Moses Kept His Hands Up

This past Sunday I introduced the passage of study with a quotation from N. D. Wilson about how life gets progressively more and more difficult, regardless of how much you have actually matured. It seemed to capture the essence of Israel’s sudden battle with the Amalekites. Ready or not, battle was thrust upon them. And though Moses and Joshua both trusted in the LORD to deliver Israel, the people’s eventual refusal to enter the Promised Land testified that the exodus generation never really did trust in Yahweh as their Shepherd and Redeemer.

If I had stopped the sermon on verse 13 and focused primarily upon Moses keeping his hands raised, I likely would have incorporated the following quotation. It is another one of my favorites from Death by Living and is worth sharing here.

There was a man who came down a mountain. His face was glowing and his hands were full (of words made stone).

He dropped those hands. He dropped those stones. And when he did, destruction.

He got new stones, and when he raised his hands again, he was giving hope and granting strength. But those arms were heavy. While battle raged, men came and held up his arms. If those hands dropped, destruction.

Can you see him there? Standing above the struggle, a man with his arms out? Does it look familiar?

Moses parted the Red Sea. He called down Death. He slipped off his sandals and met with God. But he couldn’t keep his hands up. That weight on his arms was heavier than plagues, than a people, than Egypt.

There was a man strong enough to bare-hand lions, who needed only a jawbone to face armies. That man’s hands tore city gates off of hinges and bound fire to foxes. He triumphed all the way into defeat. He was broken and blinded—enslaved.

Until a boy helped him put his hands up.

Who does Samson look like, standing there with his head down and those arms stretched out, touching stones? And when they dropped, destruction.

Moses was poured out. Samson was spent. Two men who pulled down worlds.

There was a Man who could walk on water. He could raise the dead and heal with a touch. He became Samson— armed with an ox-goad against thousands. He became Moses, turning water into blood (of blessing).

But He came to raise His arms, to get His hands up. Load those shoulders with the world. Put those law stones in His hands. And if they drop, destruction.

No boy came to guide His hands. No men to prop Him up. His arms were braced with nails.

He was pierced and scourged and mocked. He was cursed and raised up on a tree, but He was in that ancient pose of victory.

An old man on a hill, a blind man between two pillars, the God Man on a cross.

Glory is sacrifice, glory is exhaustion, glory is having nothing left to give.


It is death by living.

The earth shook. The roof came down. The world changed. The armies fled.

That Moses kept his hands up.

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