The Standard November 10, 2022
“God also said to Moses, ‘I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered by covenant. Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’ Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.” (Exodus 6:2-9)
For a few hundred years the people of Israel had been subject to harsh labor in Egypt. This history of cruel slavery undoubtedly caused many Israelites to lose hope and perhaps to feel completely helpless. When God unveiled the plan to free them from captivity, they simply could not accept this good news. They were far too discouraged. It might be that we currently are burdened by an enormous load or that we have a friend or family member who is. It is precisely at these rock-bottom times that those who are in no position to receive encouragement need sisters and brothers who can have faith for them and will pray on their behalf.
After God parted the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape the Egyptians and while they were wandering in the desert, nourished by manna and quail from God, “The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.’ So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 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 17:8-13)
What a perfect picture this paints of the way God created us to live in community and to help sustain each other. When we are tired or weak, it is a true gift to have loved ones to support and lift us up. If we are too low to summon up even a little faith, others can have faith for us and pray on our behalf. For whom can you intercede today?