Lifted Arms

by Anna VanHuis

Above the raging battle, Moses stood
Looking down with the gaze of Jupiter
From Mount Olympus upon his people.
He raised his arms and thrust the staff into
The air, filled with the cries and shouts of war.
Amalekites and Israelites battled,
As ferociously as Greeks and Trojans.
While the staff was remaining upheld, the
Israelites crushed the enemy just as
Achilles destroyed Hector in battle.
Sanded and smooth, well-crafted and sturdy,
Yet rugged and worn down from years of use,
This staff he held in his grip. For this staff
That the Israelite leader grasped in his
Hands and raised above himself was the same
Rod that stretched above the waves of the rough
And strong, stormy seas, rolling and foaming,
The crashing noise as deafening as
Galloping hooves of horses stampeding
Across a deserted plain. Nothing would
They stop for, and pounding the dusty land.
Divide between freedom and slavery.
Great barrier prohibiting the full
Freedom promised by the great covenant
Keeper years ago. To the left and right
That rod separated the chaos of
The seas, like the violent and raging
Waves of the Mediterannean which
Odysseus and his devoted crew
On the sea together struggled across.
The arms of Moses tightened and struggled
Under the ever growing weight of the
Rod. Desperately using every bit of
Strength holding the staff above, he rested
Upon a rock, a foundation and source
Of renewed strength for the weakening limbs.
Comforting and supportive, the stone held
The great patriarch, as the Son of God
Is the essential and supporting stone
Holding together for all time mankind.
The brother of the great leader, aware
Of the waning strength of Moses grasped his
Weakening arms and spoke passionately,
On you, dear leader, God has committed
Responsibility. On you, God has
Entrusted this power. This staff above
Your own head you must hold, tired as you
Might grow. Your limbs will grow weak, your breath will
Shallow, but what’s that in comparison
To the lives of God’s own precious people.
Because of unfortunate trickery,
Atlas will forever hold up the world,
Struggling and gasping beneath its weight,
So you also must hold this staff, weak and
Exhausted as you have surely become.
You must hold this staff with obedience
To God. Only when the rod is lifted
And upheld above your head, will He help
You. And only shall victory be met
If our powerful God is by your side.
Every ounce of strength expended from the
Struggling arms of Moses, he wavered
And his arms, cramping and aching, gave way.
Shouts of great victory catapulted
Into cries of defeat and screams of pain.
Death and loss, like a black cloud enveloped
The army of Israel. Quick as a bolt
Of lightning, shifted the tide of a near
Defeat, deafening as a thunderclap
bellowed the desperate Israelite shouts.
With the speed of Hermes, Aaron and Hur
Gripped the arms of Moses and hoisted them
Up above his head once again. Like the
Beginning of a day, once again the
Tide of the war began to shift totally.
No longer did death and evil maintain
A victorious position over
The hopeless Israelites, instead, leading
And protecting, God’s hand, came upon them
Once again. Strong as a rip tide sweeping
Away everything in its path, it pushed
The precious people of God into a
Grand position of glorious triumph.