Take the Hand of One Nearby


“The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.”

So begins a brief but vivid passage of Scripture found in Exodus 17:8-13. It is the response to this attack that is noteworthy. Moses orders Joshua to take the army to meet the enemy. Meanwhile, Moses climbs to the top of a hill overlooking the battlefield, and there raises his hands over the scene below him. When his hands were raised high the army of Israel gained momentum and began to win the battle. But when his hands became tired and he lowered them, the army of Israel began to lose.

How valuable it was, therefore, for friends to stand with Moses at that critical hour. Aaron and Hur huddled around the great leader and “held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset” (verse 12). Because they stood alongside of Moses—bearing with him the burden of his labor—“Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword” (verse 13).

Whose hands do you need to hold up today? How about our president? Whether you agree with him or not, the apostle Paul exhorts you to “submit . . . to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1). Have you prayed for him this day, particularly at such a crucial hour globally? Or what about your spouse? Do you hold her hands up high so she can be everything God wants her to be? Are you standing alongside of him as he deals with the critical issues of life?

Give consideration here to the influences in your life. Is it possible that God wants you to be like Aaron and Hur to your Sunday school teacher, your coach, your neighbor, the missionary you know and your—Heaven forbid—employer? How about to the divorced mom of three that you know? How about the elderly couple that can no longer drive? How about the young professional who longs for a wife and godly friends? These folk may not be like Moses, but they are people that need the blessing of one who will stand with them by way of prayer, service, encouragement, and accountability.

God is calling all of us who follow after Jesus to step into one of two kinds of positions. Some of us are to be like Moses—called to serve in unique positions whereby we have broad influence over people. Others—perhaps most of us—are called to be like Aaron and Hur, willing to come alongside to hold a hand up high. This is intentional, Christ-like service, love and accountability. It is nothing less than that which we must model within our realms of influences.

Are you modeling this?


  1. Matthew says:

    Awesome Mike. Your brain power is amazing. I mean that. I really admire you and the mind God has given you.

    I think the hand-holding we’re talking about can be symbolic for prayer and good will (like that of Polycarp toward the proconsul). Of course, the passage with Aaron and Hur and Moses is true, and not merely symbolic, yet it inspires me to realize that leaders really need to be support so that the right things come about.

    Clearly, with Obama for instance, I cannot and will never support him with regard to abortion, and with the Health Scare deal I’m greatly concerned about the grave implications (literally) it has for the elderly. However, I can hold up his hands with prayers that God’s wisdom would override his human approaches, that God would grant unto him the kind of favor that we would all hope our leaders could have should they choose noble pathways. I would imagine, for instance, that Daniel prayerfully held the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, despite the fact that this Babylonian king was a brutal idol-worshiper. Is it possible that Daniel’s prayers contributed to Nebuchadnezzar humbling himself before God following his season in the grasslands? Perhaps.

    Let me confess, my friend, a great tension on this issue for me. How can we expect the best of our leaders when patterns show we may not see the best? And can I hold a leader’s hands up in prayer while at the same time vehemently disagreeing on certain issues? Perhaps . . . but only by the grace and mercy and wisdom of the Master.

  2. Michael says:

    Matthew this is a great article. I appreciate your wisdom and ability to draw from OT truths their application to our lives today.

    I have questions regarding the parallel drawn between Aaron and Hur’s relationship to Moses and Americans relationship to our Government. “Whose hands do you need to hold up today? How about our president? Whether you agree with him or not, the apostle Paul exhorts you to ‘submit . . . to the governing authorities’ (Romans 13:1)”

    I was thinking about how Polycarp in “The Martyrdom of Polycarp, 10.1” was respectful in his manners towards the procounsul despite the threat of death if he did not “repent” of being a Christian and worship Caesar. With that, I beleive that to some degree, we can be respectful towards, and respectfully disagree with our leaders at the same time.

    As for our leaders, scripture calls us to pray for the “Kings and all who are in authority” and submit to them where they align with God, but I am not sure how much “hand holding” we are required to do.

    Although Moses was called by God to lead His people and the leaders of nations are put in place by God, I am not sure that I agree that the same principle applies to both parties.

    If Pharaoh was alive today would you argue that we were to lift his hands up in the same way Aaron did Moses?

    How are we as Christians to respond to our leaders on the deeper issues of morality such as abortion (destroying the Imago Dei)?

    Keep up the good fight!

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