Fighting on our Knees with Our Hands Lifted High: A Lesson from Exodus 17

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Exodus 16-17

“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.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

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. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.

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.” And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD Is My Banner, saying, “A hand upon the throne of the LORD! The LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

Exodus 17:8-16 ESV

There are so many things I can learn from this short passage.

1. Joshua and the soldiers in the army had a job to do – but it wasn’t the same job that Moses, Aaron, and Hur. Joshua and his soldiers were to go and actively fight in the battle while Moses, Aaron, and Hur were to go on top of the mountain far from the fighting and fight in prayer. God gives different people different jobs to do. We must each do what God has called us to do. Don’t look at the brother or sister next to you and think, “Why aren’t you on the front lines of this fight?” Moses had his time to lead the Israelites through the Red Sea and Moses had his time to go on a mountain and pray.

2. Aaron and Hur’s supporting roles were vital to Moses’s success. Just like Jesus sent out his followers two by two (Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1), God sent Aaron and Hur to help Moses in the fight – not by standing next to Moses holding up their own arms, but standing next to Moses holding up his arms. If you’ve been called to lead, don’t minimize your need for sisters and brothers to partner with you. If you’ve been called to provide support, don’t minimize the essential nature of your role! Your leaders need your prayers, you’re encouragement, and your partnership in there fight! I’m personally so thankful for those faithful sisters who pray for me, who speak encouraging words to me, and who walk next to me in this daily battle.

3. Our battle’s victory is ultimately won in the spiritual realm. There are real battles being fought – both in the physical realm and in the spiritual realm – but the victory is in the Lord’s hands.

Some physical battles here on earth will be lost. Your loved one might lose their fight with cancer. Your much fought for marriage might end in divorce. Your child might fail that class or lose that friendship.

But we can trust that the battle belongs to the Lord. No one and no thing can thwart His plans. Sometimes all that we can do is pray and wait with our hands raised and our knees bowed, but that is where the greatest power lies. The Israelites didn’t win the war because they had a better army. They won the war because the Lord had ordained the victory. So, whether the physical battle is won or lost, the battle belongs to the Lord.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:10-20 ESV

Heavenly Father, the battle belongs to you. The victory belongs to you. It is not by our own might but by your spirit that the battle will be won. Help us to trust You when the earthly battles we are fighting don’t go the way we want them to. You are our banner. You are who goes before us and fights for us. Help us to trust you in all things and to pray to You faithfully. Help us to help each other – lifting up our arms and lifting one another’s arms, remembering that the fervent prayers of a righteous person are powerful and avail much. In the Powerful name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

You’ve Already Won by Shane and Shane
Battle Belongs by Phil Wickham

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