A few years ago, I wrote a blog based on Exodus 17:11-13. Tonight, I found myself reflecting on this passage of scripture once again.
Less than two months after the Israelites had left Egypt, they were attacked by the Amalekites. Moses commanded Joshua to gather some men to find them. Then Moses, along with Aaron and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. Moses knew exactly what he had to do. He needed to hold up the "Staff of God". As long as the staff was raised, the Israelite army would be victorious but the moment the staff dropped, the Amalekites would begin to be victorious.
Moses did as God directed Him and the Israelites began to overpower their enemy. However, though driven back, the enemy was not immediately subdued. They continued to desperately try to fight back. Over time, something happened. Moses' arms got tired. He could not keep holding them up and when they started to drop, the enemy started to win.
Standing with your arms raised, holding an object for a sustained amount of time is much harder than you might think. Try it sometime if you don't believe me and see how long you can do it. When you try it, remember, you cannot allow your arms to drop even the least little bit. It gets pretty painful after a while.
Now, God could have given Moses superhuman strength. In fact, God really did not need Moses to do this in order for Him to give the Israelites victory that day. God likes us to get involved in the process sometimes rather than just sitting around passively.
Here's what happened:
Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.
Exodus 17:12-13 (NLT)
Moses knew what God wanted him to do but he simply was not physically strong enough to do it. So, his friends stepped in to give him a hand. They found him and seat and then they stood beside Moses and held up his hands. They were able to do what Moses could not do... on his own.
Often times, as we face battles, we attempt to fight the battle ourselves. We may cry out to God to deliver us, to keep our hands up in the air so to speak. However, we fail to realize that sometimes, God has provided help in the form of brothers and/or sisters in Christ as friends who are standing by, longing to hold up your arms.
We may not be able to pray at that moment or even cry out to God, but they can and they are willing to do so on our behalf. We may be exhausted but they are longing to bring us a seat and hold up our tired arms. They are there with a shoulder to lean on and even cry on if necessary.
No, they are not a substitute for God but they are His servants and maybe, just maybe, they are God's response to our cry.