Christianity 201

August 3, 2010

Holding Up Hands in Prayer

For the last few days I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the story of Israel’s battle with the Amalekites; the one in Exodus 17 where, as long as Moses hands are raised, Israel is winning.   But when he lowers his hands, the battle starts to go badly.   So they seated Moses on a rock and held his hands up in the air.

10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 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. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.  (Ex 17  NIV)

I’ve been thinking about this passage because, as paranoid as it may sound, I feel there is correlation between the times I have not been as focused in my devotion to God and certain circumstances that have taken place involving friends or relatives.   Perhaps it is only that God has used already transpiring circumstances to bring back my spiritual focus, but we have no idea as to what “cause and effect” sequences God may be permitting.

It’s easy to get distracted by video games, movies, television dramas, romance novels, the acquisition of new material possessions, shopping trips, new hair styles, celebrity gossip, e-mail forwards,  Facebook, Twitter, internet pornography, summer vacation spots, buying lottery tickets, preoccupation with food and dining, lusts and infatuations, drinking, worries about health or family, financial pressure, job stress, etc., etc.

In all those things which can consume us, I think we’re letting down our hands, and whoever the “Amalekites” are in our home, workplace, school, extended family, or neighborhood; they start “winning” the inevitable ongoing spiritual battle that’s taking place.

So what do you think?  Do our lack of prayers make a difference?  Are there situations that are hanging in the balance right now in which outcomes will be determined by our willingness to sacrifice personal comfort or personal concern to [figuratively] hold up our hands?

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