You may also listen to this 4-minute devotional by clicking here
Ephesians 4:1-2 (ESV)
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love”
Shortly after the tribes of Israel left Egypt through God’s supernatural power and witnessed the Lord produce water from a rock, an enemy tribe began to threaten them. At Rephidim, the Amalekities attacked God’s people. This was the first and only recorded battle under Moses’ leadership before the Israelites reached Mount Sinai and received the law.
However, the battle was quite unique. Moses understood that the only way for God’s people to overwhelm their enemy was for him to hold up his staff. Exodus 17:11 says, “Whenever Moses held us his hand, Israel prevailed and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.”
As you could expect, Moses, now an eighty year-old man, grew weary from lifting up his arms hour after hour. So, Moses found a rock to lean against. Then, his brother Aaron and a man named Hur stood on either side of him. They each held up one of Moses’ hands until Joshua’s troops prevailed later that evening.
This interesting story provides us with a glimpse into God’s power. Clearly the Lord was at work in the battle through Moses’ faith. But this story also provides us with an example of endurance and dependency. Moses, God’s appointed leader, grew weary. He did not have the strength to lead completely on his own. Rather, Moses needed others to hold him up in order for God’s people to experience victory over their unexpected enemy.
In the New Testament, Christians are called to ‘bear with one another.’ Once such example of this command is found in Ephesians 4. The image of ‘bearing’ is better understood as ‘coming alongside of another when they are weary’. In some ways, the historical event on the hillside at Rephidim is an illustration of Galatians 6:2 which says, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Now, as followers of Jesus, we ought not to have earthly enemies. However, we do encounter daily battles. We regularly fight against selfishness, pride, apathy, or discouragement (just to name a few).
Although we have the Holy Spirit, disciples of Jesus should not convince ourselves that a victorious Christian is an isolated Christian. Quite the opposite! Christians have been called by Jesus into fellowship with other believers and are commanded to lovingly support one another in order for finish well. Take Moses as an example. He had faith in God’s provision at Rephidim but Moses was burdened. He needed the support of two brothers.
Who holds up your spiritual arms when you are weary?
Do you have a family member who encourages your faith?
Do you have another brother or sister-in-Christ who knows your weaknesses and prays regularly for you?
Unfortunately, too many Christians tried to win their battles on their own and often fail. Let’s grow to be disciples who admit our weaknesses to spiritual friends in order that they can bear us up and help us experience God’s victorious power.
Lord give us the humility to admit our need and the courage to ask others for help. Empower us to support one another in love. Through Jesus, Amen!