Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 7: May the Lord be Your Banner


    Last Sunday, the congregation prayed for our Pastor regarding his upcoming shoulder surgery.
     When you have pain in the shoulder joint, movement is hindered. It’s painful to lift your arm, and in fact, you really can’t lift it at all without supporting it with your other arm.  While praying for our pastor God reminded me of Exodus 17.
     Let me set the scene.  The Israelites were in the desert after fleeing from Egypt.  They have been having a rough time.  God has provided them with water and food, but they are about to be attacked by  the Amalekites.  The Amalekites made their livelihood by raiding other tribes, taking their possessions and selling off the people as slaves. When they saw the newly freed Israelites, they expected a quick and easy victory.
Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.  And Moses said to Joshua, "Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand."
 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. 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.  Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.  He said, “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord.”  ~ Exodus 17:8-16
     Joshua was given the responsibility of leading the battle in the valley.  Moses, on the other hand was to go to the top of the hill.  Moses chose the warriors Aaron and Hur to go with him in the battle to come.  Aaron’s name means “strength;”  The name Hur means “liberty.”
     As long as Moses was able to hold his staff up, the battle went well for the Israelites.  But when his arms grew weary and began to fall, the Israelites began to lose.  And that is what God reminded me of - the support of Aaron and Hur.  Strength and Liberty.
     Moses’ hands became heavy, because sometimes the burden you carry is too heavy for you to carry alone.  Moses was in a physical battle, but he was also in a spiritual battle.  Aaron and Hur stood beside Moses and provided support, not because they were asked, but because they recognized the need.  They even dragged over a rock for Moses to sit on to make him as comfortable as possible.  Because of the support of the two warriors, Moses hands were able to remain steady for as long as it was necessary.    
     And maybe we are someone’s warrior.  Maybe we are the one that God is asking to pray or shoulder the burden for someone.    Most of us are fighting battles in an area of our life.  It is important to know that warriors are placing our names before the throne of heaven. Prayer changes us.  Prayer changes the ordinary man or woman and makes them extraordinary.
     Max Lucado said, “When we work, we work, but when we pray, God works.”
     May the Lord be your Banner today.

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