It has been said that the most difficult instrument to learn to play is second fiddle. This is because we all would prefer being in the number one position. The musician in the first chair not only plays the primary melody of the music, but may also be a featured soloist in some pieces. As fine as the musician in the first chair may be, however, it takes all the musicians, including the “second fiddles”, melding their talents together to create the harmony that makes a piece of music moving and memorable.
This is true in every field of endeavor, and is especially important in God’s kingdom. Throughout the record of scripture supporting players, “second fiddles” as it were, have been there to help the more well-known figures in scripture accomplish God’s will. One such person was a man named Hur. In Ex. 17:8-13 the scripture tells us that the people of Israel were confronted by the nation of Amalek. Moses sent Israel’s army out to meet them, under the leadership of Joshua.
As the battle raged, Moses stood on the top of a hill overlooking the battle site. As long as Moses held the staff of God aloft, Israel prevailed. Whenever he let the staff dip, Amalek would get the upper hand. In Ex. 17:12-13 the scripture says, “But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”
Joshua received credit for the victory, but it would not have happened without the help of Hur, who played “second fiddle” to perfection that day. The glory was on the battlefield, but Hur willingly performed essentially a menial task in order to facilitate Israel’s victory. We don’t know a lot about him, and after this incident Hur vanishes from the biblical text. He did what needed to be done, and then quietly went back to his business, whatever it may have been, without further recognition.
When we consider this incident in the light of the work of the church, we realize that we need sons of Hur today. The term “sons of” was often used in the Old Testament to describe followers or disciples, rather than actual offspring. Thus, when we say we need sons of Hur today we are saying we need men and women who will emulate this good man. We need men and women who will forego the spotlight in order to help accomplish God’s will in His church.
Obviously we need those have been trained and are qualified for public leadership in the church. We likewise need those who have been trained and are qualified to publicly proclaim the good news in order to save the lost and to edify the saints. However, we also need those who are willing to be the “second fiddles” in God’s spiritual orchestra. These humble servants, who are content to labor out of the spotlight, are essential to sustain and to encourage those who are in the forefront of the work.
A New Testament son of Hur was Barnabas, whose name means “encourager” (Acts 4:36). He started out serving quietly behind the scenes, but eventually became a well-known leader in the early church. The same can be true of each of us today. We just have to be content to begin our service in whatever capacity the church needs, whether we ever stand at center stage or not.
Human nature craves attention and recognition for what we do. Godly nature, however, recognizes the Lordship of Christ, and the value of humble service. Lord, grant us men and women who are “sons of Hur”.