“Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” (Isaiah 35:3-4).
When a succession of trials come into our lives, we can get worn-down; we can develop weak hands and feeble knees. This is what happened to Moses in Exodus 17. You remember that Moses had the dubious task of leading a difficult and trying people through the barren wilderness of the ancient near east. After many a long and trying mile, moving this unhappy people from one dry, arid place to another dry, arid place in the dessert, Moses leads them to a place (Rephidim) to set up camp. At Rephidim, the Israelite-malcontents threaten to kill Moses. Their contention with him? They were thirsty, and he had led them to a place that had no water. (I am sorry, but that is just wrong…) Then, after rescuing his life from their hostile hands by getting them some water to drink, the nation of Amalek sets out to battle with the Israelites. At this point, Moses is required to intercede for the people of God – (the same ones that had just threatened his life because they were thirsty) – as the nation’s victory rested squarely on Moses’ intercession for them. And, as to this work of intercession? Well, Holy Writ tells us: “Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary…” (Exodus 17:11-12). You see, Moses’ arms got tired- that is, his arms of intercession got tired- maybe his serial trials left him feeling worn-out and run-down.
Sometimes, when we have a series of trying circumstances, we have to deal with difficult people, and stressful situations, we also become weary in our intercession. It is then that that we can look to Moses and learn from him- to keep believing God, keep praying, and keep waiting on Him by trusting in the awesome life-giving promises of His Word. We see this truth illustrated in the life of Moses in this Biblical narrative. Exodus 17:12 reads: “…so they took a stone and put it under him [Moses], and he sat on it while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (Ex.17:12). You see, just when Moses felt like he was at the end of his intercessory rope- God sent his brother and another trusted companion to help him to rest his weak hands and feeble knees. They did this by giving him a seat on a rock, and holding his arms up. We see here two examples of God’s good provision of sustaining grace for prayer. God gave Moses exactly what he needed to finish the race- to stay the course. The Lord gave Moses the strength to carry on- He gave Moses every necessary thing that he needed to come through the battle victorious. We know this because Exodus 17:13-16 closes the historical account of the battle at Rephidim with this record: “And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner, saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
In the same way, we who are in Christ can be confident that God will give us His merciful sustaining grace when we need it. The Lord will provide all the means that we need to finish the race- to stay the course. He will give us strength to carry on. And, just like He gave Moses exactly what he needed to come through the battle victorious; He will give us everything that we need to come through our own battles victorious, as well. Only let us believe God- as Moses did. Let us lay hold of the awesome faithfulness of the Lord our Banner. Let us heed the admonition of Hebrews 12:12-15 to “…lift your [our] drooping hands and strengthen your [our] weak knees, and make straight paths for your [our] feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” And, most importantly, let us “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God…” And, how can we do this in practical terms? How can we fail not to receive that awesome sustaining grace of God? Well, the same way Moses did, of course. We can take a seat and rest those feeble knees of ours on the Lord God- the Rock of our Salvation (Isaiah 26:4, 44:8). We can do whatever we have to do to keep those arms of intercession up. Whether that means that we seek the aid of brothers and sisters to join us in prayer, or we tarry in the Word longer than usual- refusing to leave our prayer closets until we hear from God in His Word and choosing to remember both the admonition and the promise of Scripture: “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God, will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”