After receiving the manna of God at their camping grounds, the Israelites continue traveling. They soon arrive at a place called Rephidim, where trouble awaits them.
While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.”
So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.
The Amalekites descended from Amalek, a grandson of Esau. They were a fierce nomadic tribe that lived in the desert region near the Dead Sea. They made part of their livelihood by raiding other settlements and carrying off plunder. They killed for pleasure. One of the greatest insults in Israelite culture was to call someone “a friend of Amalek.”
When the Israelites entered the region, the Amalekites saw a perfect opportunity for both pleasure and profit. But this hostile tribe attacked the wrong group—a people led by God. For the Israelite slaves to defeat such a warlike nation was more than enough proof that God was with them as he had promised to be.
Aaron and Hur stood by Moses’ side and held up his arms to ensure victory against Amalek. Similarly, we need to “hold up the hands” of our spiritual leaders as well. Shouldering some responsibility, lending a word of encouragement, or offering a prayer are ways of refreshing spiritual leaders in their work.
Pray for your spiritual leaders by name, “holding up their hands” as they minister.