I always enjoy reading and learning more about Exodus, so I am glad that at church, our Pastor is doing a sermon series on this book. This past Sunday, however, his words were particularly poignant for me. The commentary that spoke to me the most was on this section of Scripture from chapter 17: 10-13
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 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.
Something that jumped at me as our Pastor spoke about this passage was the fact that: we don’t have to fight alone, but we do have to fight.
God was with the Israelites, no doubt, and God’s mighty hand led them to victory, but that didn’t mean that they didn’t have to do their part. Joshua still had to take up the sword and stand in front of the armies of the Lord. He still had to be in the midst of the carnage and war had to be waged regardless of what the outcome would be and of how much they realized God was beside them. That is such a profound thought for us, today, thousands of years apart from that event.
This piece of Scripture reminds us that we are not exempted from the battle. We are God’s warriors and we can expect a fierce fight. It may not involve a literal sword or any type of fire arms, but we also, at times, land in the midst of a war…and we got to fight. We put on the Armor of God and march on to the battlefield…be it at the office, at home, in our family living rooms, at the dinner table, at a doctor’s waiting room, in a hospital bed, on an examination table, in the loneliness of our bedroom, in the crowded sidewalks of society, in the choppy waters of counter culture…we ought to be ready to fight.
However, we never fight alone. No matter what, there is always someone by our side. Even if the world abandons us, Jesus is our constant companion. As the Word, Jesus provides the main weapons in our war. He is also the Truth that we wrap around our waist. He is the Gospel that makes us ready. In Him we put our faith that protects us from the flaming arrows of the enemy, and He is our Salvation! Therefore, Jesus is no ordinary companion. As a matter of fact, He is our full armor.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6: 14-17.
We never fight alone either because the Lord Our God gives us brothers and sisters that go to battle with us. He gives us those who find us a place to rest and prop our arms up when our strength fails. He gives us those who lift us up to Him so we can finish the task and get to the other side.
As we go through our valleys of shadow, our deserts, our fires, our storms, our wars, let’s acknowledge the fact that we don’t fight alone. Let’s recognize those along the path who shoulder by shoulder walk with us into battle, those who lift our arms up when we lack endurance. Let us also examine ourselves and see if we are accomplishing our own mission as helpers and companions in others’ struggles. How well are we lifting others up to the Lord in their time of trial?
We all ought to fight…but we don’t have to fight alone.