Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss says you can learn a lot about humility by studying the life of an Old Testament leader.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Moses could have been concerned that his reputation as a leader would suffer if people saw that he was vulnerable, but Moses wasn’t trying to protect his image. What he cared about was God’s name being vindicated. He cared about God’s people being victorious. He cared about God’s enemies being defeated.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, August 6, 2014.

From now through the fall, we’re focusing on the life of Joshua in several connected series.  We’re in the first of those series. It’s called "Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 1): Learning to Be Victorious." Nancy’s picking that series back up, teaching a group of women in the studio.  

Like all of us, they are facing various types of challenges today, and the life of Joshua is helping all of us face those challenges with confidence in God.

Nancy: We’ve been listening to some of the stories of what’s going on in different ones of our lives. We look around this room and see that there are a lot of pressure points, some stressful and difficult seasons of life that people are facing.

I’m thinking of a dear friend of mine who would love to have been here this morning, and may be here later today, but she is going through all kinds of major life changes and season-of-life issues. It seems as if at every juncture there have been challenges, tests, struggles . . . just so much going on.

In fact, she said to me, “I have something going on in every season of life right now. The only thing that is not happening at the moment that could be added is if I found out that I was pregnant.” She doesn’t think she is (she’s in her mid-50s), but she’s dealing with a lack of sleep—just very short nights.

We have women listening to our broadcast today who are in seasons of life where you’re not getting a lot of sleep—maybe you have a lot of little ones or you’re nursing an infant, and you’re feeling what a lot of women feel at different seasons of life—tired, exhausted, depleted.

I find that weariness is something that, as women, we deal with a lot, especially in our culture where we’re expected to do so many things.

I spoke to a woman this morning who have teenagers down to age two, then working outside the home, and just the pressures that puts on us as women. Sometimes we feel it physically, but there are other times we feel it even more deeply than that—that weariness in our soul and our spirit, feeling that you can’t put one foot in front of the other.

For those of you who don't have little kids, maybe it is the season of life where your kids are in college. Then they come home from college and you are at the age where you can get some sleep at night. But they are at the age where at midnight they want to talk to you. Those are teachable moments, good moments for interaction. But you are trying to keep your eyes propped open. You know you have to get up early the next morning, so you are burning the candle at both ends. Feeling this challenge of multiple life issues and season-of-life changes going on simultaneously.

In the midst of that, life doesn’t stop. You have responsibilities. You have to keep going. You have to keep doing certain things, and you wonder at points, “How do I keep doing the things I’m supposed to be doing when I am so weary? How do I press on when I am so exhausted?”

We’re looking in this series at a passage in Exodus 17. Let me ask you to turn to Exodus 17 if you have your Bible.

We’re studying the life of Joshua. This is a series that is going to be extended over I don’t know how long yet, but I started studying the life of Joshua because I wanted to see, “How do you serve the Lord faithfully over the long haul?”

The Christian life is not a sprint. It’s long distance. It’s a long-haul race. How do you stay faithful in that when you’re weary? We’re going to get some insight on that question today from Exodus 17.

You remember, those of you who have been listening over the last several sessions, that the Children of Israel have come out of Egypt. They’ve gone through the Red Sea. Now they’re starting to head toward Canaan, and they find that an enemy comes against them. We pick up in verse 8:

Then Amalek [the Amalekites] came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua [this is the first mention of Joshua’s name in the Scripture], "Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand." So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed (vv 8–11).

We talked in the last session about how Moses was holding up his staff which became the rod of God—a symbol of intercession, a symbol of crying out to God for the victory. Moses stood up on top of the hill and held this rod up in his hands.

When he would hold the rod up, Joshua and the troops below would be victorious. But when his hands would fall down and the rod would come down, the enemy would begin to triumph.

Then we come to verse 12 that says, “But Moses’ hands grew weary.”

Moses’ hands grew weary. Some of your translations say his hands grew heavy.

You know what it is to try to hold your hands up, especially if you’re holding something up in your hands for a long period of time. Your hands get heavy. They sink down. You can’t keep holding them up.

