I think that’s a pretty important job – the job of a hand holder, that is. It’s an old job too. By that I mean it’s been around for centuries. Aaron and Hur were hand holders once upon a time, and it changed the course of history. Technically, they were more like hand lifters, but let me explain by telling you the story. I read the account of what happened in Exodus 17. The Amalekites had attacked the Israelites and in response Moses sent Joshua and his army out to fight them. Our story continues,
“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. . . . Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. He said, ‘For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord.’ ” (Exodus 17:10-16)
“Aaron and Hur held his hands up” – so they both held and lifted Moses’s hands when Moses became too weak to keep his hands raised on his own. Aaron and Hur literally came along side Moses in his time of need. They were hand-holders, they were hand-lifters – they stayed at their posts with him until sunset. They stayed until the battle was won. This is the job of a hand-holder – to come alongside, to stay with, holding and lifting up the person who has the need. In this story, it was Moses.
In my story, it is friends, family, co-workers, neighbors or even strangers who need a hand-holder, and it is me who needs someone to hold and to lift my hands. Sometimes I have the job of the hand-holder, sometimes I am the one whose hands are held until the battle is won or the storm passes.
The lifting up of hands to God is not only significant in this story, I see it as something necessary for me to do every day. Throughout the Bible I read about others who lifted their hands to God, sometimes in praise, sometimes in petition. Psalm 134:2 tells me to –
“Lift up my hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.” Psalm 119:48 says,
“I lift up my hands to Your commands, which I love, and I meditate on Your decrees.” King David says in Psalm 63:4, these words to God,
“I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands.”
I lift up my hands when I am praising Him, and I also lift my hands to God when I am crying out to Him in my pain or out of my desperate need. In Lamentations, I find these commands to lift up my hands to God. First in Lamentations 3:41 –
“Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven,” and then in Lamentations 2:19 –
“Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street.” and in Psalms –
“Hear my cry for mercy as I call to You for help, as I lift up my hands toward Your Most Holy Place.” (Psalm 28:2) and –
“May my prayer be set before You like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 141:2)
Then there come those times when, like Moses, I am too weary to lift up my hands to God, and He sends hand-holders, like Aaron and Hur, to come alongside me and hold up my hands. How grateful I am for those that do the job of a hand holder. What joy I feel when I get to do the job of a hand holder!
You may be wondering at this moment, just what this job looks like today. Am I on a hill somewhere, holding up someone’s hands as they cry out to God? Or am I crying out to God on their behalf? Now you’re getting close. The job of a hand holder today looks like prayer – because it is prayer. It is a special kind of prayer called intercession. Jesus is doing this very thing for me and for you, dear readers, twenty-four/seven as He sits at the right hand of the Father.
Jesus is doing the job of hand holder for me, so that I can do that job for anyone and everyone He brings to me, in order that I might come alongside of them and hold up their hands to God, just as Aaron and Hur did for Moses. When I am “on the job”, I might be physically present with my Moses of the moment, praying with them and for them. But most of my work as a hand-holder/lifter is done in secret, in the closet, the prayer closet. It is there, where, alone with my Heavenly Father, I lift up those I have been given to my Heavenly Father in prayer. And like Aaron and Hur, I keep lifting them up to the Father, for as long as it takes – until the storm passes, the battle is won, or until they regain their strength and are able to raise their hands on their own to God in praise and petition.
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matthew 6:6)
Talk about your remote work situation. Hand-holders have been working from home for years. And our assignments range from close family members to people we have never met to even our enemies. (that’s right, we are told to pray for or lift up our enemies to God – no getting around it) The physical battle between the Israelites the Amalekites was won that day by the Israelites because the hand-holders answered God’s call and did the job God asked them to do.
Today we are fighting spiritual battles and the need for hand-holders is huge. These are life and death battles, similar to the one Moses was watching over – but with one distinct difference. The physical battle brings with it the danger of physical death. But the spiritual battle is a fight for the eternal soul of every participant – so the stakes are much higher. Therefore, the call for us to be hand-holders for one another as we are all fighting spiritual battles, is an urgent call, a call that takes priority over everything else.
The job of a hand-holder is a sacred calling from God. Lord, strengthen me for the task, that I might hold up the hands of the weary to You in prayer, like Moses’s friends did for him, that his hands would be continually raised in acknowledgement of You as Sovereign God of all the universe. I lift my hands to You, even as I lift up to You in prayer all those for whom You call me to make intercession.
“I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” (1 Timothy 2:8)
“The mountains saw You and quaked; the downpour of waters swept by. The deep uttered forth its voice, it lifted high its hands.” (Habakkuk 3:10)
sincerely, Grace Day