Sunday, January 11, 2015

domestic reflection sundays

In this passage of Scripture Israel have just defeated the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16).
You might remember this story - Moses, his brother Aaron, and Hur, stand atop a hill overlooking the battle and as long as Moses held his hands high Israel prevailed against the army of Amalek. But Moses grew weary so his hands drooped, and the victory looked certain to swing away from Israel.
Aaron and Hur seat Moses on a stone and they stand either side of him holding his hands steady and high until sunset at which time Joshua, leading the army of Israel, finally defeats the enemy.
God then speaks to Moses, instructing him with our memory verse today - "Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua..."

As we study 'hands' in the Bible this month I am discovering insights I've not noticed before, so let me share with you what I personally learned from this passage with regards to 'helping hands' and 'writing'...

The importance of being humble and allowing yourself to be helped:
Like Moses, sometimes we cannot keep going in our own strength, no matter how important the task or how much we will  ourselves to see the task through. When we grow weary, yet still try to stand alone, we may notice that our positive results gradually diminish and the outcome we'd hoped for does not come about.
When Aaron and Hur came alongside Moses they did two things that ministered to me -
1. They made him comfortable. They saw that before doing anything else they needed to attend to him personally. Moses had been standing on that rock for many hours we can presume, with hands held high over the battle. The two men found a stone and sat Moses down, giving his aging legs some respite. 
2. Then they stood either side of Moses and held his hands high, because only with Moses arms aloft did Israel take control of the battle, and Moses' own strength was depleted. 
Have you held your arms up for any length of time? When I use a window as my lightbox to trace a design onto fabric my arms ache within minutes and I need to stop and start until the tracing is complete, regularly shaking my writing arm to bring back some circulation. Imagine doing this all day long?

Keeping a written record of what God has done:
Can you imagine what it would be like if we did not have the Bible? If no-one bothered to write an account of Christian and Jewish history, or the ministry of Jesus and the first years of Christianity's spread after Pentecost?
If we had no testimonies of how God moved on individual lives and through nations?
If David had sung Psalms to his men but not bothered to keep a note of them? If Paul forgot the churches he planted and never bothered to write his letters to them? If John had ignored the directive of Jesus and never shared Revelation?
About 15 years ago my husband and I were facing a very challenging time with regards to income and housing (goodness, just like now), and Mr E's brother suggested we keep a written record for 40 days of every instance in each of those 40 days that we could see God's hand at work in our lives and our circumstances. 
So we did.
We bought a cheap exercise book and each night after dinner we'd sit with the children and take turns writing across the lined pages all that we had seen God do in our family that day. 
Before we began this project we were quite disheartened about where we were in life, but about 20 days in something changed. The children would start from day 1 and read out loud the record of all God had done for us so far in the 40 day project. Our spirits were lifting, our eyes were opening, and our praises rang heavenward! All because we wrote them down; we kept a written record for our children to remember, and anyone else who asked to know.
 I believe when Joshua read of what was going on behind the scenes of the battle with Moses, Aaron and Hur on the mountain top, his own faith soared and the seeds of trusting God's hand over every battle (think ahead to Jericho!) increased dramatically.

So how does this all apply to us today?

1. Don't stand alone. When you need help be humble and ask.
2. If you are the helper, look first to the person in need and attend to them before  you step in to assist in their situation.
3. Write down the good things God is doing in your life now - perhaps even spend time today reflecting on all the miracles and blessings you can remember Him doing in the past. 
If you have family around you, set the table with warm drinks, nibbles, pieces of paper and pencils, and let each one record their personal remembrances. Then take turns reading them out! This is incredibly faith building and lifts eyes from the struggles to the victories.

May you be blessed as you ponder this Scripture over the coming week.
You can download the Scripture and the devotion HERE.



the gathering girls said...

Jenny - thank you so much for sharing this scripture passage. I am doing a read-thru-the-bible with Good Morning Girls and we are in the book of Exodus right now reading about the beginning of Moses' life and how God used him. I love what you had to say today and thank you so much!

Lorrie said...

A lovely meditation. I've always loved this portion of Scripture and the lessons to be learned from it. Help, humility, hands.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely amen, Jenny. This is one reason we are encouraged to keep personal journals. I have none from my family, but so many of my friends have them from ancestors, pioneers, people coming over to our country from other places - it is amazing to read of their fortitude and the troubles they had and surmounted, and to read of their faith through it all! Good verse for today.

e said...

As I am studying the life of Moses in my BSF group this year, I recall this passage. If we seek Him, pray to Him and ask for His help, He is so good to answer those prayers. Such a wonderful devotion to start our week and spend time each day pondering those thoughts and being ever so grateful for the Written Word. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdome :)

Joansy said...

Dear Jenny, Thank you so much for this heartfelt reflection. I, too, am reading Exodus with the Good Morning Girls group, and your reflection ties in perfectly. But more than that, your reflection is an example of God's work in my life, leading me where He wants me to go. Your message is one I needed today, and I am so grateful and awestruck that you wrote it and I read it, in this world with billions of people! How God connects us is truly amazing. In addition, I also learned how to knit when I was 8 years old from my Aunt Lydia, who had no children and I had no grandmother, so it was a match made in Heaven - literally! After I had made several afghans and a sweater, she tried to teach me to crochet. She made such beautiful things! I could never make a granny square come out as an actual square, and the stitches and counting just seemed so confusing! So still knitting today at age 61! Crochet, not so much! I pray for God to bless you and I am so grateful for you!!

Carrie P. said...

Awesome message for today.
I would definitely need help to hold my hands up for any period of time. There is a man at our church who will keep his arms raised the whole time during our music worship time which can last 30 minutes or longer. He amazes me.
One year I kept a journal by my bed and each night I would right 3 things I was grateful for. A very good reminder of the goodness of God. I should do it again this year.

Maureen said...

As I thought about what you shared, the word "community" came to mind. Aaron and Hur stepped in and "did life" with Moses. They didn't just stand on the sidelines shouting encouragements, they gave Moses the practical help he needed.