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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Statue at Friedenskirche, Potsdam via Wikimedia Creative Commons

Have you ever heard about the time the vagabond tribes of Israel went to battle against the Amalekites? For some curious reason it was crucially important for Moses to continuously hold up his wooden staff (“the staff of God”) during the battle. If his arms grew weary and Moses lowered his staff, the tide of the battle would swing in the favor the Amalekites. Somehow someone noticed this curious keep-it-up phenomenon and realized that Moses’ weary arms needed additional support. Tersely put: Moses’ staff needed to help him uphold his staff.

Here is the account:

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.

Exodus 17:11-13 New International Version

What a strange story! For some curious reason, when the Israelites battled the Amalekites, the outcome of the battle was determined not by the combatants on the field, but by someone observing and assisting on the sidelines. 

To repeat and for emphasis, the outcome of this battle was determined not by the combatants on the field, but by someone observing and assisting on the sidelines. But he couldn’t do it alone. He needed some support.

Stained Glass Depiction

Again, Moses’ staff needed to help him uphold his staff.  

Is there an applicable lesson for us somewhere in this story? If so, what might it be?