The Bible has lots of funny (strange) stories. Some of them I just tuck away in the “I don’t understand but it is OK” box and someday I’m sure I’ll get some kind of revelation. I had one of those stories jump out of the box for me this week. It is actually a beautiful picture of what our worship should look like. Don’t be afraid of that word worship. It is no more than our opportunity to approach God and experience His presence.
The story is about Moses and the nation of Israel after they fled from Egypt. They encountered this people group that didn’t welcome them with open arms. Instead they tried the sneak attack on Israel with the intent of wiping them out. Moses got wind of this and sent Israel led by Joshua to teach the sons of Amalek a lesson. Here are Moses’ instructions:
Ex 17:9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. (ESV)
This is where the story gets weird. Check out what happens next:
Ex 17:11 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. (ESV)
The nation of Israel won a great battle against a superior foe but this thing about Moses and holding his hands up is unusual, don’t you think?
I was listening to a podcast and the speaker was talking about worship. This image of Moses flooded in on me. It was awesome since I could see clearly that this is an image of worship. When Moses was “cheering God on” or “declaring the mighty works of God” they were winning. When Moses was agreeing with God’s plan to win, they were winning. Moses knew that God was with them and when he acknowledged this fact the nation was winning. When Moses got tired or symbolically stopped agreeing with God’s victory they started loosing. I see now that Moses’ act of worship was to agree with how awesome God was and in doing so they were successful.
The Bible says the Tabernacle (the tent of worship before the Temple) was a shadow of the Heavenly things. The legal rituals of the Tabernacle/Temple worship are very much symbolic of our worship today. When we enter into worship (again not a scary word, just spending time with God) we get to remember the altar. We remember how Jesus became our sin and died to free us from sin. We are forgiven. Even more than that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. So there is nothing, absolutely nothing that keeps us from moving towards God.
Next is the seer or the washing basin. We are reminded of how clean we are. Jesus bled for us and His blood cleans us over and over again. No matter what you did, what you are thinking, what lies the enemy says about you, you are clean. You are pure. Your conscience has been cleansed. You are as white as snow. So you can keep moving towards God.
Then we step into the Holy place and we see the lamp stand of God’s Spirit. We smell the sweet aroma of the incense. We see the shewbread of promise and Grace. We begin to experience the goodness of God. We remember all the blessings God has poured out in our lives. We may have approached Him with all kinds of junk and lies and broken thinking. Maybe we are disappointed and angry about our circumstance. Maybe we have lost trust in who God really is. Maybe that is our condition as we enter into “worship” but when we step into the Holy place we can’t help but be amazed by His goodness.
Then we step into the Holy of Holies. Now we are engulfed by His presence, His goodness and His love. We are in the place of complete faith. We are overwhelmed by how awesome God is. All our impossibilities become His realities. Our disappointments and circumstances are consumed by His love. We are now like Moses holding up his arms in victory.
Maybe this is too much for you to believe. Well, God helps us in our unbelief. Maybe you are too tired or too disillusioned to step into His presence. God has a plan for that too. His name is Jesus. He takes the form of the Holy Spirit.
Remember the two guys that helped Moses lift his arms? They were Aaron and Hur. When I saw this worshiping image of Moses I knew these guys names must be important. And they are. Aaron means “bringer or bearer of light.”
John 1:9 The true light (Jesus), which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. (ESV)
And the name Hur means white linen and hole. Jesus was buried in a “hole” called a tomb. He was wearing white linen. In His transfigured state He looked like this:
Mark 9:2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. (ESV)
And lastly did you see that Moses sat on a stone? Jesus is the cornerstone. When Moses was tired the bearer of light and white linen tomb man brought Moses a stone to rest on. I think that is just amazing!
Can you see it? Jesus, the Holy Spirit in us, the resurrected bearer of light holds up our hands. He reminds us of the mighty works of God. He reveals the “evidence of things not seen.” He tells us how much He loves us. He manifests Himself in our lives with power and hope. We always have the source of goodness joined with us in our spirit. We are no longer approaching God in the temple, we are His temple. He is that good. We get to lift our hands high in agreement with our loving Father. No matter our circumstance, no matter how badly the enemy is on the attack, you can approach God in agreement with His goodness. No matter what religion tells you or your friends say, you can know that God is good. So raise your hands. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Take each step of each day of each moment with your HANDS LIFTED HIGH!