A few years back, I became fascinated with the battles that were fought in the Old Testament. What I began to see is that we can pull wisdom from those battles and apply them to our every day battles of life. One battle in particular we can learn from is the battle of Rephidim where Israel fought the Amalekites (found in Exodus 17).
In this battle, Moses instructed Joshua to lead the Israel army in the battle, while Moses committed to hold up his staff until the battle was won. The staff was also called the staff of the Lord, and his posture was a traditional stance of prayer. In other words Moses would intercede in prayer holding the staff of the Lord during this battle. The account records that Moses went above the valley where his perspective of the battle was clear, and as long as he held up the staff Israel won. When his arms became tired and he began to let the staff down Israel would begin to lose.
Moses did not get involved in the hand-to-hand combat, he was old and it was not his place to fight in battle anymore, but he knew he could intercede in prayer for those who were in the heat of the battle. When Moses began to get tired two men, his brother Aaron and Hur, came along side him to support his efforts. They gave him a rock to sit on, and they held onto his arms to help support the weight of Moses’ effort. Moses held his arms up until sun down when the battle was finally won, and God got the glory of it all.
Life is full of battles. Some of them are simple battles that come from everyday life. Getting the kids to school on time is a battle in itself. Little annoyances, and inconveniences plague us all from time to time. Often times we have too much to do, and not enough time to get it all in. It’s good to pray over our day every day, but sometimes we are faced with a real battle that feels like a real threat. For instance when a loved one has a serious illness, or a marriage is falling apart. These are battles where we need a strategic battle plan. Here is where we can glean some wisdom from this historical account.
Sometimes our role will be to actively engage in combat, like Joshua did. These are battles where we can actively influence the out come of the battle. In these battles we are on the move, we are to be focused, and wise in our strategies. We may become weary, we may take some blows but we must keep going and trust that God will fight with us.
There are other battles where our role is less obvious. Like Moses, we may not called to be in the midst of the action and if we tried we would just get in the way. Instead we are to rise above the battle. We need to see the whole picture clearly so we know how to pray effectively. We are to get in the posture of prayer and stay there, unmoved, undiscouraged, and pray with fervency, even when it is hard or we feel discouraged. Praying continually can be a very hard calling.
Personally, when I don’t see what I consider to be victory immediately I tend to get discouraged. My prayer posture may begin to fall. This is where the third position in a battle comes in. At times we aren’t actively fighting in the battle, and we are not the main intercessor, but we will be called to be a support to the ones who are. Words cannot describe how important this role can be for those who are weary and tired. A simple card with encouraging words can give a weary heart the strength needed to press on for another day. Like a cold drink of water to a thirsty soul are the words of encouragement. Each role is necessary and each role has it’s place in the battle. It is important to understand where our place is in a battle. It can be easy to sit back and pray when we should be in combat, or to try to fight in combat, when we are to sit back. When we pray and ask God for wisdom our role will be clear and we can engage at whatever level we are called to be in effectively.
Have you ever been in a life battle that was hard? Have you ever had someone interceding for you in a battle? Have you ever felt the encouraging words of a true friend in the midst of discouraging times? Have you ever felt lost as to what role you are supposed to be play in the midst of a battle? At Olive Chapel the majority of our focus will be on Lesson’s gleaned from Old Testament battles for the next month. We would love to have you join us. Our services begin at 10 A.M. EST.