As I read that phrase, I thought of my friend who’s going through these major issues in her life right now. Her hands are growing heavy.

It’s not all bad things—sometimes it’s good things—but lots of good things in your life at one time, and your hands grow heavy. You grow weary in the battle.

Verse 12 goes on to say,

So they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

That phrase “Moses’ hands grew weary”—I want to focus on that today, and what they did about it so that his hands could be steadied, so that the battle Joshua was fighting in the valley could be won.

Let me point out that the greatest of men, the greatest of leaders, the greatest of servants grow weary. There’s no sin in getting weary.

Now, sometimes we get weary for reasons that relate to our sin, but sometimes you’re doing exactly what God wants you to do, and it’s just tiring. It doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old. Isaiah 40:30 tells us that even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted.

It doesn’t matter how spiritual you are. Moses got weary. David got weary at times. The disciples grew weary at times. Jesus Himself grew weary at times, as we’ll see in just a moment.

We can grow weary just through natural human weakness. Moses, who’s standing up there on the hill trying to hold up this rod, is eighty years old at this point. One might understand that he could grow weary—there’s just the human limitations of our bodies.

We can also grow weary from life’s circumstances. Remember the passage in John 4 where Jesus came to that town of Samaria? It was lunch time. The disciples went into the town to get food, and the Scripture says that “ Jesus, tired as He was from the journey, sat down by the well” (v. 6 NIV).

Why do you think God inspired that detail to be written in the Scripture? I think He wanted us to know that Jesus, when He put on human flesh, took on the limitations of human flesh.

Jesus got tired. Jesus, our great High Priest, understands what you feel when you feel exhausted from your journey; and He sat down, even as Moses sat down when he got tired.

That word tired in John 4:6, “Jesus, tired as He was from the journey,” is a word that means “to be beaten out.” When you say, “I’m beat! I’m whipped”—to be exhausted—that’s the word that is used there. Jesus understands the weariness we experience just from normal everyday life circumstances in this world.

Then, we grow weary from fighting battles of various kinds. There are a couple of illustrations of this in the Old Testament that came to mind as I was thinking about battles.

Remember when David fought the battle at Ziklag in 1 Samuel 30? The Scripture says that one-third of his men, 200 of the 600 men who were with him, stayed behind because they were too exhausted to cross the brook [see vv. 9–10]. This was in the thick of the battle, and the point came when these men were so exhausted, they said, “We can’t go on.”

Then we find in 2 Samuel 23 that one of David’s mighty men, as they were called—his strong, earnest warriors—when they were fighting against the Philistines, the Scripture says that this mighty man, who was one of David’s fighters, “rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword” (v. 10). His hand was molded to the sword, he was so exhausted.

As I read that passage, I thought, “I’ve been there. I’ve had days like that.” You’ve had days like that, where it’s all you can do to inhale and exhale and put down the next step to do the next thing.

You may feel like you’re fighting battles all day long at this season of life. It may be at your work place that you’re dealing with issues; it may be with your children; it may be sorting out arguments with your children.

You say, “I have been doing this so long, so many times, that my hand is stuck to the sword. I am exhausted. I don’t know if I can cross over this next issue, or this next brook, in this battle. I’m exhausted from fighting battles.”

Sometimes we get exhausted from seasons of suffering, seasons of affliction. As I look around this room, there are women who have been through some very sad suffering and issues in recent days, like the loss of loved ones.

There’s a weariness that comes through that season of life, especially when it’s suffering that goes on and on, and there’s no end in sight, no relief in sight. As you read through the psalms, you see some times when David expressed this kind of soul weariness from what was going on and suffering.

He says in Psalm 6:6, “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.”

He says in Psalm 69:1–3,

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.

Has there been a season of your life—perhaps you’re in one right now—where you can relate to those words? “I’m just weary with the suffering, weary with the affliction, weary with the deep waters, the flood that is sweeping over me, that is overwhelming me, and I feel like I’m in quicksand. I feel like I’m drowning. I feel like there’s no hope, there’s no foothold. I’m weary.”

