The very first battle that Israel faced after escaping Egypt was the battle at Rephidim. The word “Rephidim” in Hebrew means “resting places.” Israel was at rest when trouble arrived. The enemy doesn’t want you to rest. He does not want you to lean on God’s strength, he wants you to rely on your own strength.
After Israel had left Egypt they saw many miracles. The Scriptures explain how they found themselves in a battle with the Amalekites. As Israel’s army went towards the Amalekites, Moses went up the hill. Why did he do this? Was he afraid and wanted to be far away from the battle? No, we discover that as he was up there, he began to hold his hands to the sky.
Exodus 17:11 tells us, “So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed.” Now they were doing well and holding their own, but Moses’ hand began to get 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 one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” (Exodus 17:12-13).
Scott McKay once said, “The strength didn’t come from the sword. It came from the staff…If you purely put your trust in the sword (that is your ability, powers, resources, and strength) and not in the staff (that is God’s power, resources, ability, and strength), then you will surely fail.”
Who is holding up your arms? During our church’s One Year Anniversary service, my friend Nic Perez shared a word and asked everyone there to write a note of encouragement to me. I took the notes, put them in a glass jar, and have them on my desk. Every time I have a rough day or feel inadequate, I open that jar. I am reminded that there are people around me lifting up my arms. Even this past Sunday my church suprised me with a Pasor’s appretiation lunch. They had a cake, wrote notes, and even sang a song! I can’t express in words how much it meant to me. I’m so thankful for them. I believe that we all need a jar of encouragement. We all need one another to remind us who we are in Christ.
Worship God not at the end of the battle bur also during. Praise God while the storm is raging. Think about it like this, we are the body of Christ. To lift up a fellow believer’s hands is to lift up Jesus’. When someone is going through a rough patch, lift up their hands: speak a word of encouragement to them, write them a note, send them a scripture, buy them lunch, or just sit next to them.
What transpired on the hill of Rephidim was a picture of the cross. As long as Moses lifted up his hands, Israel was victorious in battle. In the same way because Jesus’ hands were lifted up on the hill of Golgotha, we have victory! We can see that our victory does not come from the strength of our arms, but our victory arrives from God.