Moses was sitting on a rock watching the Isrealites fight the Amelikites. (They obviously won that war, because no one has heard from the latter ever since.) The secret weapon used in that battle was the fact that Moses had his arms up in the air. And not out of dispair or frustration, but because keeping his arms in the air ensured their victory. God tipped the winning scale in the favour of the Isrealites as long as Moses had his arms high. When his arms got tired and it fell to his sides, well, let’s just say, he needed to keep his hands in the air.
No you have to remember that Moses was like 800 years old when this specific event occurred. And we all know that they spend a few years wandering aimlessly in the desert so he must have been a little withered. He wasn’t trained as a navy seal and never partook in any Survivor challenge, although keeping your arms up for an extended period might seem like a chance to win individual immunity. Anyhow it might seem cruel to expect an old man to have his arms raised for a prolonged period of time.
But I don’t think that was the lesson. I don’t think it was punishment or even cruel. I think this story teaches a lesson in support, friendship and co-operation. Probably went something like this:
Between blood and spit and sweat the general saw the old man standing on the mountain with his arms raised. He saw the strain on his face, even from this distance. His sleeves fell to his shoulder and his arms was exposed to the heat of the day. The wind tussled on his long grey beard. Seeing this old man, fighting exhaustion, filled the general with vigour and strength. He fought hard and annihilated every opponent challenging him. His men did the same, they could almost taste the wine that will be consumed during the celebrations later.
Then something changed. He saw it on his brothers face first a few metres away. He was fighting hard, his opponent a strong looking young man. Fear gripped the general’s heart as he shoved his own challenger out of the way and rushed toward his brother. He stabbed him low in his back, aiming for the kidney, just in time, as he was about to kill his brother lying in the dust, drained of all his energy. He grabbed his brother by the hand and lifted him, his grey eyes filled with gratitude and surprise.
The general turned to the mountain again and looked at the old man. Moses was exhausted and his arms hanged helplessly by his side. His face turned into a mask of sadness and failure. The general realised Moses needs help. He started shouting for Aaron.
“Aaron, go help your brother. He is too tired to keep his arms up in the air, and we are starting to lose the battle. Go quickly and take one of my men with you. We WILL have our victory today!”
And they did.
The point of this little analogy is not about the victory, it’s about the awesomeness of support. God knew that it would be physically impossible for any man to maintain that posture indefinitely. So by His grace, by allowing people to assist Moses, He kept the miracle going, thereby teaching us to help one another.
And that is why God created friends. They are there to help us in times when we feel like we are losing our battle, when we want to give up hope facing dark demon days. They keep our arms up and thereby give us courage, allowing us to fight and eventually win the war.
This one goes out to all those people in my life who keep my arms up.