Michael Youssef - Treasure That Lasts - Part 11
Please turn with me if you haven't already to Exodus 17 as we look at the next few verses together, 8 to 16. Here you find the people of Israel confronting a different enemy that's about to destroy them. This is very different from fear. I'm gonna explain that a whole lot more, so listen carefully. Because I wanna stop, in fact, for a minute and talk to you about the seriousness of this new enemy, the Amalekites. It is so serious and Moses took it so seriously that at his farewell speech in Deuteronomy 25, you know, when the Lord told him he's gonna take him home, Moses gave a speech to the people of Israel, a goodbye speech, a farewell speech, and during that speech, to show you the seriousness of this event 40 years earlier, he said to them, "Remember what the Amalekites did to you on the way out of Egypt, how he attacked you and on the way and when you were faint and weary, and cut off at the rear, especially those who lagged behind you, they did not fear God".
A serious enemy, equally serious to Pharaoh. If Pharaoh and his army were a type of Satan and his demons, the Amalekites and their army are a type of the flesh, the old nature which the Bible calls the flesh. The Word of God, particularly in Galatians chapter 5, the Apostle Paul tells us that there is a war going on inside of us. It is the flesh against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. And they are in a state of war. Romans chapter 7, when Paul becomes so overwhelmed with that war inside between the Spirit and the flesh, he comes to the conclusion that he cannot win that battle on his own strength, so he conclude that victory is not what we do but on whom we depend and to whom we surrender and whom we obey. Victory is not how clever we are, but how surrendered we are. Victory is not dependent on our ability but our availability.
Now, don't miss this. When Christ comes into a person's life, he gives us new nature, divine nature. So what happens to the old nature with which we are born? Oh, it does not die. But rather, he gives us the power in order, that minute by minute, we can muzzle that old nature, that we can weaken that old nature. When you become born again of the Spirit of God the flesh does not just bow out and go out but by the power of the Holy Spirit he has given to us, that power of the flesh is kept in chains. When you come to Christ, the old nature, the flesh, does not say, "Hey, I'm going a long vacation. Enjoy yourself". No, but we are given the authority to subdue it. We are given the authority to tranquilize it. We are given the authority to overcome it.
And so as I said, if Pharaoh and his army was a type of Satan, the Amalekites were a type of the flesh, the old nature with which we are born. The Egyptians were total strangers to Israel. I mean, they are different. They didn't even live near each other. They were lived apart. They're totally different in every way; they're strangers. They're outsiders. Ah, but the Amalekites, they're related to Israel. The Amalekites trace their ancestry to Esau, Israel's brother. Satan is of the outside spiritual enemy who attacks us from the outside. But the flesh is an insider operative. Satan is a foreign enemy who comes to us from the outside, but the flesh, the old nature, belongs to our common stock.
You see, the descendants of Jacob or Israel, and the descendants of Esau, they were brothers. Their ancestors were brothers. They had the same father and the same mother. But they had conflicting loyalties, even in their young age. Just like Cane and Abel, same father, same mother, but they had conflicting loyalties. Jacob or Israel, loyalty was to Yahweh, but Esau's loyalty was to himself. In the same way, our two natures inside of us, they are in conflict with each other. The old nature wants to please self; the new nature wants to please the Lord. The old nature's loyalty is to self, but the new nature in Christ's loyalty is to Christ. The old nature wants to run wild, have no boundaries, no limitations. Ah, but the new nature is guarded and guided by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The old nature ultimately seek self-destruction but the new nature constantly seek renewal of our mind on a daily basis in Christ.
The Amalekites heard the great things that God did to their brother, Israel, and the spirit of envy raged inside of them. The spirit of envy wanted to destroy what God has chosen. At that moment, Moses knew what to do. He knew exactly what to do. He listened to God and he knew what to do. And I pray to God not a single person here or watching around the world at the sound of my voice who would say, "I don't know what to do when the flesh begins to war against my spirit. I don't know what to do when I need victory from God, when I need victory over my old nature, when I need victory over the flesh, when I need victory over that lower nature".