Then, we can grow weary in spiritual matters like praying. Some of you perhaps have been praying for something or someone or some situation that is a heaviness; it’s a burden.

Maybe you’re crying yourself to sleep at night over a son or a daughter or a grandchild who is making wrong and foolish choices, not walking with the Lord. You’re praying and praying, and you’ve been praying. Maybe it’s a marriage situation you’ve been praying for for years, and you’ve cried out to the Lord, and you’re weary of praying.

Jesus’ disciples experienced that. Remember in the Garden of Gethsemane? Jesus said, Stay here and pray with Me. I need you to pray. We’re in some tough times. Pray so that you won’t enter into temptation.

Jesus went off and prayed, but three times when He came back, what does the Scripture say? “ He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy” (Matt. 26:43). They were too tired to pray. Have you been there? You’re just so exhausted, you say, “I can’t even pray.”

I tell you, there are many times when I am thankful that other people are praying for me, because at that moment I am so weary—but others are praying. Jesus is praying. Thank God that Jesus never gets weary of interceding for us in heaven! But we do get weary.

We get weary in well doing. We’re doing the things we’re supposed to be doing. We’re serving. We’re running the race, some of you as wives, as moms, perhaps as single moms or single women in the marketplace.

Life just has routines that go on and on and on. It’s not like there’s anything major or horrible or bad or traumatic happening.

You’re doing good things, but you find sometimes that you get weary of doing well, especially when you’re not getting praise for it, not getting thanks, not getting recognition. You say, “I’m doing this day after day after day, being faithful, but I’m just tired of serving, tired of giving.”

I feel this at times (I’m not proud to say this) when I’m studying and preparing to teach. Doing this ministry is a great privilege; teaching the Word is a great privilege, but there are times in my study when my hands grow weary, my eyes grow weary and heavy, and I think, I’m tired of doing well.

That’s why the Scripture says in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not grow weary of doing good,” because God knows we tend to grow weary in well doing.

Well, here’s Moses up on the hill holding up the rod of God while Joshua and the troops are down in the valley fighting the battle. Moses knew that he could not sustain this calling, this responsibility of holding up the rod of God.

He knew he couldn’t do it on his own. This was going to be a long day. This was going to be a long and hard battle, and the Amalekites were going to prevail if Moses tried to do this on his own.

We see in this passage that Moses was not afraid to acknowledge weakness, to acknowledge his need, and to accept help. We see that happening in two ways.

Exodus 17:12 says, “Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it.” He didn’t say, “No, I can handle this.” He didn’t say, “No, thank you. I don’t want to look weak.” He sat on it. He accepted the help. He didn’t resist the support.

Then we read, “Aaron and Hur held up his hands.” That word held up in some of your translations says “supported” his hands. It’s literally “to grasp securely.”

One on one side, one on the other side, Aaron and Hur securely grasped Moses’ hands, and they pushed up his hands. They supported his hands. They held up his hands with the rod of God in his hands.

Now, it’s not clear whether Moses asked for the help of Aaron and Hur or whether they saw the need and jumped in to assist. But regardless, rather than succumb to the weariness and risk losing the battle, Moses allowed others to come alongside him. He allowed others to help him so that his hands could stay uplifted all the way to the finish of the battle at the end of the day.

I think that’s an evidence of humility and meekness on Moses’ part. He didn’t try to go it alone. He received help humbly. He knew that the outcome of the battle and the glory of God’s name was at stake.

Moses could have been concerned that his reputation as a leader would suffer if people saw that he was vulnerable, but he wasn’t trying to protect his image. What he cared about was God’s name being vindicated. He cared about God’s people being victorious. He cared about God’s enemies being defeated.

Do you ever find yourself insisting on bearing the burden of the battle alone rather than asking or allowing others to help you shoulder that burden? So we take on one more responsibility, do one more thing.

And sometimes I think (at least I can speak it for myself) that I’m driven by what others might think if I acknowledge any weakness. That’s the heart of self-sufficiency, and ultimately that’s a root of pride.

