I recently read Exodus 17:8 -16, a passage I’ve read several times before, but this time God showed me a few things that I should pay closer attention to.
In this story, the people of Israel (God’s chosen, set apart people) have just received water out of solid rock in the bare desert, yet they are still wondering if God is really with them and if He cares. As they are camped in a certain place, a group of warriors from a desert tribe attacks them. Moses hears from God and instructs Joshua to gather men together and to be ready to fight the next morning. Moses will go up to a hilltop and hold high the staff of God – the same one that he used to part the Red Sea – as they fight.
In the morning, Joshua attacks and all is going well for Israel until Moses’ arms start getting tired and he needs to rest. His arms go down and the enemy begins to win. Two other men are with Moses on the hill, Aaron and Hur. They see what’s happening and find a rock for Moses to sit on. They also stand on either side of Moses and hold up his arms. Moses’ hands go back up and Israel begins pushing back the enemy. They stand like this until sunset and the enemy is defeated. God proved His care for his people and He was indeed with them!
As I read this, the themes of support and intercession kept echoing in my mind. Moses and Joshua had their instructions: Joshua to fight and Moses to intercede on behalf of the people. Neither could do their work alone, they needed support. Joshua had the people of Israel; Moses had Aaron and Hur.
I can’t help but wonder how those who were fighting might have felt as they were conquering their enemy, confident in themselves and their ability – until something happened and they began losing ground. Joshua looked up to the hill, saw that Moses’ arms are down and not raised as before. He was growing tired. He raised his arms again after a time and the tide turned back in Israel’s favour. This may have continued a number of times until Aaron and Hur caught on and realized they needed to stand in the gap and support their leader and friend in the task God had called him to.
I see many connections in this story related to how we are called to live our lives as disciples of Jesus. In relation to the ministry of One Life One Chance, God has called this us to the San Quintin Valley for His specific purpose: to serve, encourage, equip and mobilize Christians to demonstrate the mercy, justice, and reconciliation of Jesus Christ. We can’t see the end result, or exactly what will happen next, but we are moving in faith that his purpose will be accomplished, that His Kingdom will ultimately prevail. OL can’t do it alone though, we need your support; we need you to ‘hold up our arms’ as we seek to do the work that God is calling us to. Your job comes with its challenges as well. Holding up another’s hands requires that your arms carry the weight of what you are supporting. You may become weary, but your part is crucial.
We also need to hold up the arms of the pastors who are leading their churches and interceding for their communities, we need to hold up the arms of parents who are interceding for their families, spouses interceding for each other. They can’t do it on their own. We can be their support! We can be part of the victory they experience, though we stand removed from their struggle. God can fight the battle without us, but He wants to use us to support and encourage each other; to fight the battle with Him. The battle is raging all around and we know victory is coming, if only we will not give up and will continue to hold each other in prayer in the mission and the fight that God has called us to.
So please, continue to pray for this ministry and those we serve in the Baja. Pray for the OL staff here and in San Quintin as they daily engage in hands-on ministry. Pray for the Board as they discern the work. Pray for the churches in the Valley who are seeing God move and those who are seeking to see Him move in mightier ways. Pray for the families who OL will be serving this next spring and summer as they receive a tangible gift of God’s love through a home and new relationships. Pray for the people that God is calling to serve them. And pray that God would work in your own heart to do the work that He wants to fulfil in you.
Our upheld arms, supported by each other, will be a testament to our faith in the God who asks us to work with Him and moves in ways beyond our comprehension, and will be a demonstration of praise for His glory.
Trish Wiens – Member of the Board of Directors