Whose Holding Up Your Hands?
“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 and 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.
God could have secured this victory for His people in any number of ways as He did in other battles the Israelites fought. Why this manner? It is always worth the effort to consider what God’s teaching point is in His various methods. Paul writes in the NT that the events of the OT happened “as examples, to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things.” (I Corinthians 10:6, 11) Simply on the surface of it, it is hard enough to hold up just our own hands or arms all day without growing tired and having to lower them. God had made evident Moses’ hands must remain up if this battle was to be won. Moses required the supporting strength of his brother Aaron and Caleb’s son Hur to gain the victory. One holding up one arm and one the other was a necessity to escape defeat. Moses’ hands were stretched up in obedience, worship and prayer to the God who could deliver them out of defeat into victory.
It is no different for any of us in our battle with sin and Satan. It is not a battle we can win on our own. We are aware that we are absolutely helpless in Satan’s crosshairs if Christ is not our strength and shield. There are definitely battles we must fight on our own when Christ is our only help. He is enough! However, God has made it known to us that we are to rely on one another for strength as well. The wise author of Ecclesiastes says quite clearly that “two are better than one…pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up…though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) It is a great passage for married couples, but the point extends to friends, not only spouses. The right kind of friend “sticks closer than a brother.” David and Jonathan were such friends. Paul always took someone with him on all his missionary journeys. The letter to Hebrews says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as we see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
How do you find such a friend, a friend of your gender that will be a spiritual strength, not a hindrance or stumbling block? Such a friend must be trustworthy, able to keep confidences, and deal with you out of a deep and abiding love. Remember that real love is not a synonym for tolerance. Real love desires your salvation. Real love pursues your sanctification and growth in grace with all humility. Real love will tell you when you are wrong without quibbling. Real love will hold you accountable and expect you to do the same with them. Real love is not satisfied with shallow surfaces, but goes deep into the nitty-gritty where the treacherous battles are fought. If you are married, a true friend’s love will protect and honor your marriage.
Again, how do you find such a friend? If you do not have one, you need to pray earnestly for one. You need to look for such a person, not just wait for them to show up on your doorstep. A person who desires friends must show them self friendly. You must look in the right place; among the family of God. You must help frame the purposes of such a relationship–to grow in godliness! You do not need a cohort in sin. Cohorts in sin are a dime a dozen! You need a friend in holiness. If you do not have such a friend, begin praying and looking for one today. This is a prayer God wants prayed, and one He delights in answering.
“Heavenly Father, give me such a friend to help me hold up my hands in the battle.”
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