Cooperation: Sharing the Job.

July 12th, 2009

Exodus 17:12. 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.
--NKJ

Let's look at this in backward steps. It's a snapshot of cooperation. Two men supported the hands of moses so he could hold them up all day. "Until the going down of the sun." They even gave Moses a stone to sit on to be comfortable. Hey, it's pretty hard to hold up your hands all day without help. But why were the hands of Moses heavy anyway? What was he doing, and why? Look at the earlier part of the chapter.

The Isr['ael people had been wandering, and complaining about the lack of water. God told Moses what to do. Take some elders out to a rock and strike the rock with the staff, and water will come out. Crazy, but Moses did it, and water came out. Then right after that, the people were being raided by a local king named Amileck. Moses told Joshua to round up people to fight. Then Moses says, "I will stand on a rock with God's staff in my hands." The fight takes place and Moses finds that when he holds his hands with the staff over his head, the Israelites begin winning. When he gets tired and lets it down, they begin losing. So, you can see how tired he must have become, and the need for cooperation in holding up his hands.

Do you notice any differences in the example of how the water came out of the rock, and how the battle was eventually won? With the water God said... and Moses did. With the battle Moses sprang into action and said I'll do... and he got tired. Still God caused the victory in the end. Moses might have forgotten to consult God for what to do. He did make a snap decision to have the troops rounded up, but it wasn't until a day later when the battle took place. Moses had a whole day to pray and consult God. God might have told Moses to do something else. God might have said, "just watch this, and see the enemy flee." God might have honored Moses and caused the enemy to be defeated before his hands got tired in the first place. Moses decided what he wanted to do, and God honored it, but he honored it in such a way so as to remind Moses of his own human weakness.

Have you ever fell asleep with an arm tucked under you so it had the circulation cut off? After a while your arm falls asleep and gets that pins and needles feeling. Usually you wake up and roll over before it gets too uncomfortable. Blood flows again, and soon things are back to normal. If you're really tired, you might sleep that way for a long time, maybe even all night. I know somebody who did that once. The lack of blood flow can cause long term damage. It was back in my military days. My friend had come in after an evening of drinking at the E-Club. He was tired, sleepy, and plopped himself down in a chair that sat next to his rack. (Rack is Marine Corps jargon for bed.) as he sat sideways in the chair, with one arm draped over the back of it, he fell asleep. Naturally so did his arm. He was so unaware that he slept the rest of the night like that and woke up in the morning with a bluish gray hand. All day he was in pain. It took a while longer before he could raise his arm, and use his hand normally. Definitely a strong reminder not to get drunk and sleep on his arm like that anymore.

Getting back to Moses. Though Moses acted on his own, it was prudent to rally troops for self defense. God even honored his dramatic posture of lifted hands to stimulate the victory. However, God strung out that battle so Moses could realize his human weakness, and the need for God's strength. Moses bit off a chore that was too big for himself. He needed help and cooperation form others.

God honored his sign of victory, but it took the help of trusted men to provide help, comfort and support. In our world today, we have leaders, Christian or otherwise. Ideally it is nice to have them consult God for the act they should do to get us out of a hard spot. Often a snap decision has to be made. Sometimes it might not be the best choice, but one that will work out under God's care. We need to cooperate and support our leaders and trust that God will work through the weakness and limitations of us human beings.

Pray for our leaders at all levels of government, at work, school, church, or any position of authority. Support them in doing the tough job and carrying the burden of responsibility of us all. Trust that God can work through their weaknesses.

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