Exodus 17 recounts the initial battle for God’s army which just left Egypt. Granted they were running for their lives as they crossed over on dry ground, being pursued by Pharaoh’s army, but God saw them as an army.
Was this first battle in the timing of the Lord? Whatever was the Lord’s plan we can glean insights for our lives and the tests that come. Keep in mind tests are not the same as temptations.
Why didn’t people go to the Lord rather than getting angry at Moses for the need of water? Rephidim was to be a place of “refreshing” a place where a test took place (Massah) and became a place of quarreling (Meribah) and tempting the Lord. Refreshing can come in seasons of testing, provided we don’t rail against the Lord or those placed in our lives by His hand to stand with and before us. Their contention essentially was “where’s God?” That has too often been my response to tests! All the while knowing He’s never left nor forsaken me, nor you!
What happens when we don’t “pass the test”?
The contention with the Lord and Moses opened the door in some fashion for attack by the enemy, as immediately “Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim”. Peter exhorted us to vigilant because our adversary seeks ways to infiltrate our lives, circumstances to reek havoc and destruction. In this conflict we learn a valuable lesson, that there are two elements essential for victory; 1. the actual warring against the principalities and 2. the intercession joined in at the same time. When we prevail in intercession, we will prevail in spiritual warfare.
When the testing season is concluded, God reveals Himself as Jehovah Nissi, The Lord is my Victory/Banner; a reminder when the works of the flesh come to destroy us, he has been defeated and will continue to be defeated. When a work of the flesh (Amalek) surfaces, remember not only was it defeated by Israel, but by the Lord at Calvary.