Over the past couple of months, I’ve prayed diligently that I’d learn quickly (and permanently!) whatever I’m supposed to learn from these trials. One thing that has become painfully obvious is that I pretty much suck at accepting help. I’m great at helping others and (can you spell “hypocrisy”?) I excel at counseling my friends to accept help and “don’t steal my blessing” (ugh…).
Thank God for Exodus.
Moses did it all. From the banks of the Red Sea through the rock at Horeb, he was the go-to guy. And then came the Amalekites. “So Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand'” (Exodus 17:9). At last, the mighty leader found his limits. “But Moses’ hands were heavy” (v. 12). He simply could not physically meet the needs of his people, “and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed” (v. 11).
Enter the lesson in accepting help.
“Then 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 one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set” (v. 12). Even the mighty Moses–the guy who had seen God Almighty and led the Israelites out of Egypt–needed help. The task was simply too much for him, and there is no record of him arguing with Aaron and Hur, no indication that he pushed back against their help.
And there’s more: after the victory over the Amalekites, Moses’ father-in-law shows up. He’s impressed: “Jethro rejoiced over all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel” (Exodus 18:9). But then he notices something. Once again, Moses is doing it all. “Now when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening? The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out…for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone‘” (vv. 14 and 18).
John Donne said it a few centuries later: No man is an island.
Even greater than my idiotic need for self-sufficiency is my passion for being squarely in God’s will. And so I ask God again to teach me and let me learn this basic and fundamental truth: the task is too heavy. I cannot do it alone. I must allow the Aarons and Hurs and Jethros in my life to love me, support me, and chasten me. Let me be like the Moses in Exodus 18:24:
“So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said.”
Let me listen and do.