April 15, 2019

Tired Arms Need Helping Hands

Exodus 17

15 Comments | Listen | Print

Water from the Rock

All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the LORD said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah1 and Meribah,2 because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

Israel Defeats Amalek

Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.

14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD Is My Banner, 16 saying, “A hand upon the throne3 of the LORD! The LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

Footnotes

[1] 17:7 Massah means testing
[2] 17:7 Meribah means quarreling
[3] 17:16 A slight change would yield upon the banner

Tired Arms Need Helping Hands



Key Verse | Exodus 17:11-12

Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

Bio | Sara Fusco

Sister of Christ, daughter of the King

Often found at the front of a classroom

Can also be found on a bike dodging cars or trees

Cooking, playing games, and hiking are some other things I enjoy

Eventual resident of heaven, which brings me hope and joy every day

Running sound at re:generation or for a weekend service and serving with Women's Bible Study are some of my happy places

. . . and now you know my favorite sport, too!

Central Truth

Surrendering to the Lord is hard and not something we can do in isolation. Community helps us keep seeking God when we get tired or when we lose focus.

Devotional | Exodus 17

Have you ever painted a ceiling, installed a ceiling fan, or held up that framed picture while someone else checked if it was just right? If so, you know the burn that shortly creeps into your shoulders as you hold...

Have you ever painted a ceiling, installed a ceiling fan, or held up that framed picture while someone else checked if it was just right? If so, you know the burn that shortly creeps into your shoulders as you hold your arms up for too long. Moses felt that burn, but instead of it just slowing down his project, Moses dropping his arms resulted in the loss of lives. Say what?!

God had given Moses the staff (Exodus 4:17) as a symbol of His power. For Moses, the staff was a sign of his dependence on God. When Joshua led the men of Israel into battle, Moses watched from a hilltop, holding the staff up to the heavens and displaying Israel's dependence on God to win the battle. However, just like ours do, Moses' arms got tired. When Moses lowered his hands to get a rest, Amalek, Israel's enemy, prevailed. Thankfully, Moses had community with him. Aaron and Hur were there to support him, encourage him, and struggle alongside him. We all need that kind of community!

As I go through seasons in my life where the plan is not clear and the end is unseen, I have to choose to depend on God daily. I must surrender my life and my will to Him and trust in His plan. Just like Moses, I don't have the strength to do that on my own. I have others around me who help me hold up my arms in surrender to the Lord. Community, friends, and wise counsel all encourage me to follow God's lead and raise my hands in dependence on him. And to be honest, I sometimes need their encouragement and admonishment more when things are seeming to go well than when things are tough. When things are going well, I sometimes forget how much I need Him.

Dependence changes us. When we realize we are dependent on something outside of ourselves, we can respond with grumbling and getting angry like the thirsty Israelites did, or we can go humbly to the Lord. Your choice!

See Comments

Discussion Questions

1. How long can you hold your hands above your head? Even without a staff in our hands, our arms get heavy, and our determination fails. What are you trying to lift on your own that you need to let others help you?

2. Who in your life helps you hold up your hands in surrender to the Lord? You can only do it on your own for so long. Thank those who help you, send them an encouraging text, let them know how the Lord is using them in your life.

3. How does your prayer life and time studying God's Word show your dependence on Him? Can you make it through a day without praying or seeking God's truth? If so, you may want to question your dependence on Him.

15 Comments available

Jay Caruso 1 day ago

Thank you Sara. We just started in community and it has been a blessing to getting me out of my comfort zone and sharing with people you hardly know but will over time. Also thanks for your service at re-gen. Great worship every Monday

Sharhonda Conner 3 days ago

Great devo Sara! Blessed that you are part of the people in question 2 that encourage and admonish me! Although I don’t have to physically lift my hands, I am called to physically do the work that God has for me each day.

Don Freeman 4 days ago

Amen

Sue Bohlin 4 days ago

(1/2) Sara, excellent devo, thank you!

This morning I’ve been munching on “The Lord is My Banner.” I love the idea of a flag at the top of a pole that waves above the troops or the people who identify with what’s (or who’s) on it. One of our sons was a Bell Guard for Garland High School, and he would run the GHS banner up and down the sidelines after a goal. Last week Ray and I went to the Chris Tomlin concert where Chris’s pastor spoke about the 7 Hebrew words for praise, and one of them is a huge outcry of crazy joy that he illustrated with a video clip of the Chicago Cubs fans going nuts when the Cubbies won the World Series in 2016.

