“Amalek came to war with Israel. Moses stood on the top of the hill. The people were fighting in the valley. When Moses lifted his hands to God in prayer, the people of God won and overcame the enemy. Then the hands of Moses became heavy, weary. As Moses’ hands went down, God’s people were defeated and the enemy gained ground. God’s people were defeated and in great danger. Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands, standing on each side of him. Then Moses’ hands became steady again and God’s people were victorious against their enemy” (see Exodus 17:8-13).
When Moses stood on the mountain with his arms extended toward heaven, it symbolized his dependence, reliance and faith in God for victory over his enemies. “The battle is the Lord’s” (1 Samuel 17:47). “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty through God, supernatural for the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). And the victory is acquired “not by might or human capacity, but by My Spirit, says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6).
In the life of Moses, as in ours, the battles and conquests are the same. I can’t do anything in and of myself and I will fail miserably if I ultimately trust in my ideas, experiences, resources or efforts. In these moments of invisible and eternal warfare, when combat is fierce and our lives, families, ministries or futures are on the line, we find victory as we stand on God’s mountain in prayer, lifting our hands to Him in trust and surrender.
Something fascinating takes place on the mountain. Moses’ arms are getting tired and as they slowly lower, the wind turns on the battlefield and the enemy gains ground. Blood is shed, soldiers are wounded and killed, screams of pain and tears fill the valley, the enemy is galvanized and spine-shuddering, bestial war cries are heard. What’s happening?
The same army that was triumphant a moment before now is being massacred. Aaron and Hur grasp the far-reaching significance of what is taking place. They stand next to Moses, one on each side, and hold up his arms in a gesture and spiritual picture of unity, loyalty and support. It is as if they are saying, “We are with you, Moses. We recognize that God has placed you as our leader and we stand with you. We acknowledge the importance of this principle and we want to practice faith; we want to protect and empower God’s people battling in the valley.”
The enemy’s violent and devastating surge, impossible to stop just a short time ago, is now reversed. God’s people have no additional weaponry, but they are now invincible and their army is mighty. They win the battle!
Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.