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Prayer Support Lifts the Arms of our Leaders

From Pastor Quentin Wallace

When the Israelites were at Rephidim, they were attacked by the Amalekites. So Moses told Joshua, “Have some men ready to attack the Amalekites tomorrow. I will stand on a hilltop, holding this walking stick that has the power of God.” Joshua led the attack as Moses had commanded, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur stood on the hilltop. The Israelites out-fought the Amalekites as long as Moses held up his arms, but they started losing whenever he had to lower them. Finally, Moses was so tired that Aaron and Hur got a rock for him to sit on. Then they stood beside him and supported his arms in the same position until sunset. That’s how Joshua defeated the Amalekites.

— Exodus 17:8-13

The Evangelist Billy Graham often went to our nation’s Capitol to counsel and pray with and for our leaders. He understood that those who lead need God’s guidance in their decision making. An illustration of leadership support is emphasized in the Exodus passage above.

In the account, Moses is informed by God that the Israelites are going into battle with the Amalekites. And, God’s provision is this: As long as Moses’ arms are raised, God’s people will be victorious, but should Moses’ arms fall, the enemy will win. As long as the leader looks to God and lifts up the staff, and the people look to the leader, the people will win. On the other hand, should the leader tire and lower his hands, the enemy will be victorious. We know from scripture that Moses was in constant conversation with God, and, as leaders, we must always keep our arms lifted in prayer and praise. However, lengthy battles or difficult circumstances may zap our strength. It is in those times of limited strength when we need the support of others.

In this Exodus passage, the battle raged on for a lengthy period. As it continued, Moses’ legs began to weaken, so Aaron and Hur sat him on a stone to rest. In a while, his arms began to tire and, under the weight of the staff, they began to lower. Subsequently, the Israelite soldiers began to lose to their opponents.

In this story, two things could have occurred:  Aaron or Hur could have stood by as Moses lowered his arms and accepted defeat as God’s will, or they could have assumed it was more important for the staff to be raised than for a weakened Moses to hold it and lifted it themselves.

Because Aaron and Hur understood that Moses had this pact with God, they made no attempt to assume Moses’ role in holding the staff but, instead, assisted Moses by lifting his arms for him. Their trust in God and faith in Moses led to God’s people prevailing in battle.

What I glean from this passage is this:  Godly leaders have great responsibility, but they are not called to do it alone.

Their decisions will impact others and ultimately lead to success or failure. Prayer and encouragement are the greatest supports we can offer for those who lead us. Therefore let us “lift the arms” of our leaders with our support, and we’ll find that, with God, we’ll win the difficult battles that arise.

Our National Day of Prayer is on Thursday, May 2. Let’s join our nation in prayer that day and continue to pray for our leaders. especially those in the church.


Pastor Quentin

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