For my friends with battle wearied hands…

Strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees…

Last week was one of those weeks in which I heard a variety of stories from a variety of people who are, in one way or another, going through a difficult time.

Some are suffering physically, some emotionally, some mentally and some vicariously as they watch loved ones suffering.

Today in church our attention was brought to a number of the things but perhaps the one that resonated most with me was related to the verse above – it was the Old Testament counterpart of the New Testament truth of loving one another and bearing one another burdens.

Victory O Lord John Everett Millais

Victory O Lord
John Everett Millais

Exodus 17: 9-13

And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.  And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

It is a scene in which we see Moses and the children of Israel led by Joshua facing an enemy against whom The Lord has promised they will prevail as long as Moses’ hands remain raised.

What an amazing picture!
What a huge responsibility. Imagine what it would have been like to be in Moses’ position.

The truth is most of us are in one of the positions we see in this story. We might be Like Joshua, on the ground fighting, we might be like Moses up on the hill with our arms raised or we might be like Aaron and Hur, beside our friend supporting him/her. Some of us might be in all three positions at once in our lives.
Wherever you find yourself in this scenario, you know one thing to be true – you have an enemy who desires to overpower you and overcome you. An enemy who waits for moments when you are tired and weary to creep up and attack.
For some of us the enemy we battle is addiction, for some the enemy appears in the form of fear, anxiety or depression. For some of you the enemy resides in toxic thoughts that play over and over in your mind, while for others he appears in the form of physical illness.

All of us know people who are battling. The question is, what are we doing to support them?
How often do we draw alongside them and help them keep their hands up?

We aren’t always called to battle for them, sometimes we are called to simply support them because the Lord has already promised to prevail in their battle.

We know this is a truth – we have been exhorted to give thanks to God who causes us to triumph, to be victorious. He has promised us victory over the battles we have in our lives. But at times we grow weary waiting for the victory and that is when we need others to draw alongside us and help us to keep our hands up as we wait.
Personally, as a bit more of a “fighter”, I find it difficult to just stand by and support. I find the message contained in this passage more than a little challenging. I do sometimes struggle with the idea that in some of my life circumstances and that of my friends, I am not called into the battle but rather to view from the hill with my hands raised waiting for God to give victory.  On other occasions I am called to be a support to others in their battles by helping them keep their hands raised.

I wonder how many of you are battling at the moment and all you need is for someone to come along, stand beside you and hold your hands up. I enjoyed the fact that Moses had two helpers. It reminded me of the threefold cord mentioned in Ecclesiastes.

How many of us have friends like that? Friends we can rely on, friends who stay by our side. Friends who are with us. Friends who support us. Friends who lend us their strength until our battle has been won.

How many of us are friends like that?
How many of us are prepared to lend our energy, our time and our efforts to those who will suffer loss without us?

We aren’t called to draw alongside and offer advice. Imagine if Aaron and Hur had done as some of us do when people around us are suffering.

“Lean a little to the left Moses – oops no, not that far… you just lost a few there.”

“So Moses, what did you have for breakfast? Ah well, I’ve told you before those carbs are going to get you every time..!”

“Well Moses, to be honest, we’ve noticed you’ve kind of been letting yourself go a bit. If you’d been working out more lately this probably wouldn’t be quite so hard for you.”

“Oh come on Moses toughen up! Look at the people down there fighting! You’ve got the easy job here – all God has asked you to do is hold your arms up! And look at the view!! How many people down there wish they could be up here.”

Neither did they tell Moses all about how sore their arms were after the time they had to hold their arms up ….

They found a rock so that the man could sit down and rest, and walked away ..? No. They held his hands up for him. He still had a job to do even though he was weary and they helped him to do it. They didn’t suggest that they’d be better off going down to fight instead because they figured they’d be more useful there.

We live in a time characterised by busy-ness. We all have our own struggles and pressures and they seem to be ever multiplying. I think the truth here is clear and pertinent.
We are meant to be available to one another. We are meant to support those whose hands hang down because the waiting for victory has sapped their strength.

Do you know people who are suffering?
Can you help them?

OR

Are you in a battle right now, my friend?
Are you weary?
Do you need others to help you?
Are you one with weak hands and feeble knees?

The battle, my friend, is the Lord’s — you will be strengthened by Him. He will prevail. Go and stand on the hill and wait for help – don’t hide away. We, His people, will either be fighting for you or we’ll be with you, by your side, holding your weary hands.

Tell us what you need help with while you wait. Do you need a Joshua, a Moses, an Aaron or a Hur?

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