July 28th, 2007 • Category: Encouragement
by David Zier

Today’s scripture: Exodus 17:8-12 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (David Zier):

When I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in May 1993, I was in shock. We walked to the car after the appointment, and Jeff and I just sat there in the car and cried in each other’s arms. I remember crying out, “Why did God let this happen to me?” Over the next week, Jeff carefully put together a daily devotional notebook filled with pictures of himself and our pets, cards, scripture readings, and prayers. It was the daily encouragement I needed to get back on spiritual track for the battle I faced in the coming weeks and months.

In the Exodus passage, the Israelites are in the middle of their battle against the Amalekites. Moses went up to the top of the hill, and placed himself so as to be seen by the army. There he held up “the staff of God in his hand”, that staff which had worked so many miracles before. The staff was held up as the banner of God to encourage the soldiers, who might look up, and think “God is with us, God is on our side, and Moses, our leader, is strengthening us with prayers to God.” Moses was an intercessor, pleading with God for success and victory. The spiritual focus and energy of the task caused Moses’ hands to grow weary and he could no longer keep the staff raised, so Aaron and Hur held his hands up, and together they prayed to God and lifted the staff for Israel’s victory.

During my brain tumor ordeal, my “staff” was the devotional book that Jeff put together for me. Every day, we would pray from that book. My faith was strengthened, and I knew that God was with me. It was there with me in the hospital where I would go through it many times a day, then during my recovery at home, and through to my victory. We should all strive to be an encouragement of faith to others, and to reflect upon the great things God has done for us.

Thought for the day: Who can I encourage today?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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