So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 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. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword. - Exodus 17: 10-13 (ESV)
As someone who spends a great deal of time and ministry exposing what is false I do not want to ever lose sight of what is true. As worrisome as some of the landscape in modern Christianity may appear at times there are good men serving God, feeding sheep, bringing the lost to the foot of the cross and not deviating from the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ. They should be celebrated and thanked for what is often a thankless job. They are actually due double honor according to God:
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 1Timothy 5: 17 (NIV)
Why? Preaching and teaching the Gospel results in the salvation of listeners according to the Bible. For those in faith already, it feeds the Spirit so we can grow up into the full measure of Christ. There is nothing more important. It is also so easy to fall for what is false so when you find a genuine man of God you have truly found a blessing worthy of double honor. I have seen such poor decisions from people leaving churches because of personal hurts or ministry hurts or perceived slights that have nothing to do with whether they are being fed properly and led by someone who brings the full Gospel. We need a better appreciation for these men of God who always point us back to Christ. We need to pray and intercede for them because they come under relentless attack from the enemy. They sacrifice so much of what we take for granted personally. We need to lift them up beloved.
Which brings us to the story in the key verses. Indulge me some time allegorizing today. Moses was the leader of Israel. He sends his top man Joshua into battle against the Amalekites. We can consider for the purposes of this allegory that we are Joshua and the Amalekites represent the world and the enemy. Our pastor is our leader spiritually. I do not mean in the false sense as we see so many abuse their position within a false authority paradigm that is poisoning a lot of the church today. The more our pastor holds his hands up to the Lord - the more surrendered he is to the Gospel - the better prepared we are for the spiritual fights in our lives.
Sometimes however, he grows weary. He is human too beloved. The amount of pastor worship today is frightening. I love my pastor but he did not die for my sins, Jesus did. We cannot continue to place pastors atop pedestals unless we are prepared to see them break their legs when they inevitably fall off of it. They have private lives and burdens just like us. They battle sin and temptation just like us. The only difference is, as already pointed out, they are under more attack than we are because of the position they hold. Just like Satan would prefer to take the father out and thus crush the family, the damage done when he takes a pastor out can be astronomical. How many people never return to the church because of disillusionment when their pastor falls? We need to stop deifying man and start praying for him!
We see in the story that Aaron and Hur tried to ease his weariness. Eventually they had to literally hold his hands up to ensure victory. I see this having two distinct applications. One is the more obvious call to lift him up in prayer. The fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much the Bible says. We need to get out of selfish prayer mode sometimes and intercede. Secondly however I see that we need to point the man of God back to Jesus as much as he point us to Him. What do you mean preacher? I mean we have to try and stop contributing to the tendency to pastor worship. We have to stop being sycophants and yes men because there is no substance there. How many pastors do we see with blown up egos who start to believe their own press clippings? Pride is a weapon the devil is masterful at wielding against the man of God. Only iron sharpens iron. Too many Christians leave their iron home when dealing with their pastor. Praise God - not man. That does not mean you cannot say nice things but at some point we cross a line. We have all seen it. Boards of elders who do nothing more than rubber stamp everything the pastor wants. Pastors filled with boastful pride who quash any attempt to disagree. Ruling the sheep with the iron rod of unbiblical covenant agreements and compulsory fleecing of their finances instead of shepherding them with the love of Christ and the soundness of doctrine. It can only reach these levels when we refuse to hold the pastor's arms up to the Lord. Remember, we are part of the same family, not corporation.
Pastors and preachers have a difficult road before them. I thank God for the man of God my pastor is. Perfect? Never - none of us are. But I know this. No matter what I go through in this life - he will always point me back to Christ. The least I can do is the same for him. The least I can do when he is weary is help ease his weariness. Pray and intercede for him. Help him lift his hands back up to the Lord because only there is our victory.