Exodus 17:11 (HCSB)
11 While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed.
We have, in this passage, the first military encounter of the newly freed Israelites. It is significant that Exodus 17:9 reads, “Select some men…” Israel was certainly not a military power, and it was most likely an opportunistic attempt to plunder weak prey on the part of the Amalekites.
But Israel had one weapon greater than any sword or shield, and that was God. Although the military success, led by Joshua, is mentioned, the focus is certainly on the hill that Moses was upon and the focus of his worship of God. The battle was clearly won by God, not man. This is yet another reminder of God’s providence and power, this time expressed militarily.
What’s more, we see encapsulated in this short pericope the effects of a wavering faith. As Moses strength failed, and his arms fell away from God, the presence and power of God ebbed away, and as his arms were held high towards God, He showed up strong and the battle was one. If that is not a picture of our lives, I’m not sure what is. We tend to go through cycles where our faith ebbs and flows, and often God’s providential presence goes with it. And just as Moses, Aaron and Hur had to take steps to keep Moses’ hands raised to God, shouldn’t we do the same? Shouldn’t we take steps to ensure our posture is one of constant worship of God, constant reliance on His power and might?
And what a beautiful picture of fellowship as well, with Aaron and Hur not standing by idly, or whispering gossip about how Moses was failing in his walk with God as his tired arms fell, but instead stepping forward, providing a place to rest for their brother, and joining in the effort to remain positioned towards God. Faith was embodied not just by Moses, but by his two brothers who walked through the battle with him, at his side, helping carry and share his load. That is Christian fellowship! And in the end, God honors their attitude, and wins the battle for the Israelites. God won it, make no mistake. Joshua and the select men entered battle in faith, Moses raised his arms and staff in faith, and Aaron and Hur joined their brother in faith… and God delivered them, honoring their faith.
Lord, thank You for honoring our faith, our praise, and our worship of You. Sometimes that means we enter the battle that there is no way we should win. Sometimes it means we endure, beyond the limits of our own strength. Sometimes it means we enter into the situation with a brother or sister in Christ who needs help. But You honor that, and we thank You. I pray we recognize those opportunities, seize them, and follow You constantly. Amen.