White flags and raised hands are universal signs of surrender. During wars, the surrendering team would wave their white flag high in submission. Even today, those being arrested by police must raise their hands to show their submission to surrender.
In Exodus 17:8-13, we find this universal sign of surrender, but not to man; we see Moses raising his hands in surrender to God. From guest speaker, Pastor Andy Ambarita, we learn three things from this passage.
When we surrender, God can rescue us (v11)
When Moses lifted his hands, the Israelites, led by Joshua, down below would be winning the battle against the Amalekites; a constant thorn in the side of the Israelites. Moses had to stay in this position not as a sign of surrender to the Amalekites, but a sign to say that he surrendered the victory to the Lord. We must also raise our hands in surrender to God. Not doing so would be boastful; we would be saying to God that we’re going to do things our way, not His way. While God gave us free will and endless grace, He’ll never force us into surrender. But the moment we choose to surrender to God, He will go to work on our behalf. Surrendering to God might mean giving up control, power and pride, but the fruit of surrendering will prove to be blessings.
How do we receive strength in times of struggle?
God gives us strength, but He might provides us with this strength through other means. Like Aaron and Hur did for Moses (verse 12), our Christian communities can be used to give us strength in times of trouble. Friends like Aaron and Hur provided Moses with help in times of trouble, without Moses even having to ask. What makes them even better friends is that they stood with Moses holding his arm up from morning till late. They shared in his burden, as we should do for our fellow Christian community.
Jesus is always on time with his hand reaching out to us
For the last point, we slipped away from Exodus and moved to Matthew 14:22-33, where we see the disciples are caught in a boat during a ferocious storm. In the distance Jesus appears, and in a moment of blind faith, Peter steps out of the boat to go to Jesus. But in verse 25, Peter starts to notice the wind and the waves and begins to sink. Our spiritual journey will be a long one. Failure and challenges are inevitable. The waves and wind of life will distract us and try to batter us. But Jesus is always on time. Just as Peter started to sink, Jesus immediately appeared by his side, holding out his hand. In your life, Jesus will appear to you at exactly all the right times.
But are you willing to take His hand as it appears?
Thank You that You are sovereign God. Thank You that Your hand reaches out to us at all the perfect moments. I pray that I would not boast of my own strength, but surrender to You at all times and especially in times of hardship.
In Jesus’ name I pray,