgin.

Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

2 Cor 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Therefore, when attacks are made upon us, let us be more careful to search our own hearts, and examine our own lives, than to condemn the faults of other men.

II.                  Prudence in its double aspect.

Moses said to Joshua, go and fight. But will Moses go too? No, he says he will go to the mountaintop and pray.

Prudence prays with Moses, while it fights with Joshua.

In like manner, we must learn to balance work and worship, prayer for victory and conflict with the enemy.

Moses did not call for the people to pray when it was time to fight. “Faith without works is dead.” We cannot expect to have souls saved if we pray and never preach.

We cannot expect to have our children saved if we only pray for them night/day, and never speak to them about salvation, and instruct them in the things of God.

Total dependence upon God is not neglected. Moses ascends the hill, and the banner is the rod of God.

In our work for God, we generally fall into one of two blunders. Either we get a lot of machinery, thinking we will accomplish everything by that, or else we confide so much in prayer that we have done nothing but pray.

Prayer is a downright mockery if it does not lead us into the practical use of the means likely to promote the ends about which we are praying.

I have known those who have taken medicine when ill, and never pray about their sickness. Others who pray about their sickness, but never take the proper medicine. They are both wrong!

You must have Joshua, and you must have Moses, too. Go before God with your sickness, and if he has appointed a means of curing it, use it, for God will bless you by the use of means.

Try to see two sides of a thing.

Practical prudence will lead you to do both. It gives to Joshua his sword, to make it red with the blood of his enemies. And it gives to Moses his rod, to take to the top of the hill for others to see, and know that the battle is the Lord’s.

God make you wise in these things, and enable you to use both the rod of God and the sword of man!

So you see that, though two things may look contradictory, they are often both really true, and are both different sides of one shield. Try to always see both sides of every truth revealed in scripture.

Truths can be like train tracks. Never coming together, always parallel, but don’t try to join them or take one up. Travel along them until you come to God, who will reveal all things to you.

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