Raised Arms | Devotion 4: Herding Cats
All over the world, there are idioms for pointless endeavors. In America, one of the most used is “herding cats.” Others I have heard are “nailing Jell-O to a tree” or “trying to squish water.” At some point or another, many of us have used a phrase like this in reference to a situation or circumstance that just seems pointless. As I read Exodus and look specifically at the life of Moses, I often think of these phrases. Moses, by the power of God, leads an entire nation out of slavery just so they can complain about the way in which God is rescuing them. As the leader, Moses was overwhelmed by the difficulty of “herding” these people to the promised land.
As if matters were not difficult enough, as we come to Exodus chapter 17, the nation is confronted with their first major battle. It is in this battle that the Israelites win as Moses raises his staff (if you have not read this amazing account, I encourage you to read Exodus 17:8-13). At the end of the battle, Moses is instructed by God to take a written account declaring that God will blot out their enemy (Amalek) and then, Moses builds an altar.
Exodus 17:14-16 says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’ And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner, saying, ‘A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.’”
In life, we are continually confronted with difficulty. There is always a situation or circumstance that seems to be more than we can handle. I think Moses knew this better than most. He saw that there was no way to succeed. However, Moses chose to build an altar, to make a stand, that the Lord is his banner. That is to say; the Lord is his rallying cry.
Moses continually needed the Lord’s provision to accomplish all things as a leader. Our lives are no different. Unless we continually look to the banner of the Lord, that is salvation and righteousness, as our rallying cry, as our hard fast line for daily battle, we are doomed to drown in waves of anxiety and defeat. However, as we submit our will to God and put our faith in the battle cry that is Jesus’ name, we can live as conquerors.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37