Remember those times when you’re full of strength and courage; a resilience vibrates in your inner spirit? Remember, too, those times when life pulls the rug out from under your feet? Plans are dashed and you’re left bewildered. Your brain tells you to keep going on while your body and spirit wilt beneath the load.
I was reminded this week that those feelings came upon Moses while he was in charge of leading the Israelites on their wilderness journey. Enemies would often come upon them. Moses was the leader, and God equipped him to point the way and encourage the people.
Exodus 17 tells the story of a time they came under attack from the army of Amalek. Moses carried a staff which was a symbol of God’s authority and of His strength and protection. As Amalek’s army was coming upon them, Moses instructed Joshua to lead his men to engage in battle against Amalek. While they were warring, Moses stood on a nearby hill and held the staff up high. What an encouragement to his men; this visual reminder, that God was leading the battle.
As it happened, as the conflict went on and on, Moses’ arms were growing tired. When he would lower the staff to rest his arms, the enemy would suddenly start winning; however, when Moses would again raise the staff, the Israelites would take the lead. Hour after hour the hostilities raged between the two armies. Moses held up the staff until he was utterly exhausted. His muscles gave way. We read in Exodus 17:12-13, “Moses’ arms finally became too tired to hold up the staff any longer. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side, holding up his hands until sunset. As a result, Joshua and his troops were able to crush the army of Amalek.”
What a beautiful reminder of how God made us a family; brothers and sisters, with the love of God in our hearts to encourage and assist each another. When one of us despairs, we can rally around, holding up arms in prayer, holding up arms in helps, holding up arms in words of encouragement, holding up arms in reminders of God’s love and direction. No one need fall helpless below a heavy burden. All God’s people have the responsibility to gather round and lift up the heavy hearted, bind up the wounds of those hurting, and urge on the discouraged.
When we look around us, asking God to give us His eyes to see those who are troubled in heart, He will show us, and He will help us with His own strength and wisdom, to hold up the arms of the weary, spurring them on as they rest. Then, He will fill us will great joy for having done so.