Exodus 17-18

“So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed.” (17:11)

This seems like an interesting trick and I think plenty of sports fans have tried it themselves. But it’s not a trick. This was Israel’s first battle of many more to come. It needed to be established, up front, that victory was only going to come from the LORD. Hands up is a symbol of appealing to God, asking for divine intervention and favor. As long as Moses’ hands were up and they were looking to God for victory, things worked out. 

Israel wasn’t going to come out of slavery, never having fought in a war before, and be incredible soldiers on their own. God had promised them a land, but it was going to happen because He’s awesome and they’re obedient… never the other way around.

Sometimes I can trick myself into thinking, if I do everything right, and pray all the right prayers, God will answer me favorably because I’m awesome and He’s obedient. YIKES!

This is why we all need help. Even Moses was refreshed by advice, in chapter 18.

So much of the Christian faith is giving up stuff: laying down rights for the sake of someone else, laying down burdens, surrending “control” (as if it was ever ours to begin with). Just a couple chapters ago Moses told Israel, “The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.(14:14) Keep silent. That should be easy enough. Right?

For whatever reason, it’s part of our culture to be busy all the time. It gives us some false sense of importance. Jethro comes alongside Moses and says, “the thing you’re doing is not good.” (18:17) Delegate, man!

So this all brings me to some self assessment. What battles am I fighting? What makes me hope for victory? My skills and work ethic or my posture of dependence? What responsibilities am I holding that I need to let go? Am I empowering those around me and being an example of dependence on God? Am I handing out fish or teaching people how to fish?

What about you?


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