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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

Exodus 17:12, "But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat
thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side;
and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun."

This morning, there are passages of the Holy Scriptures that literally transpired the way they read on the page, but yet, they are also pictorially or allegorically significant to point us to other things. Paul declares as much in Galatians 4 when talking about two literal sons of Abraham (Ishmael and Isaac). While the account of their lives is real as found in the book of Genesis, Paul asserts the allegorical significance of the two sons that points to two covenants. So, we see the Biblical precedence for such teaching, but we must always take care not to extend the picture too far or make symbology where none exists. One of my favorite illustrations for
this point is that red paint in a picture "may" have some symbolic reference depending on the artist's intent, but it may just be used to construct the portrait (as in painting apples red). May the Lord of glory give us the wisdom to know when something is symbolic and when it is just the paint of the story's colour.

In the account from Exodus 17, we read of a marvelous, providential victory of Israel over the Amalekites. Joshua's army is blessed to prosper whenever Moses' hands were raised. But, the providential blessings were withheld whenever Moses' hands were lowered. Again, we cannot stress strongly enough that the account is as literal as it reads.

Nothing short of the power of God is displayed in the account of the battle. This is not some fable that teaches a lesson but never happened. It teaches us lessons, but it literally happened. Yet, let us dig
some to see some beautiful pictures of church activity in this account to glean some rich truths of how we
should interact with one another. There is more here than this segment can investigate, but may these words
stir up our pure minds to search and diligently inquire into these things.

Moses, as a prophet of God, leads the children of Israel as their undershepherd from Egypt to the edge of Canaan's Land. Many things in Moses' life point to other things, but here we find Moses as a good picture
of the Lord's ministering servants. The Lord is the One due all the glory for the prosperity of the people, but He calls upon His servants to keep their hands raised in earnest contention of the faith once delivered to the saints. The watchman is to stand upon the walls of Zion and cry aloud and spare not. Should the watchman become lazy, discouraged, or exhausted, the wolves have better opportunity to come in to devour the flock. Notice that Moses got physically tired from holding up his hands, and the Lord's ministers today still get tired from the service and duties called upon to perform.

To help Moses in his time of need, the Lord blessed Aaron and Hur to stay up his hands during the time of
battle. While all the saints should be found encouraging the ministers in their efforts, I believe the office work of a deacon should be prominent inthis. Since the office of a deacon was instituted to begin with to relieve the burden of natural necessities from the apostles (Acts 6), the illustration fits. There will be cares and tribulations in life. That is a given fact, and we need to encourage one another in the journey (and especially in the church) to keep the hands from hanging down and the feeble knees from faltering.

(Hebrews 12:12) These two men helped the prophet keephis hands up. Today, we need to be found helping each other keep our hands up so that we are not ill-prepared for the wiles of the devil and the cunning craftiness of men.

In all of this, however, it would be quite easy to miss the most important thing. Too many times, we speak of church offices, church work, and our daily duties without mentioning the "main thing." The main thing is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Without that, duty is meaningless, church work is worthless, and church offices are pointless. With the thought of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, these things are of the greatest worth and importance. The main thing in Moses lifting his hands with Aaron and Hur helping him stay them up is that they rolled a stone for Moses to sit on. The foundation of all church activity must be upon the cornerstone of Jesus Christ. Without that firm foundation, we have shifting sands as our foundation that will fall each and every time the winds of life come beating. With Him as our foundation, capstone, and all in all, we can surely say that, "I can do all things through Christ which strengetheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)

Many times, Old Baptists get charged with the "do-nothing religion." Ours is the only "do-something religion" I know of that does not boil down to self-worth. All the do-somethings out there (that I have seen) come down to the focus of "ME." Ours comes down to the focus of "HIM." We fulfill our service of love and effort not to make Him love us or "coerce" Him to love us. We do these things while resting in His love, as Moses sat upon the stone. Without being able to rest in His love, the staying of the hands would be impossible.

Finally, in this situation, we need to remember two things. The first thing to remember is that God gets all the glory for the victory and prosperity. The second thing is that the people suffer when we do not do as we have been called upon to do. I have seen the people suffer when the hands were beat down by those within, and I have seen the people suffer when the help of staying up the hands was shrugged off by the minister. Thankfully, I have seen the people prosper when the hands were up, each filling his place in the Lord's vineyard, and the armies that opposed Zion were defeated by the upholding of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. May we rest in the love of Christ today, and fill the place that He has called us to fill in His house, helping to encourage one another down through the further scenes of our lives.

In Hope,

Bro Philip