Through the endless desert,
from oasis to oasis,
Moses led the Israelites.
Freed slaves seeking their Promised Land.
They dragged into Rephidim parched for water.
But Rephidim was desert-dry.
They raged at Moses;
He bore the brunt of their blame.
Amidst the furor fury came from outside.
Warring Amalekites attacked to destroy weaker Israelites.
Moses called Joshua to lead the fight
While he, Aaron and Hur retreated to a nearby hill.
With him, Moses carried the staff of the Lord,
The same staff with which he’d commanded the Sea to part.
He raised it now, over the battle below;
It was the Lord’s war
So long as the staff was held high.
But Moses grew weak
Arms, shoulders, wrists strained
Until the Lord’s staff was barely above ground
And then the Amalekites prevailed.
On either side of Moses, Aaron and Hur stood
Unsure what to do, afraid of the old man’s reaction.
Israel’s fate, though, now laid in their arms.
Quietly, simultaneously, they grasped the old man’s weakened arms
And hoisted them high, the staff ruling over the fight.
Below the battle changed, almost imperceptibly at first
But now, now it was clear
The outmatched former slaves were putting warrior Amalek to flight.
I’ve thought often of that battle in Exodus 17. It reminds me that the Lord rules, even over those battles we seem to be losing. Like Moses, I grow weary. My faith weakens as my symptoms grow worse. I can’t fight alone.
You are Aaron and Hur to me. Your prayers hold up my faith. I’ve read your comments on my blog and on Facebook and email: “We’re praying for you.” Thank you. Thank you for standing alongside. Thank you for sharing your strength in my weakness. Thank you for believing with me that the Lord is sovereign. And he wins even the battles we seem to be losing.
Fingers dug into clay, searching for edges to grasp.
Slowly the stubborn roof yielded, the hole widened.
A rooftop for cool summer sleeping
Was becoming a doorway to healing.
The four friends had carted the paralytic on his mat
Across town to Jesus.
The house bulged with listeners, friend and foe alike.
They stood five deep outside
But the four would not be denied.
Their friend had been prisoner to his mat.
Day after day, night after night
He gazed at the clouds–and wondered why the Lord was silent.
His friends, too, lost hope
Until they heard Jesus was near,
Jesus who cleansed a leper
Could surely make a cripple walk!
Sweating and grunting they had dragged their friend up,
Determined, believing they dug the roof open
Until debris fell inside and arms-shielded eyes looked up.
Then hands reached up to lower a mat and its prisoner.
And the paralytic lay before the Healer.
But Jesus saw more than a cripple, more than a broken roof.
He saw four friends’ faith:
“Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Pharisees present fumed, only God can forgive sins.
“So you know that I can”, he said to the paralytic,
“Get up, take your mat and go home.”
Silence fell, for a full moment,
Spectators waiting, wondering,
The paralytic unsure he could,
Then he rose, his legs restored.
He grabbed the mat he no longer needed
And with a glance of gratitude up at his friends
He went home.
Thank you for being my friends. Thank you for carrying me to Jesus with prayers.