8 Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel succeeded, but whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek succeeded. 12 Then Moses’ hands grew tired, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua gained victory over Amalek and his people with the sword. 14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it so Joshua can hear it, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD is my war flag, 16 saying, “My hand was on the throne of the LORD! The LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
my war flag
In this first battle in a long series of battles with the Amalekites, the Israelites are definitely the underdogs. Those of battle age and not well prepared and miserably unequipped. So, God intervenes again. This time, the staff of Moses becomes a war flag, or signal pole. It serves as a rallying point for the Israelites. As long as the flag was still there, there would be courage and hope.
The problem was that Moses was only one man, and his arms would get tired holding up this symbol of the LORD’s presence. Enter Aaron and Hur, who come alongside Moses, and help him to lead, by helping him display the symbol of the presence of the LORD.
At no point in this story are we told that Moses was praying, or that Aaron and Hur helped him pray. No doubt they did pray, but that is not the point. Moses would not have stopped praying simply because his arms got tired. No, the lifted staff was a symbol of the LORD’s presence, and so it had to remain, because the LORD was teaching all those in battle that he was present, fighting for them.
LORD, thank you for your abiding presence. Thank you for the assurance that you are with us, fighting our battles for us, giving us confidence that no matter how difficult things become, you will prevail.