Praying Hands

“Praying Hands”
A reflection on Exodus 17:8-13
Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
©️2022 by Gloria M. Chang

Then Amalek came and waged war against Israel in Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some men for us, and tomorrow go out and engage Amalek in battle. I will be standing on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” Joshua did as Moses told him: he engaged Amalek in battle while Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of the hill. As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight. Moses’ hands, however, grew tired; so they took a rock and put it under him and he sat on it. Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands remained steady until sunset. And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the sword.

Exodus 17:8-13

The Lord is My Strength

Apart from God, Israel would cease to be. Even the bare necessities of food and water in the wilderness came from the hand of the Lord. In their first battle since departing Egypt, the Israelites learned again that God alone was their strength. 

Neither Joshua’s military prowess nor the skill of infantrymen sufficed to overcome the aggressive Amalekites. With hands raised toward their heavenly Father, Moses, supported by Aaron and Hur, received divine grace for Israel. Just as God hurled Pharaoh’s chariots and horses into the Red Sea (Exodus 15:4), his power defeated Amalek.

Behind every visible field
Lies an invisible shield.
While soldiers fight and give chase,
Prayer warriors draw down grace.
Hands raised to God atop a hill
Still the whole world in his will.

The Lord is my strength and my shield, in whom my heart trusts.
I am helped, so my heart rejoices; with my song I praise him.

Psalm 28:7

Related post:

The Lodestar

2 Replies to “Praying Hands”

  1. The message I hear from your post is not only that God is actively involved with Israel, not only is He their strength, but that they must play a part in receiving His providence. It seems to be everywhere in Scripture. Moses raising his arms, being helped by Aaron and Hur; the widow persevering to receive justice; Naamen plunging into the Jordan seven times; the Israelites brushing blood on their doorposts and all the preparations for leaving Egypt…and on and on. There seems to be a combination of the physical and the spiritual. Doing these things is a display of faith. The act and the faith are evidently quite powerful in drawing down the providence of God.

    1. Dear Theresa, thank you for your profound reflection on the role of humans in God’s providential care. You have added enormous insight to our Scripture readings. Like a dancer, the Lord leads Israel to the Promised Land, but his bride must step in tune and follow. May the Church dance in tune with Christ to the Father in the Spirit.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: