There are some great stories of leadership in this chapter. The Israelites complain against Moses, and then Moses starts complaining. I have been there many times. I know that it is all about following God, but sometimes the complaints of those I am trying to lead really get to me. The complaints, though, were partially valid – they needed food to survive. Moses wasn’t worried because he knew God would provide. Moses is mad that they haven’t learned to trust in God fully. And yet, when Moses talked to God about the concern, God answered the prayer immediately. I think Moses could have prayed before he chastised the people. Moses didn’t seem to be on his A game (maybe he was thirsty too).
Then the people are attacked, and Moses is ready – sending out soldiers to fight. But the focus of the story is not on fighting, but on Moses’ leadership. He was not in the battle, but on a hill with his hands held up with the staff in one hand. His hands got tired, and he needed the help of his closest men to hold them up. This point has been made for leadership many times, but it is worth repeating – we need people to stand beside us and hold up our hands. This is not just about the leader – but about the soldiers on the field who see leaders standing up, supporting each other, leading them in prayer as they fight the good fight.