The Exodus had been triumphant but difficult. Pharaoh finally gave in to the Midianite shepherd but as Israel moved away from Egypt as “a people,” they met an immediate challenge at Rephidim; the Amalekites were on the warpath. Moses stood atop a hill with rod in hand and, as the battle ensued, lifted his hands to ensure victory. “But Moses’ hands became heavy…” (cf. Exodus 17:9-12a) and, as his arms dropped, Israel was forced to retreat. This battle revealed an important reality of leadership: leaders get tired.
Too many employ a double standard when it comes to leaders. They are not supposed to get tired, they do not have any personal weakness, and when they do not have all the answers, their credibility is immediately in question. But even Moses needed a helping hand! “So they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (Exodus 17:12b). The battle was won by teamwork and recognizing where each could serve best. No one railed at Moses for his weakness, no one blamed Moses for the losses suffered while his hands wearily dipped, and no one assumed Moses was no longer qualified to lead because he needed help.
Who can shoulder the burden of never being allowed an error, or continual, tireless service without assistance, or having your integrity questioned because you are human? God knew a man’s limitations when Paul told Titus “appoint elders in every city” (Titus 1:5). We have need of good leaders but, equally important, we need someone to stand beside them in difficult times and help hold up their hands. We need good leaders, we need realism, and we need teamwork. Then, the Lord will give us the victory.