My husband Jack was on mile 25 out of 26 when his strength failed him.
This was his first marathon, and he was running alone. After stopping for a drink of water at an aid station, he felt exhausted and sat down on the grass beside the course. Minutes passed, and he couldn’t get up. He had resigned himself to quitting the race when two middle-aged schoolteachers from Kentucky came by. Although they were strangers, they noticed Jack and asked if he wanted to run with them. Suddenly, he found his strength restored. Jack stood and accompanied by the two women he finished the race.
Those women who encouraged Jack remind me of Aaron and Hur, two friends who helped Moses, the leader of the Israelites, at a key point (Ex. 17:8–13). The Israelites were under attack. In battle, they were winning only as long as Moses held his staff up (v. 11). So when Moses’s strength began to fail, Aaron and Hur stood on either side of him, holding up his arms for him until sunset (v. 12).
Following God is not a solo endeavor. He did not create us to run the race of life alone. Companions can help us persevere through difficulty as we do what God has called us to do.
God, thank You for relationships that encourage me to continue following You. Help me to be a source of strength for others, as well.
Who can I encourage to persevere through difficulty today?
Several unique battle plans recorded in Scripture include marching around a city and blowing trumpets (Josh. 6), surrounding the camp with torches and blowing trumpets (Judg. 7), and today’s story of raising hands (Ex. 17). While we have no record of when or why the battle plan in Exodus 17 was established, Moses’s lifted hands was clearly the deciding factor in who was winning (see v. 11). However, it wasn’t just up to Moses to keep his hands raised; the result was the same when Aaron and Hur held up Moses’s hands.
The combined efforts of Moses, Aaron, and Hur allowed Joshua to win the battle. In verses 14–16 we read something interesting about Joshua: He may not have known he was being helped. The Lord instructs Moses to write down the events of the battle—both on the field and behind the scenes—and to make sure Joshua hears it (v. 14). Perhaps He wanted to remind Joshua that the battle was not won by army size or by military strategy. And it’s possible He wanted Joshua to know he wasn’t alone in the battle, just as Moses wasn’t alone in his task.