Exodus 17:8-13 tells the story of Israel's victory over Amalek. When the Amalekites descend on Israel to obliterate them, Moses commands Joshua to choose his warriors and go to battle. Meanwhile, Moses goes up on a high hill and raises his staff to heaven, as a sign of his dependence on God for victory.
You may recall that as long as Moses' hands were raised to heaven, Israel overcame their enemies. When he got tired and lowered his hands, Israel was overwhelmed. Joshua had chosen the best of the best from among the people, but God was trying to show the army that their victory, far from depending on their strength or skill in battle, hinged on God’s help and on a leader who was willing to rely on God.
Moses was an incredible leader. He could have gone down to the battle with Joshua, but he knew his place. He belonged in prayer, up on the hill where he could see the fight and could intercede for the soldiers. He took two men with him—Aaron and Hur. Aaron, of course, was his older brother and Israel’s High Priest—a leader in his own right. Hur was… well… we really don’t know. Some say he was the son of Caleb. Others say that he was Miriam’s husband, but no one knows for sure. All we know is that he had Moses’ trust and that is really all we need to know about Hur.
Aaron and Hur, could have easily lamented the losses and criticized Moses for his lack of leadership and physical endurance when the army was losing ground. But instead they rallied to his side and helped him until the battle was won. Notice that Aaron and Hur did not try to replace Moses by lifting the staff themselves. They instinctively understood that this was Moses’ battle and that they had come to serve him until he won. So they proceeded to put a stone under Moses so he could sit and rest his legs and then they lifted his hands for the duration of the battle. Exodus 17 tells us that Israel won a decisive victory that day and learned how much they needed their God and their leader.
When I think of this story, I think of Pastors and how every one of them needs an Aaron and a Hur. Every pastor can use an Aaron, a person in ministry who is not reaching for the leader’s position, anointing or blessings, but is willing to help, support, encourage and strengthen his or her leader. And every pastor needs a Hur, or should I say HER? You see, as a pastor’s wife, I have found myself playing the role of Hur in my husband’s life many times. While others are focused on the battle, the losses, the enemy and sometimes my husband’s failures as a leader, I remember that instead of looking down at the battle and panicking, I need to take a good look at my husband to see what he needs to win his battles.
Is he tired? Is he discouraged? Does he need my help? And I have to confess that my initial response when he hurts is to go down to the battle myself and cut some heads off… But then I remember my place. I don’t belong in the drama or in the blame game. I belong by his side—listening, encouraging, praying and speaking faith into him.
There is a seldom-told story about the wife of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. When William Booth felt a call to trade his position in the church for a chance to minister to street people, he requested permission from the Methodist Conference to be released into this new ministry. The bishop in charge heard his request and denied it promptly, telling him that they could not waste a man of his education and talent on street people.
William Booth heard those words and put his head down, feeling defeated and knowing there was nothing else he could do to change the bishop’s mind. Booth’s wife was seated in the balcony since women were not allowed to be with men while they discussed such matters. When she saw that her husband had been completely demoralized, she stood up, leaned over the rail and told her husband, “Listen to God and not to man.” She promised him she would be by his side no matter what and proceeded to come down from the balcony. Booth walked over to his wife, took her by the arm, and together they left the church and started winning people for Jesus on the streets! We all remember William Booth as the Founder of Salvation Army, but we owe a great debt to his wife who lifted his arms at a time when no one else would.
This story is one of thousands that can happen if as wives, we take the role of Hur in our husbands lives. Like Hur, we may be unimportant to many, and sometimes even invisible, but to our husbands we can be a rock of strength and the key to lasting victory in ministry and in life. So ask yourself, am I in the right place in this battle? Am I fighting battles that I should not fight? What can I do today to lift my husband’s arms and help him win his battles? If we rally to their side, the famous saying will be true of us: “Behind every great man, there is a great woman!”
- Mercy Alarid is the Creative Arts Pastor of Passion Church. Mercy has a Master's degree in Education. Mercy is a member of the faculty of Central New Mexico Community College, where she is an instructor in the Education department. Mercy has been married to Brian for 17 years and they reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico with their 3 children: Chloe, Colin, and Lauren.