Sunday, February 3, 2013

On the Mountain and in the Valley

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, February 3, 2013:  Exodus 17:8-19:15

11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.  Exodus 17:11-13 (NKJV)

Joshua in the valley was locked in conflict with the armies of Amalek.  The skill and strength of Israel was tested in the intensity of this hand-to-hand battle.  There was however another factor that would determine the outcome of this fight.

On a nearby hill, Moses held his rod of authority high in intercession.   While Moses held up his hand, Joshua would prevail.  In a mysterious correspondence, the moment Moses' hand would falter, Joshua in battle would fail.  No doubt, the determination and discipline of Joshua in the valley was necessary -- even vital.  But there was another factor that lay behind the victory.  

This simple story carries a powerful lesson.  So often our focus in on the actual fight in the valley.  After all, that's where the action is.  All our preparations point toward skills that come to bear in the heat of the battle.  But, there is another factor.  

Interestingly, we find one instance of fatigue in this conflict.  It is NOT soldiers on the field.  It is the intercessor on the mountain.  I find this to be so common.  We will fight to the bitter end long after our strength is spent.  But, the place of prayer is quickly unmanned when it is needed most.  

There are four leaders mentioned in this story: Moses on the mountain, Joshua in the valley, then Aaron and Hur, the men ready to reinforce.  Common sense says that all reinforcements should be deployed at the point of greatest need.  Human reason says that when the battle is going badly, send the new blood into the valley.  Spiritual sense says when the battle is going badly, reinforce the INTERCESSORS.  

What are Aaron and Hur doing on the mountain when the future is at stake in the valley?  Answer: they are at the point of greatest need!  In this light, we should consider again our priorities.  Perhaps a reinforced prayer life will take us further than we might think.  The upheld rod of authority in the hand of the intercessor will seal the battle in ways the sweat of the footsoldier cannot approach.  PRAY FOR THE FIGHT IN THE VALLEY.  PRAY and then PRAY SOME MORE.  The battle belongs to the Lord!

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