By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“On Supporting Each Other”
“When Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. 13 In this way Joshua totally defeated the Amalekites. – Exodus 17:12-14
For most of us, life is a battle. Well, that’s not actually true. For all of us… yes… that one… for all of us… every day has its own unique skirmishes designed to address and impact our reason for being. No one is immune. No one is exempt. And every one of us would raise our hands to the question, “who has had that rough moment where you thought you’d lost the battle?” Moses certainly felt that way and if you know anything about Moses’s life then you know what I’m pointing to. Abandonment. Murder. Prince turned into herder of goats. Stutterer… to say nothing of surviving plagues only to be chased by Pharaoh’s army right to the water’s edge! And after the Israelites made it through the Sea of Reeds there was a long time of desert wandering, and more battles to come. Who’d want to walk a mile in those shoes?
Yet, Moses didn’t go it alone. He always had help. The sun came up every day… even on that mountaintop the day he died. And according to the Bible… we were not created for rugged individualism. That’s a battle we all lose… on our own. We were, however, created for community! We were created to help and support each other from the very first day until now. And as always… some people seem to be better at it than others. Yes. Faith matters.
These few verses in Exodus have always offered hope as there is always more to any story…
The Israelites were following God’s direction to a ‘promised land.’ Moses led the way holding the stick he used to strike the Nile… a stick with holy implications. And when the Amalekites began to attack the Israelites, as Moses held the stick up overlooking the battle… Joshua and the Israelites were winning the fight. When his arms grew tired and the stick was lowered… the Amalekites would begin to win.
Enter Aaron and Hur.
Battles make us weary. Skirmishes tax our wit and reason. The body, mind, and spirit get worn down. It is dangerous to go it alone. So, Aaron and Hur led Moses to a rock. They held up his arms so Moses could raise the stick and the power of God over Joshua and his army. And in the end, the Israelites won the battle against the Amalekites. So much for sticks and stones in that saga.
We are living in a time where we are being challenged to hold each other up. It’s not just our arms that are weary. The whole of our culture is being tested. Those on the front lines of hospitals and care facilities… our schools… those who protect and serve… the marketplace… our homes… single parents with children… those who live in poverty with little means or know how to end that cycle of life. The safety net seems to have a gaping hole!
And still… there’s hope. We know the winners… Heroes abound… Dick and Grace. Harvey. Rod. Eddie’s mom. Ruby. Me. You. And all the rest… as the battle rages on. But know this… battles persist but God has won the war! Even as the power of oppression lifted Jesus’ arms upon a cross… he asked his beloved disciple to care for his mother… because we can’t go it alone… as we need each other’s support… from the first day until now…
The Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches over the last four decades in Texas and Louisiana. You can read more following his blog ‘murmurings’ at https://briangigee.wordpress.com/. Comments and / or questions can be sent to [email protected].