Today’s Reading: Exodus 17-19
Today’s Reflection: Exodus 17:8-13
8) Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. 9) So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11) Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12) But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, 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. 13) And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
This story is usually described as one about leadership and their need for support from their followers (usually by leaders), but when I read this text I see a story about community.
Each of us is the ‘Moses’ of our own story. Each of us will encounter God and be called to a mission, whether it be great or small. Each of us will face battles, challenges and struggles. And in these times of difficulty there are times when our strength will fail and we will need the support of others.
When God created Adam, He said it was not good for the man to be alone. While this was a specific pre-text to God creating Eve as a helper for Adam, there is a broader comment about the state of man here. Long before we meet our spouses, we have need of others—parents, siblings, extended family, friends, classmates, co-workers, community. These relationships help us to develop the gifts God has blessed us with and to discover our God-given identity.
When God did make Eve for Adam, He referred to her as Adam’s “ezer kenegdo”. This Hebrew phrase is notoriously difficult to translate, and mostly comes out in English as ‘help meet’, a poor description that doesn’t even come close to the magnitude of this title. While “kenegdo” describes one who ‘stands beside’, every other use of “ezer” in the Bible describes a helper who comes through in times of desperate need: God Himself. Taken together, an “ezer kenegdo” is essentially a life saving companion. And in a way different than a spouse, yet significant to our lives, this is what community provides: life saving companionship. Studies show that people in strong communities, with solid family ties and good friendships are happier, healthier, more fulfilled and even have longer life expectancies than those with solitary existences. So much of who we are comes to life when shared with others.
Lets remember that God placed us in relationships and communities with one another for good reason—the help He provides often comes through people. Remember to support and uplift one another and to allow others to minister to you through friendship in your own times of need.
Proverbs 18:24 – A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.