Exodus 17 presents two different hardships or tests God takes Israel through as He teaches them to trust in Him. The first hardship is a genuine emergency – there is no water. The people are desperate and very close to stoning Moses. What’s interesting about what God does next is that He doesn’t just meet their needs. Of course He does that. He loves these people and is faithful. But he meets their needs in a way that establishes Moses as God’s chosen leader. He meets their needs through Moses publicly in order to say, “This is Moses. He’s with me. Honor him as a way of honoring Me.” This isn’t saying that Moses was perfect or that he would always get it right, but that God works through leaders in personal, powerful ways. The next hardship is war. Again, the situation is life-or-death, and the victory is possible only through God. Yet, God works through Moses to bring it about. The narrative is almost comical. Israel doesn’t prevail because they have the bigger army, advanced weaponry, or a cunning military strategy. Their military strategy – or the military strategy God employs – involves Moses lifting a staff above his head. “Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.” (Ex 17:11) That is showing the power of God. Victory comes from Him. But it often comes from Him through His servants.