Raised hands, not weapons, win the battles
What was so significant about that day that I would post a photo of my Bible and notebook for the Project? An encounter with God happened.
I’m 3 weeks into my fast and I’ve found that while the first 2 weeks were pretty easy, the third (this past week) wasn’t. And I’ve also learned, through accountability with other girls at GFRESH, that it’s when you’re doing your best that the Enemy will work harder to attack you and bring you down.
By the end of the week, I felt so unworthy to face God, that I was actually relieved that I wasn’t scheduled to be up for worship at GFRESH. I didn’t want to be up on the stage playing piano for a King that I wasn’t worthy to face. I felt dirty and useless — but a King’s court is spotlessly clean, and He only has courtiers that are there to serve and submit to Him.
During worship, God pressed the above passage — Exodus 17:8-16 — onto my heart:
8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 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.”
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up — one on one side, one on the other — so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
14 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.”
15 Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. 16 He said, “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”
So when we got the chance to sit down, I pulled out my notebook and borrowed a pen from Christine to jot down what God taught me from the story:
Moses, after leaving the Pharaoh’s palace, became a shepherd, so from the time God called him to take His people out of Egypt, Moses always carried around a staff. This was a long pole with the top curved around. In Biblical times, these were used by the shepherd to pull in wandering sheep. Because it was tall and stood upright, — not crooked — the shepherd would also use it as a walking aid, much like an elderly man might use a cane.
In verse 9, Moses tells Joshua that he will “stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” The Word is our staff. Whatever it says stands; it is set in an upright position, and it remains valid or unaltered (not crooked). God’s Word never changes. It was true when He created the world, and it’ll remain true when the world ends. Our Staff must be brought with us wherever we go. It helps us to remain standing. It helps us in our walk with God, because it is God talking to us. And much like Moses used his staff to pull in wandering sheep, so must we — as bearers of the name of Christ, and as children of the High King — use our Staffs to pull in the lost.
Often, we associate “worship” with lifting up our hands. Worship isn’t just simply lifting your hands, but for the sake of this post, lifting our hands will simply symbolise worshipping God.
When everything in our life is going great, we go to church and we worship passionately. We’re at the front of the church with our arms up as high as they can go, because we’re so thankful that everything in our life is superb. But once something goes wrong, suddenly we don’t “feel like” worshipping. We don’t want to “worship” through our trials and struggles ’cause they bring us down.
But did you notice that when the Israelites and Amalekites were in battle, Moses kept his hands raised as a symbol of his worship for God. When they were raised, the Israelites were winning. But, when he lowered them, because he was tired or “didn’t feel like it,” it was the Amalekites who were winning.
When we worship God through the the good times, that’s great. But when we worship Him through our bad times, God is still the One who is in control, and He will take care of things for you. He already won the battle by dying on the Cross; all that’s left for us to do is give Him the glory.
Personally, I sometimes find it difficult to just leave everything up to God, and I’m sure that there are plenty who agree. So sometimes, we go to people for help — godly people who will encourage us, support us, and most importantly, pray for us. When we grow weary and we need a break, sit down on a Rock — rely on Jesus — and ask people to pray for you. Even though you don’t feel like worshipping God through your struggles, there are people who care about you that will intercede for you on your behalf, so that you will win your battle.
What I’ve learnt from all of this is that even though I didn’t do spiritually well this past week, I shouldn’t have turned myself away from God. Sure, I’ve sinned, but God has already forgiven me and all I have to do is accept His forgiveness and move on with my life. He doesn’t want me to dwell on my mistakes, but learn from them so that I won’t make those mistakes again.
I’ve learnt that even if life gets hard and I feel like the Enemy is doing all he can to distract me from God (and I know he tried — Jane knows what I’m talking about!), I just have to ignore those attacks and not let them stop me from running my race. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:24 to, “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” I want to graduate, and I don’t want to miss my target by even point-five of a mark. Paul also said in Philippians 3:14 that he will “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” I won’t let anything get in my way; I’m going to get over it and keep running!
I’ve also learnt from the passage in Exodus how important it is to have people around you for support. God has placed those people in your life for a reason — they’re not just there so you can have someone to sit next to during a church service. They’re there for you to lean on, and you’re also probably there for them to lean on during their weak times.
The chapter I’m currently reading in Not Even A Hint by Joshua Harris is also about the importance of accountability (that didn’t happen by chance — God planned that I would be reading that chapter right now). Joshua titled the chapter “Lone Rangers Are Dead Rangers” and I absolutely love what he wrote:
No matter how strong you might feel right now or how much victory over [sin] you’re presently experiencing, you won’t make it very long on your own. In the battle against [sin], lone rangers are dead rangers. They might look impressive riding off into the sunset by themselves, but when an ambush comes, they’re without help (see Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12).
I hope this was helpful for someone. And if you pray (to God), please pray for me. I feel like I need all the support I can get.
– “Keep moving forward.” – Walt Disney
“I hope that y’all listening well, there’s only two places to dwell / Heaven or hell / And if you representing the first, I pray you’re representing it well”
Heaven Or Hell by Lecrae