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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.” Exodus 17:8-16
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.”
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’?” Exodus 4:1-2
Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff”, he replied.
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.
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