Beloved, listen to me. In the times when the flesh starts warring against the Spirit, there are two things that you must do immediately. First of all, you go on high place and seek the only power that could really give you victory, and secondly, give your best in the battle, even Yeshua, Jesus, Yahshua. Just like Nehemiah told the people of God, he said, "You build with one hand and you guard with the other". Just as our Lord Jesus Christ himself said, he said, "You watch and you pray". We go up to God to receive power and then go down into the enemy and fight. We go on our knees and then we get up and go for the battle. Spend time with God, then stand firm in the truth of the Word of God.
Beloved, I don't have to tell you that today we have so many divisions among God's people, among the Christians, even the way they view things and the world view and there are some who are activist, activist, activist. Activism is all they're involved with, and there's nothing wrong with activism. I recommend it. But then there are others who say, "Oh, just pray. Pray, pray. Don't do anything. Use prayer as an excuse for doing nothing". And they sit on their blessed assurance and do nothing. The Bible doesn't say that. The Bible said you gotta do both. You have to watch and you have to pray. You can be active but you must always active with the power of God and prayer that he gives you. Because that's dangerous. Three secrets to victory over the flesh. Very simple. Kneeling, standing, and waving the flag. See? So simple.
Now, I don't necessarily mean when I say "kneeling" physical kneeling although it is a great posture to be in because it reminds you to be kneeling on the inside. But as some people can kneel physically, but on the inside standing so stiff. But I'm talking about the attitude of kneeling, the attitude of the heart in kneeling. Look at what Moses did. He lift up his staff to the Lord, and God said to him, "You go up there on the hill and you hold this up". Beloved, this is an expression of surrender. This is a posture of dependence on God. So kneeling here is a figure of speech, meaning that you have to be in a posture and in a position of acknowledging that victory would only come from surrendering to God.
Beloved, the winning over the flesh will only come from the kneeling of surrender. Now, the image of kneeling here and all throughout the Old Testament is an image of a camel that is kneeling, and the camel kneels on all four. But the word comes from a camel kneeling. You see, camel is high. Donkeys are low, but camels are very, very high. And some of them, really, you can't even reach. How are you gonna load all the goods that the camel has to carry when that camel is so high you can't reach it?
So what happens, the camel has to kneel in order to receive the goods that they loading on the camel. They have to kneel. And when the camel kneels, it receives all the goods. You see, when you kneel, surrender to God, you're saying, "Lord, load me up. Lord, load me with your blessings. Lord, load me with your strength. Lord, load me with your grace. Oh Lord, load me with victory". Kneeling is the secret of winning. Secondly, standing in unity together is a secret of victory. Most of you know what the Scripture said. Some of you might not, but most of you do, what the Scripture said about united in prayer.
Now, beloved, if we're gonna win over the flesh, we have to learn how to become united in prayer. Now, you must understand, those who've been listening to me for a long time, you know I have never ever, ever in nearly 30 years in this pulpit, never, never, never have I ever said that I know everything that is to be known about the mystery or the power and effectiveness of corporate prayer. I never claimed that. Ah, but I believe it. I've experienced it. I know on the authority of the Word of God that God responds to unity in prayer. And that is why Jesus said, "When two or three gather in my name," you see, I don't understand the power and the mystery, but I do understand that's why Jesus said when two of you agree on something, that's the minimum: two people.
Look what happened here in Exodus 17. When Joshua went down to fight the battle the whole future of Israel's leadership went to the battlefield. Did you get that? The whole future went into that battlefield. And while Moses himself was commanded to go up and stand in prayer, the future went down to fight. But even Moses, the great Moses, he could not do it alone. He had to keep this intercessory prayer of surrender posture. He could not do it by himself. Aaron and Hur had to come on each side and buttress his arms because many times his arms got tired and shaking.
By the way, a Jewish commentator said that Hur was actually Miriam's husband. That means Miriam is Moses's sister. It was his brother-in-law. So, Moses's brother-in-law. So he had his brother and his brother-in-law on each side of him, and they're both needed to hold Moses's arms up. I want you to imagine this. I want you to imagine this. This is taking place, okay, on top of that mountain. And some of the Israelites, out of selfish ambition, they said, "Let's go there and pull on Moses's arm". Imagine that with me, okay? There's a lot of people do that to leadership. "Ahh, let's just pull their arms down. Let's cut them at the knees". As long as Moses has his hand up in the air, the people of God had the upper hand. But when Moses's hand came down, the Amalekites got the upper hand.
