Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
The first battle that the Israelites encountered after leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea was with the Amalekites. God’s people were attacked, therefore Moses sent Joshua to choose some men to fight the enemy. While the battle raged on, Moses went on top of a hill and raised his hands toward Heaven. Every time his hands were held high, the Israelites were winning. Whenever he lowered his hands, the Israelites started losing. When Aaron and Hur saw this, they gave Moses a stone to sit on, and then they held his arms up. By the time the sun had set, the Israelites had won.
Reading this account in Exodus 17:8-16 made me reflect on how much a leader needs his people to raise his arms, or in other words, support him. Many times, a leader receives the brunt of complaints, gossip, and slander. Many times, a leader will have to make hard decisions as he thinks for the good of the whole, sometimes receiving the misunderstanding of many. When the tough times come—when the battles arrive—will the people he leads have the strength to unite with him? To bear up his arms? Or will they choose that vulnerable moment to tear him down?
Not everyone in a country, or a school, or a business is assigned to be a “Moses”; not everyone is called to be the president of a nation, or the administrator of a college, the CEO of a business, or the senior pastor of a church. But everyone can be an Aaron and a Hur to someone, especially to a leader.
They say leadership is a lonely path. Many times, a leader will see what others cannot fathom. There will be times when the only one who has an eagle’s point-of-view in a project or a situation is the leader. Are leaders perfect? No. Leaders are still very human, and they deal with their own weaknesses just as they deal with the weaknesses of those whom God has placed under him and around him.
Who sets up leaders? Romans 13:1-2 says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
Leaders will always need an Aaron and a Hur. After Israel won against the Amalekites, Moses built an altar. He called it “The Lord is my Banner.” He said, “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord…” (Ex. 17:16a) Whose hands were those lifted up? Moses’s hands, yes, but counted with those hands were two other pairs—the hands of two men who wanted to help their leader in his tired arm raising (remember that Moses was eighty years old). It meant inconvenience for Aaron and Hur (imagine their muscles trembling, too), but at stake was the freedom of one whole nation.
When there is unity with leadership—whether it be in a nation or an organization or a church– THE LORD IS MY BANNER becomes a visible reality. Where there is unity, God commands a blessing to flow (Psalm 133).
Moses, the leader of the Israelites, needed help. He needed an Aaron and a Hur. Will you be an Aaron or a Hur to the leader whom God has appointed over you? Your leader may need you more than you think.
*For purposes of this writing, the male pronoun was used. However, a leader can also be female. An example of a female leader is Deborah (see Judges 4).