Now, I can imagine Moses thinking, as I have at points, It’s one thing for me to have to endure this battle, but I can’t impose this on these guys. I can’t make them have to work so hard. This is my battle. I’ve got to do this.

Sometimes I’m kind of thinking that way when I’m turning down others’ offers for help. It occurred to me that Aaron and Hur may have had as great a need to be involved in this battle and to have their part in it as Moses did.

We don’t do others in the body any favors when we try to protect them from some difficult challenge or task. They need to help as much as we need the help.

Our willingness to let them serve in helping to lift that burden may be part of God’s sanctification process in their lives. In the same way God is sanctifying me in this battle, God may want to strengthen and mature and sanctify them.

So we see this progression in this passage: Moses held up his hands. Then Moses’ hands grew weary, and he lowered his hands. Then Aaron and Hur held up his hands. And then we see the outcome in verse 12: “So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”

If you and I are going to make it all the way to the end of the battle, we need others. We need help. We need the support that others can provide.

I think of how often the apostle Paul asked other believers, “Pray for me.” Even the Lord Jesus appealed to His disciples there in Gethsemane to stay close by and watch with Him and pray with Him.

A stubborn determination to succeed alone without the help of others is a sure way to suffer defeat in the battle. No one, no matter how gifted, capable, devoted, determined, spiritual, no matter how called—no one can make it alone.

That includes you; that includes me. We need others, and when we are willing to humbly receive assistance from others, we will be enabled to stay steady until the very end of the battle.

As I’ve been studying this passage, the Lord has brought to mind how many Aarons and Hurs have been a part of my life and a part of this ministry. How thankful I am for those who lift up my hands in this battle, who support me in this battle, those who have come to my side and helped me to stay faithful at times when I don't think I could have stayed faithful on my own.

Time and time again when my hands have grown weary when I could not any longer keep my hands lifted up on my own, God has brought around praying friends, staff and team members, board members, ministry supporters, faithful women friends, listeners like you who write encouraging notes and say, “I’m praying for you.”

Many of you God has used in that way in my life, and I just want to say "thank you." I’m so conscious of the fact that I cannot be in this battle alone. I need God’s people. I need you. You need God’s people.

You may be thinking, “There’s nobody at my side supporting me.” You may feel very lonely in this battle. No one is lifting up your hands.

Let me remind us all that our ultimate Aaron and Hur is Christ, the Lord Jesus Himself. He will strengthen you. He will support you when you are weary in the battle, even if there is no one with flesh and blood to come and lift up your hands.

Isaiah 40:28 says, “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary.” Aren’t you glad?

His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. . . . They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength (vv. 28–31).

What does it mean to wait for the Lord? It means you don’t go on in your self-sufficiency and your independence, thinking, I can do this alone. It means you are dependent. You acknowledge your need. You say, “Lord, I can’t do this without You.”

What happens when we wait for the Lord? Our strength is renewed. “They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (v. 31).

So Jesus says to all of you who are weary—those of you who are weary from laboring, those of you who are heavily burdened—what’s His invitation? “Come to me . . . and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

Leslie: The Lord supports us, and we support each other. That’s just one of the important principles Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been drawing from the life of Joshua.

She’s in a series called "Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 1): Learning to Be Victorious." As the name implies, it’s just the first of many series on Joshua we’ll be hearing this year. I know you’ll find this to be a rich study, encouraging you to courageously embrace the assignments God has for you. 

We’re able to bring you teaching like this thanks to listeners who support the ministry financially. Those gifts help us stay on the air in your area. That means when you give to support the ministry, what you’re really doing is giving women daily encouragement to join the battle where God has them.

When you make a donation of any amount through Monday the 11th, we’ll say thanks by sending you Nancy’s book, A Place of Quiet Rest. It will help you understand the value of spending time alone with the Lord every day. You’ll also get a lot of practical advice on developing habits of prayer and Bible study. We’re able to send one book per household. 

Make your gift of any amount when you donate at, or ask for A Place of Quiet Rest when you call us toll free at 1–800–569–5959.  

Who is praying for you? The prayer or lack of prayer you receive has a huge effect on your life. Nancy will explain tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.