I noticed that the usual complaining and threats are absent in this particular passage. It seems like a lot of things fall by the wayside when you're about to be directly confronted by a lot of angry men with weapons that they are eager to use on you. Moses issues the orders and everyone seems to be ready to listen to him. Joshua was appointed to lead men into the battle. Any trouble-makers must have been in the minority this time around. The people were ready to fight.
Moses took Aaron and Hur up to the top of the hill. Notice he doesn't go alone. He takes some people with him. Moses holds the staff of God in his hands and lifts his hands in the air. The Israelites are winning. Oh-oh. Now they're losing! Now they're winning again. Now they're losing again! What's going on?
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.- Exodus 17:11 (NLT)
The obviously solution is for Moses to just keep his hands in the air, right? Unfortunately, that was easier said than done. The problem was: Moses' arms got tired and he couldn't keep them up in the air.
Now, there's a lot of lessons in this passage. You could talk about what happens when we lift God up, victory over our enemies, etc. You could also contemplate why God chose to let things seemingly drag on. Perhaps it was a test of faith. However, I want to focus on what was happening to Moses, Aaron and Hur. The Bible tells us that when Moses' arms got tired and the enemy started to be victorious, Aaron and Hur sprang into action.
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.- Exodus 17:12 (NLT)
I love this part. Those who were with Moses provided aid and support to him. They made him more comfortable. Then they helped him do the job God required him to do. I get chills just thinking about this. God could have given Moses supernatural strength to perform this task. He didn't choose to do so. He chose to have others get involved as well. I can just imagine what was going on up on the hill. I'm sure these men were encouraging one another. "Come on, we can do it! Here, I'll grab his other hand too while you rest your hands for a moment. Then you can do the same for me." They were all in this together.
As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.- Exodus 17:13-16 (NLT)
After the victory, the Lord instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”
Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the Lord is my banner”).
He said, “They have raised their fist against the Lord’s throne, so now the Lord will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.”
Victory from the Lord was obtained that day in part because people were willing support one another and remember we're all in this together.
*8/24/11--This blog is now part of a series entitled Walking With God In The Midst of Cancer