The Israelites had been rescued from the Egyptians. God had just quenched their thirst again. The next part of their journey of faith was a fight. God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although it was near, "lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt" (Ex 13:17). Knowing His people, God tried His best to avoid war for them. But now they had no choice: they had to fight, or else die by the hand of the Amalekites.
The Israelites had been enslaved for many centuries. The newfound freedom God had given for them was under threat. Even if they did not all die by the hands of the Amalekites, surely their women and children would be enslaved. Could they afford to give up and hand themselves over to the Amalekites? After all that God has done for them, and after tasting freedom from the Egyptians, they were not about to go back and become slaves of another nation.
Yet now, as before, they had God on their side. What God says, God can do. God was their defender, who would fight for them. But were they ready to fight for themselves with God on their side? How much they valued their newfound freedom rested upon their willingness to fight. The sun rose and Moses, Aaron and Hur were on top of the hill with the rod of God in Mosesâ€™ hand.
Until the going down of the sun, Joshua and the people fought. With God, they won the battle. You could almost see the celebrations taking place again with the words, "I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously" (Ex 15:1). It had been a struggleâ€”back and forth the battle had raged, at times near victory, at times near defeat. Yet the hands of Moses, supported by Aaron and Hur, remained lifted up. Joshua and the people, with God's abidance, won. It was a profound victory.