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Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

Whenever Joshua and his men looked up, they saw Moses standing there - holding the staff of the Lord high in the air. God had told Moses in Exodus 4:17 to take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it. They had seen God split the Red Sea with that staff and turn the Nile to blood. They had heard of how it could turn into a snake and how it swallowed the Egyptians snakes. This staff had the promise of God’s miraculous power behind it. This same LORD had promised them that they would make it to the Promised Land. He promised them a Savior through their offspring. With that encouragement of LORD’s promise behind the staff - the Israelites fought on and won the war.

The funny thing is that this would seem so foolish to the Amalekites. Could you imagine the army joking, “Why on earth is he holding that stick up in the air? Do these guys honestly believe that that piece of wood is going to save them?”

The foolishness of this whole scenario showed God’s strength. God saved the Israelites through a piece of wood. God also saves us through a piece of wood. We call it a cross. We say the cross saves us. We put it on our altar. We talk about it. We put it around our necks. Now, the world would call us superstitious for putting a piece of wood up on our altar. They say, “look at those fools - believing in someone who died a criminals death over 2,000 years ago to save them from their sins!” But they don’t understand - we’re not worshiping the piece of wood or trusting in the wood, we’re worshiping and trusting in the promise behind the piece of wood. Peter says in 1 Peter 2:24 that Jesus himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. We believe that on that cross God put us to hell and condemned us for our sins. We believe that all of our sins have been paid for - and so now we are “healed” by his wounds. The foolishness continues in the sacraments. In that water of baptism we believe that God saves children and infants. (1 Peter 3:21) We believe that in baptism God actually connects us to Christ. It’s not that we trust in the water - but the promise behind the water where God says, were therefore buried with him through baptism into death. (Ro 6:4)

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