Beloved, listen. Listen, this is important. You and I can no more stand alone against the flesh, the devil, and the world, than a snowflake can survive on peach tree in the middle of July. We cannot do it. We need to stand together. We need to uphold each other. We need to be praying for one another. We need to support each other because for us to win we have to have Moses praying. We have to have if we want to win, the support of Aaron and Hur if we will win against the flesh, the world, and the devil. We have to have the courage of Joshua.
In this place, everyone is important, everyone. Everyone is needed. Everyone has a ministry. Everyone can unite together in prayer and watch out what God can do. What God will do. I know what he can do, I know what he will do. We cannot win without kneeling. We cannot win without standing together. Thirdly, we cannot win without waving the flag. Without waving the flag. After victory, the Bible said: "Moses built an altar and he called it Yahweh-Nissi, the Lord is my flag, or the Lord is my banner". Moses wanted to fly the flag. He wanted to wave the flag. It's not the Stars and Stripes which reminds him of freedom but it's the flag that has the word on it, "Yahweh-Nissi," Jehovah-Nissi.
I wanna tell you this. It is the Lord who gives you victory so you need to wave his flag. It's the Lord who gives you power. You need to wave his flag. It's the Lord who gives you strength. It's the Lord who gives you all of the blessings that you have. It's the Lord who guides you. It is the Lord who dwells in you. It is the Lord who is your flag. The Lord is your banner. The Lord is your all in all. Don't be ashamed of waving his flag. I want to put something in the negative which I don't like to do, but I will. If you ever want to spend your life going from defeat to defeat, if you wanna go from one defeat to another, forget everything I just said.
When Jesus is residing in you, in the person of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is in control of your life. You don't have to tell people and pull them by the lapel and say, "I'm a Christian," although we must witness. But you don't have to be vocal. You don't have to do anything, because they're gonna see the flag and they're gonna know that the King is in residence in your life. The flag of the joy of the Lord is all over you. The flag of the peace of God is within you. The flag of the love of God surrounds you. The flag of victory over the flesh rides high all over you. I wanna tell you this as I conclude. And I will conclude by telling you a historical incident that had taken place.
I prayed all week, "Lord God, please help us to understand, help us to have the courage, not only have victory, but wave your flag, especially now when waving the flag of Jesus is dangerous. It can call you every name in the book". And that has been my prayer. "Help us to wave Jehovah-Nissi". This incident took place at 7 p.m. on October 20, 1968. There were a few thousand spectators remaining in the Mexico City Olympic Stadium. It was almost getting dark, not quite, but it's almost dark. As the last of the marathon runners who have ran 26 miles, as you know they come after 26, they run one lap in the stadium. And the last ones were coming in.
Finally, the spectators were surprised to hear the wail of a police siren coming and lo and behold, as their eyes were fixed on the gate of the stadium, a lone runner wearing the color of the African country of Tanzania, he comes in there, hobbling, struggling into the stadium. His name was John Stephen Akhwari. He was the last contestant in this 26-mile marathon. His leg that has been injured in a fall in the halfway time, it was swollen and bleeding and it looked like it's been crudely, crudely bandaged. But he comes in, in this final lap and he hobbles all around the stadium and the spectators rose to their feet as if he is the gold medal winner as he crossed into the finish line like this, hobbling.
And of course, as soon as he arrived at the finish line, the microphone was shoved into his face. "Why did you not quit"? Here's what he said. He said, "My country did not send me 5000 miles away from home to start the race. My country sent me 5000 miles away from home to finish the race". My beloved friend, listen to me, please. When you stand under Jehovah-Nissi, Yahweh-Nissi, you might get bloodied in the battle, you might get exhausted in the battle, but because you know that God did not call you to start the battle, but to finish it, you will persevere. You will prevail. You will not be defeated. You will wave his flag, Yahweh-Nissi, all the way to the finish line.