This name of God inspires courage, determination, and focus in my heart. Mentioned in Exodus 17:15, it is a reference dealing with war.
That confused me at first. How can I find things that deal with today when I’m talking about aspects of a battle that happened 4000 plus years ago?
Oh yes, they are there!
The Israelites were hanging out after God made water come from a rock in the desert. Just minding their own business, in the desert, on their way to conquer the land which the Lord had given them.
The people living in that land knew what was up. One group, the Amalekites, determined that they better annihilate these people before they got caught unaware. Better to go after them first, taking the offensive instead of sitting around waiting for the huge multitude of people to finally get around to attacking their cities.
So they set out against them at Rephidim, a pretty desolate area as far as I can see from maps and pictures. And Joshua selected his strongest soldiers to defend the people. Moses knew that the battle belonged to God and that He alone could defeat the horde attacking. He took Aaron and Hur to the highest point overlooking the battle. When he raised the staff God had given him, the Israel army thrived. When his arms and the staff came down, the Israel army floundered.
So Aaron and Hur set a boulder behind Moses and had him sit. Then they held up his arms until sunset. Joshua and his army thrashed the Amalekites. And Moses set up a memorial to commemorate what God had done for them. He called the place Jehovah Nissi, Yahweh is My Banner.
There are some pretty cool bites to chew on from this story. First is the two parts of the battle. Joshua wasn’t wrong to choose his men and jump into the fight. That was part of his character. The other part of the battle was the Spiritual side. Moses’s action turned the battle into God’s hands. Both pieces were important for the ultimate defeat of the Amalekites.
I think both pieces are important to us as we fight our daily battles against temptation, against worldly tendencies, against people who would harm us physically or emotionally. The Joshua action is like the part that we play in our own situations. We have things we have to do in regard to winning our battles—taking our thoughts captive, turning our backs on the habits that draw us, not engaging folks who want to hurt us.
The other part is like Moses’s spiritual aspect. Daily prayer and Bible study done before the battle to prepare for the attack. Putting on the spiritual armor is a key component. (Ephesians 6:13-17) Just like those preparing for a battle or even a football game have to get in proper shape, we as Christians must be prepared for Spiritual Battle.
And that’s where Jehovah Nissi comes in. He is our banner. Our inspiration and focal point. More on this name in a couple of weeks.
Your Turn: What do you think of when you hear, “Yahweh is My Banner?”