And because of my progress, I thought if I just sought after God enough, I would finally become that Godly woman I want so desperately to be. It always surprised me when I would do well for awhile and then stumble. I’d be loving and kind for a few days, then start putting my own needs and feelings ahead of other people’s. Sometimes these periods when my agenda was more important than God’s would last for days or even weeks, other times for mere minutes, and I saw the duration of those shortcomings decrease as I matured spiritually. So when I messed up, I concluded that I must not have really internalized God’s Word, and needed to become more mature in my faith. I figured if I did more studying, more praying, and listened to more sermons, I could finally be a woman who is consistently led by the Spirit.
All of that thinking changed recently when my pastor preached on Exodus 17. It’s the story of the Israelites battling the Amalekites:
Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 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. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword...And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner [Jehovah Nissi]...”I always thought this was a strange story. If God’s in control, what difference did it make whether Moses had his arms up or his hands in his pockets?
That day in church, the Lord spoke straight to my heart and my struggle: the position of our hands MATTERS, because we need to have them continually outstretched to God. The moment we stop reaching up for His protection and covering, we start losing the battle.
Moses couldn’t just lift his arms up once: he had to keep them up. It was a moment-by-moment decision to rely on God. And it was exhausting. But the Lord had a provision: He placed Godly people around Moses to help keep his hands lifted high and support him when he was too weak on his own.
And Moses wasn’t standing throughout the battle: he was resting on the rock. He had a firm foundation from which he could draw strength. Throughout the Bible, being seated represents being in a place of rest: Moses wasn’t struggling for victory, he was seated from a place of victory. The battle was already won; he simply needed to keep reaching out for God and ensure His banner was lifted high.
It sounds so obvious to say that Christianity is a daily battle. But until that moment, I never truly comprehended that I won’t ever become a Christ-like woman once and for all, nor is that what God expects of me.
My job is just to reach out for Him every moment of every day. If I am impatient or disrespectful, it’s not because I haven’t gotten to the point spiritually where nothing bothers me. It’s just because I got tired and let my arms down for a moment. The flesh is weak, but with support, I can put my arms right back up and still claim the victory.
God designed our walk with Him as a daily battle, because He never wants us to put our hands in our pockets. What He wants more than anything is for us to look continually to Him. And what could be more satisfying than to spend every day of our lives seated on the Rock, hands and faces upturned to our Savior, beholding His glory and marveling not at the intensity of the battle before us but at the magnificence of a battle that is already won.