Lifted Hands

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.”

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 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. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

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.”

Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. 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.”

Exodus 17:8-16

Being used by God

So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.

Exodus 17:9

Verse, Exodus 17:9, I was interested in the significance of God using Moses’ staff. Why is Moses’ staff “a thing” God uses? First we understand that Moses was a shepherd, his staff was part of his everyday – the tool of his trade.

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff”, he replied.

Exodus 4:1-2

Whenever God is asking someone a question in the Bible we have to stop and think, why? God knows everything – what was, what is and what is to come… so why does He ask questions?

Two points come to mind when I think of God asking questions:
1. Relationship – God wants dialogue because He is a relational God
2. To highlight a point – there is something deeper He wants us to learn

Throughout Exodus 4:3-9, God performs miraculous signs with Moses’ staff to demonstrate His power. God used what Moses already had, which changed purpose but kept the same function. God called Moses from shepherding sheep to shepherding people.

What we learn from Moses is that God can use you in your current state. You don’t have to wait for anything additional to contribute to the kingdom of God. God wants to use whats already in your hands.

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.

Exodus 4:10-12

Despite your doubt – God is with you.

God is not asking for your perfection, He is asking for your partnership.

What is in your hands?

Worshipping in times of battle

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 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 17:10-12

Lifted hands (“hands”) is mentioned quite a bit in this passage. It got me thinking, when do I lift my hands? When I think of lifting my hands toward God I think of, “praise hands”. I think of church; being in an atmosphere of peppy tunes, dimmed lights and led by talented singers on stage. I think about dancing around in my kitchen, with my daughter, listening to worship music. But here in this passage, I am reminded that sometimes we base our worship upon our feelings rather than on our faith. The best time to worship is always; and especially when we don’t feel like it.

Posturing our body (in whatever way that looks for you – lifted hands or closed eyes, for example) helps bring our minds into worship.

Supporting each other towards God

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. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Exodus 17:12-13

Aaron and Hur came to Moses’ rescue – they didn’t say, “well you tried… too bad you got tired, next time bud!” No, they believed in God’s authority through Moses and did everything they could to keep Moses’ hands lifted. They supported Moses when he grew too tired to do it himself.

As a nation we too are in a battle – against Covid-19. We don’t know how long this virus will last or what the outcome will be. It is crucial that in this time of stress and sickness we become like Aaron and Hur who lift up their friend in need (figuratively speaking of course as we can’t literally hangout with our friends. But praise God for great technologies to still connect us!). We need to surround ourselves with friends that lift us up to God and be friends that lift others up as well.

Concluding Points

1. Moses was an everyday ordinary man and through God he became extraordinary – how can God do that through you? What is already in your hands?
2. Posture your body to set your mind on worship – the best times to worship is at all times

Hebrews 13:15, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”
3. Pray and ask God to highlight someone in your life that needs to be lifted up

Bring Back the Bracelet

WWJD? – What Would Jesus Do?

Answering this question takes understanding in….

  • The Character of Jesus – who is He?
    • Studying His actions and decisions through reading the Gospels
    • Praying and silently focusing on Jesus Himself – who is He in you?

The WWJD question cannot be answered if we don’t know Him. For example, sometimes when I want to make a decision I ask myself, “What would Landon do?” (my husband), because I respect him and know he is a man of integrity so I trust his actions. I can assume what his answer would be because I know him well.

  • Trusting the integrity of Jesus – having faith that He has every answer
  • Knowing Him well enough to make decisions (big or small) in a timely manner

To better understand the character behind the bracelet we bring back our Bibles for answers.

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
2 Peter 1:2

The Embrace of Jesus

Open arms I am embraced by the King
Wrapped in a blanket – is the warmth I feel
Comforted and secured, I walk in peace
Vulnerable yet, I am put at ease
Completely safe and okay to be me
In His arms is the place where I am free
He died on the cross so all was not lost
Saved by the love of the one living God.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

Isaiah 40:11

Eternal Hope

Three weeks since I have written, read my Bible and sat to spend time with the Lord. In the past three weeks I have experienced sickness, anxiety, prolonged eye twitches, a fun-filled-family vacation, SKIING for the first time and even more sickness.

Covid-19 has hit the world hard and its become a pandemic. Schools, businesses all shutting down to stop the disease from spreading. It has become crazy like a scene from a movie. Our government said to socially isolate. Stay home and to avoid public places and social gatherings.  We respect authorities and obey regulations as it is for our own benefit and the greater good for the world’s health (feels surreal to write that).

As a mom of a toddler, isolation was something I already was struggling with prior to the virus. I worked so hard to plan my weeks around mom groups, drop-in play times, bible studies and exercising at the gym. I was getting in a groove, finding my strength and “mom power” in my schedule. However, now in a immediate HAULT to all the scheduling and activities, we are stuck inside.

As I mentioned before it has been three weeks of not reading my Bible and as this quarantine is in play I have come to notice its effect. I have come to see how my scheduling in daily activities has become a greater hope in my life than the one of I have in Jesus. I am reminded (again) that spending time with Jesus is not a checklist for habit tracking, not just Sunday service, its a lifestyle. It’s an ongoing relationship with God, one that must be prioritized in our hearts above anything else.

So in this time of mandatory world isolation, as a Christian, how do I find contentment?

My contentment is no longer in my perfect scheduling, in my feeling of being a”fit mom”, “a productive mom”, or “a socially active mom”.  Instead, it’s in my pursuit of being a Godly mom. A mom that does not quit because her circumstances have changed or her fears of isolation has returned. Even if you are not a mom, your schedule has changed by working from home or by putting your plans on hold. As a believer in Christ I, once again, re-focus my hope back on Him – focusing less on my plans and more on His, because His plans are eternal.

I pray everyday for this virus to dissipate, dissolve, and stop completely – because I believe in a miraculous and good God. I pray for faith to lead and not fear. I pray that we draw near to God so He can draw near to us. I pray over those that are sick to be healed and to be restored back to full health.

In my negligence of prioritizing my relationship with God, I’ve become more comfortable with the world’s bond.  If this virus taught me anything, it’s this: I cannot rely on the world – it will always fail me. But what I know that will never fail me is my hope in Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 6:6-12 (NIV)

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.