Yahweh Nissi- The-LORD-Is-Our-Banner
Then the LORD said to Moses, Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called its name, The LORD-Is-My-Banner (Jehovah Nissi, or in Hebrew, YHWH Nissi). Exodus 17:14-15 NKJV
The-LORD-Is-My-Banner may seem like a strange name for the LORD. We don’t think of individuals as banners. What did Moses mean?
GotQuestions.org* explains the use of banner in Exodus 17 as follows:
“A banner is something that identifies and unifies a particular group of people. For example, a military flag or standard is sometimes called a banner. The Israelites’ saying, “The Lord is my Banner,” was a way of identifying themselves as the unified followers of the Lord God. A banner also functions as a rallying point for troops in a battle. The altar Moses built in Exodus 17 marked the place where God intervened on behalf of His people and promised to utterly defeat His enemies.”
We may be quick to rally behind God when all is well or we are seeing victory after a difficult situation. If we recognize that it is God who intervened on our behalf, then praise is easily offered.
Do we praise the Lord and faithfully follow Him in challenging times?
The Israelites praised the LORD when He miraculously delivered them from Pharaoh and his army by taking the Israelites through the Red Sea on dry ground (Exodus 14 and 15). Yet when they camped in Rephidim without any water to drink, the people quickly turned against Moses and were ready to stone him. Moses said to them, “Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the LORD?” (Exodus 17) Despite their grumbling, the LORD instructed Moses to strike the rock to obtain water. Sadly, instead of the area being known for where God provided fresh water from the rock, Moses named the place Massah (Tempted) and Meribah (Contention), reflecting their bad attitudes and lack of trust in God. They had forgotten who the LORD was and how He had cared for them in the past.
The Israelites were still at Rephidim when Amalek came and fought with them. Moses stood on top of a hill with the rod of God in Moses’ hand. As long as his hand and rod were raised, Israel prevailed. When he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. Aaron and Hur helped Moses. They stood on either side of him, holding his tired arms up until Joshua and his men defeated Amelek.
Joshua and his men were in the fight, but the victory came from the LORD. God makes that clear in the memorial He has Moses write. “…recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”(Exodus 17:14. Emphasis mine). The memorial reminded Israel what the LORD had done for them and of His promise.
How does Exodus 17 and The LORD-Is-My-Banner apply to us?
- The enemy attacks us where we grumble against the LORD.
- We need accountability and prayer partners who can lift our weary arms and keep us steady in the battles we face. Ask someone to fill that role if you don’t have one.
- Remember the LORD’s victories and provision. Like Moses, let’s keep memorials of what God has done for us, sharing them with others in the battle, with our families, and with future leaders. The Lord had Moses recount the LORD’s words to Joshua, knowing that Joshua would be the leader to follow Moses.
- The LORD-Is-My-Banner is the One who fights for us. He is the leader of the battle and the One who gives the victory. Let’s note verses that help us rely on Him.
- Identify as a soldier of the LORD, putting on the armor of God. (Ephesians 6). Rally around the LORD, Jehovah Nissi.
- Worship the LORD, as Moses did when he made the altar.
Dear Jehovah Nissi, Thank you for the battles You bring me through and for the victories You provide. You are my banner. Help me be a faithful follower. Amen.
# # #
Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.