James Smith, 1861
"When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up — one on one side, one on the other — so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword." Exodus 17:12-13
Israel's history is full of important instruction, admonition, and counsel. How much of ourselves we may see in them. How soon they murmured and complained, and how often they provoked the Lord. Yet did the Lord appear for them, work on their behalf, and deliver them. No sooner had they received the Manna, than they murmured for the lack of water; and no sooner did they obtain water, than Amalek came up against them. Then Joshua must choose his men and fight, and Moses must ascend the hill and pray. When his hands were up in prayer, Israel prevailed — but when they were down, Amalek prevailed. O the importance of prayer when engaged in the Lord's work! "When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up — one on one side, one on the other — so that his hands remained steady till sunset."
Apply this to our own state and circumstances: we are at war with Amalek, or the world — and it is at war with us; and we must conquer it — or be conquered by it. We want to win it for God. We have our Joshuas in the valley, and the army of God's elect — but we must have the company on the mount as well.
Moses signifies "drawn out," and may represent God's ministers, who are drawn out and separated from their brethren for God's work.
Aaron signifies "stability," and may represent what our deacons and elders ought to be — steady officers are a very great blessing.
Hur signifies, "fire or zeal," and may set forth God's people who should be zealous in his work and ways.
The picture presents us with a godly minister, supported by steady deacons, and a zealous people. They are all on the mount engaged with God — yet their representatives are doing battle in the valley.
"When Moses' hands grew tired;" he was getting old, being past eighty; he had toiled up the hill, and was weary; and he was perhaps somewhat disheartened by the conduct of the people. How many of the Lord's ministers are just in this case. They have long labored up the hill, and are getting grey in the Lord's service; they feel weary and exhausted, and the conduct of their people often dispirits them, and their hands hang down.
Aaron and Hur "took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it," they united to give him rest and ease. Just so should our deacons and people do, they should remove all cause of care and anxiety, especially about temporal things, if possible, and set the pastor's heart at rest.
"Aaron and Hur held his hands up," which hands held the staff of God, that staff which wrought for, and spoke of God to the people. In the same way, we also hold up God's Word, and by it present God's truth, and God's Son to the world; and our hands are apt to be heavy, especially when we appear to labor in vain, and spend our strength for nothing and in vain. Then we need to have our hands held up by friendly counsel, united prayers, and zealous cooperation; and when officers and people unite, and all plead for a blessing, then God's ministers are encouraged, and God's work will go on. The result is certain victory, Amalek is routed, and the cause of God is triumphant.
Let officers and people, therefore, in every Church of Christ, combine and cooperate in God's work, keeping God's glory in view. Let nothing alienate their affections from each other, break the ranks, or puff any up with spiritual pride. Satan will aim to do this, and endeavor to lead some to think more highly of themselves than they ought to do, then they will want to leave the ranks and become leaders — aspiring to fill the post of Joshua, of Aaron, or even Moses. When this is the case, then comes confusion, disorder, and every evil work.
Even ministers, like Moses, may get tired and grow weary, being men of like passions with the brethren, and compassed with infirmities. This calls for the sympathy, forbearance, and energetic prayers of the Church; that they may enjoy the renewing of the Holy Spirit, and be strengthened with all might in the inner man. Hearty prayer and effort will be sure to win the day.
Do we want a revival of religion in our own souls? Let us seek it by earnest, determined, persevering prayer, and we shall receive it. Do we want a revival of religion in the Church? Let us meet and get all we can to meet with us, striving together in prayer, that the Holy Spirit may be pour upon us afresh. Let us stand the trial of our faith, sincerity, and perseverance, and we shall see the Lord working wonders among us. Do we want to witness an awakening in the town and neighborhood? Let us set our hearts upon it, publicly and privately pray for it, making use of every means likely to produce it — and continue waiting upon the Lord until we obtain it.
Faith, prayer, and hearty effort — will obtain anything from God! As it is written, "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Again, "Whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive." Once more, "Whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it."