Friday, May 15, 2009

Hold Up Their Arms

“Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” -Hebrews 3:13 NIV

When I was in college, I sang in a choir that traveled around to lots of churches. On one trip in Lowell, Arkansas, we stayed the night in the homes of church members. I’ll never forget Mrs. Mary. She was an elderly widow who lived in a rural part of town. Man, could she cook! Her hospitality was wonderful. She treated me and the other three guys who stayed with her like kings. She probably prayed for us six or seven times while in her home, packed snacks for us and put mints on our pillows (that was pretty neat). Before we left, we had a new grandmother and she insisted we give her our addresses.

After a few days back at school, I received a letter from Mrs. Mary stating that she was praying for me every day. I received a letter from her every week for the next two years at college until she went on to be with the Lord. Each of the letters said how she was praying for me and lifting me up to the Lord. She said she wanted to be like Aaron and Hur and lift up my arms as I studied to be a pastor. What encouragement! Several times as I preached in other churches during college, I would think about how Mrs. Mary was lifting me up to the Lord. I learned a great deal from her letters, a few of which I still have today.

A short while after Moses and the people of Israel miraculously passed through the Red Sea, “the Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites” (Exodus 17:8). The Israelites did not have the power to win this battle on their own, so Moses sent Joshua to the battlefield and then climbed to the top of a hill. Moses said, “I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands” (Exodus 17:9).

God had previously demonstrated His power as Moses raised his staff to part the Red Sea (Exodus 14:16). He had also told Moses to use his staff to cause water to flow out of a rock (Exodus 17:5-6). Moses was now trusting God to demonstrate His power once again as he lifted this same staff in battle.

Exodus 17:11-13 says, “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 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. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”

Moses knew what he had to do, but he simply became worn out. Fortunately for the people of Israel, Moses had two trusted companions who stood by his side and were willing to hold up his arms until the battle was won.

Many people have committed their lives to fighting the battle for the Kingdom of God. These, who are daily on the front lines, feel greatly outnumbered and are prone to grow weary. They desperately need an Aaron and a Hur to come alongside with prayer and encouragement.

I feel very fortunate to have people who lift up my ministry and family daily. Our pastors, ministry leaders, fellow Christians, and those who continually look for ways to serve, need this same type of support. The Bible says to “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). Those who faithfully serve may appear strong and confident, but their arms are getting very tired and they need to be reassured. Sometimes those who step out with great faith are also very lonely and need to know someone still cares.

Many of our Brothers and Sisters are on the front lines of battle today. Let’s join them by becoming a continual “supply line” of encouragement and prayer. Let’s be like Aaron and Hur, and hold up their arms!

Spiritual Challenge:
Who do you need to encourage? Go and do it right now!