The Power of Uplifted ArmsMoses said, “I lifted my hands toward the Lord’s throne. The Lord will fight against the Amalekites forever.” – Exodus 17:16
In Exodus 17:8-16, we see the Amalekites attack the Israelites on their journey to Sinai. Moses instructed Joshua to take some men to go fight the Amalekites, while Moses went to the top of a mountain, armed with the walking staff of God in his hands. This was the very same staff that God turned into a snake at the burning bush; the same staff that Moses struck the Nile with, turning it into blood; and the same staff that Moses used to strike a rock from which water flowed for the Israelites in the desert. This was more than just a simple staff, but rather a symbol that God used to show that He, the God of Israel, was with Moses. While Joshua and his men physically fought the Amalekites, Moses went on top of a mountain with his staff and hands lifted up to the Lord in prayer. As long as Moses kept his hands lifted up to God, the Israelites continued to win the fight, but when Moses dropped his hands, the Amalakites began to win. Seeing Moses grow physically weary on the mountain, and realizing the importance of keeping Moses’ arms outstretched to God, Aaron and Hur placed a rock under Moses for him to sit and held Moses’ hands steadily uplifted to God. As the sun set, God gave the Israelites victory over the Amalakites, and Moses built an alter to God, naming it “The Lord Is My Banner”.
How do we approach our battles in life? Do we focus on our own strength, strategy, and resources, or do we lift up our hands to God in prayer, first and foremost. Notice that it wasn’t Joshua’s strategic battle plan, military prowess, or advanced weaponry that won this battle. The strategy by Moses, Aaron, and Hur, who weren’t even fighting in the battle, but rather stood on top of a mountain, was to lift the arms to God. It is not our own abilities, but rather God who gives victory. Uplifted arms to the Lord determine the outcome of our battles. In our struggles, let us do what Moses did and lift our hands toward the Lord’s throne, being assured that He will fight our enemy for us. And when we become weary, God will send us help and encouragement to continue raising our hands and our hearts to Him, in prayer, just like He did with Moses. Finally, we must praise God and acknowledge that He is our banner. In a parade or march, we expect to see a banner in the front, going before the people. Similarly, the Lord went before Moses and the Israelites, making a way for them, even when there was no way. In our life, when we entrust God with our battles, and uplift our hands to Him, we too can say, like Moses, “The Lord Is My Banner”.
Prayer: Almighty God give us the courage to lift our arms up when we go through crises in life and to depend on you completely. Amen
Bob Abraham, St John’s MTC, NY.