Sue Bohlin 4 days ago

(2/2) On the side of the stage was a giant W victory banner that they fly when the Cubs win at a home game. It’s very dear to the hearts of Cubs fans.

The hearts of people are connected to the banner that flies over our heads when we’re connected to what it represents. The Lord is FAR above any and all groups or countries or kings with a banner. “The Lord is My Banner” is hugely more important than the equivalent of our “I’m with him” t-shirts or any other kind of identifier. And I am reminded of the saying, “Joy is the flag that flies over the castle of our hearts announcing that the King is in residence today.”

Michael Scaman 4 days ago

The rock that was struck pointed to Christ being struck and giving life giving water

(later Moses is supposed to speak to the rock and get water but he strikes it again. This violated the picture of Jesus dying once and Moses is judged for his disobedience… not knowing the significance perhaps…)

Michael Scaman 4 days ago

Quite an encouragement for Joshua when commanded “…Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua…” and when the account was reread years later.

Michael Scaman 4 days ago

The people quarrel, calling God to the dock, putting God on trial. Moses assembles the elders and there is a trial of sorts. And God, represented by the rock is struck. Life giving water comes out.

Jesus died once for all giving life, but Jesus is not to be struck again rather called on. Moses will get in serious trouble for striking the rock again instead of calling on it.

David Delph 4 days ago

Many are blessed by your faithful love for God that overflows to those you teach. Daily demonstrations of your submission to Him through dependence on those who encourage you and bless you with accountability make your authenticity attractive. Here’s to all who come alongside you to hold you up for His glory! Thank you for living in out so well.

greg jones 4 days ago

But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”—Group mindset, if we would’ve done something different in the past, in this case different is nothing, we wouldn’t be in this position. Living life before death with belief in the past.

Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered—Life before life, a greater belief in an uncertain future than a certain past.

Michael Scaman 4 days ago

“A hand upon the throne of the Lord" is an interesting phrase. By prayer we have a hand on the throne of God, for our help?

Michael Scaman 4 days ago

The Dock is a place where the accused prisoner stands as court is held. While God came down on a mountain that should not even be touched, here God even allows himself pictured as a rock and struck in this case. God is figuratively struck and gives life giving water.

CS Lewis wrote a book called “God in the Dock” and Tim Keller made a great sermon on that which is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8nSm_OY5x8&app=desktop

Jeannie Lewis 4 days ago

Sara, thanks for sharing what God revealed to you as you studied this passage. The Lord desires His best for His children and community, accountability and obedience all play a part in this desire.

And thank you for reminding us to take the time to thank others for their willingness to be the hands of feet of our Lord.

Hope Harris 4 days ago

I love the image of Moses being supported by Aaron and Hur. I can’t imagine the sense of heaviness Moses felt knowing that if he lowered his arms human lives would be lost.

This story models that effective ministry and leadership is not a solo act, but team effort. We see it repeated in the lives of David (Mighty Men of Valor), Jesus (12 Disciples, and the 70) finally the Apostle Paul (19 people are mentioned to have traveled with Paul in his journeys and 16 co-workers, fellow prisoners, and supporters.)

Life is meant to be lived in relationship with God and on mission with others.

Hugh Stephenson 4 days ago

2 Timothy 3:16 - God reveals to me a new element of His nature - Jehovah-Nissi; the LORD is My Banner. In the discipleship ministries we always seek to learn & teach the nature & character of God. God’s use of many names and compound names have helped me see elements of Him that I had missed.

I learn that Nissi could also be “refuge” or “exaltation”. The same staff was used to display the power of God in many instances, most recently to provide water from a rock. Even so, the image of “My Banner” is what stays with me. Like all of my battles with my own war-like nomadic Amalekites, it is only under His Banner that I can prevail. My own strength is just enough to make me think I don’t need His Banner.

I am grateful for so many victories over so much sin and dysfunction.

View More Comments

Download The App

  • Jointhejourney app store
  • Jointhejourney play store