Held Up By God

September 27, 2021

Exodus 17.8-16

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.”

15 Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. 16 He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”

We might not remember our own childhood back that far, but we likely can recall seeing the children in those stages where they have to do everything for themselves and on their own.  I can do it.  And we certainly still have those times as adults when we just want to do things on our own and not rely on someone else to do it.  Often it just seems easier or quicker to do it ourselves instead of getting others.

Recently we “inherited” a piano from someone moving.  They only lived a block away from us so we were borrowing a truck and going to move it ourselves.  We walked into the house and realized quickly that we weren’t going to do it with just the two of us.  And the people moving needed it out in the next few days.  With that time frame and the type of job it is to move we went with getting a mover to take care of it.  They know what they are doing and have the proper equipment to do it well.  Now we just have to get it tuned again.

This story is about how no one is doing things on their own.  We often look to the part about Moses holding his hands up while the win, and hands down and they are losing.  We see that Aaron and Hur help Moses keep his hands up the whole time.  It is not Moses on his own, he receives help. 

Yet we might not dwell on the next verse where God tells Moses to write this all down so that Joshua also hears of it.  Joshua has been leading the troops on the battle-field.  He will not know about what took place with Moses, Aaron and Hur.  Joshua needs to hear that the battle was not just on the field, it was on the hill with the prayers and it was the work of God as prayers were offered on behalf of those fighting.  Everyone in the story needed some help.  And in the end it was the work of God in and through all that took part.

Moses may have felt alone as his hands fell to his side.  Aaron and Hur were there to hold him up as he held the people up.  Joshua may have felt alone as he led the people.  He was held up by Moses, Aaron and Hur.  And ultimately they were all held up by God as he worked in them, through them and on their behalf.

Not I, nor anyone else, does the work of God alone.  We work together to be the church.  We act together, we pray together.  And in all those things we see that God works in us, through us, and on our behalf as we work and pray.  Always in the hand of God, always in the midst of the people of God.  Never alone.

SongGood, Good Father


Loving Father, we confess that sometimes we think we can do things all by ourselves and sometimes we are worried about things.  We forget that you give us everything we have and that you make us who we are.  Please forgive us for thinking about ourselves first.  Please forgive us for not trusting you to take care of us.  Thank you for always loving us even when we forget that we need you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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