Good Morning, Brothers and Sister!
As we continue our series called the “Remember” series, in which we remember what God has done for us in the past that we may have strength for the present and hope for the future, today we turn to Exodus chapter 17 to learn another Hebrew name of God, Jehovah Nissi, translated ‘The Lord is My Banner’.
Just after God provided for the grumbling Israelites water in the desert, they faced a new challenge, the warring Amalekites.
“Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim.So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.”So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner,saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
The word translated here as ‘the Lord is my Banner’ is ‘Jehovah Nissi’, which appears only once in the Old Testament, here in verse 15. What does it mean that God is our Banner?
We must consider the teachings of this text. Moses did not take up a sword. He sent Joshua with the sword to fight the Amalekites. But Moses took the staff of God in his hand, and raised it on the hill. As long as the staff was raised, the Israelites prevailed against their enemies, but when it was lowered, the enemy prevailed.
Beloved, there are at least two lessons for us in this text today. First, it is not by human strength that we defeat God’s enemies and ours. It is not by human strength that we will defeat the Coronavirus, nor by human wisdom that we will grow our church. It is not by human strength that our needs will be met, or that our lives will be preserved. It is not by human strength that we will experience peace in our lived\s, our homes, our families, our community, or our church. No beloved, we do not have the strength to fight our enemies. It is only when we recognize the need for the Lord that we will begin to pray, and it is only in prayer that God will show us his salvation.
A military banner was like a flag. It inspired soldiers to fight for their country, their cause, their clans. When God was Israel’s Banner, they found their hope not in what they were fighting for, but in Him who was fighting for them. For God is the one who fought for Israel, God promised them this land, and God was with them. As long as their eyes were on their Lord and Savior, God blessed them with success, as long as God remained their banner.
Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7-12 ESV
We must constantly be in prayer for our country, for revival, for our church, for our politicians, for our president, for our elders and our deacons, for our pastor, for our friends and our families, that God’s kingdom will come and God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven! For God hears the prayers of His children. And it is only when we are in prayer that we can experience the blessings of God.
The second lesson is this, we must give all the glory to God when He delivers us! Yes, Joshua and the Israelites were faithful to go and fight. They did work. But without God, their work was in vain. They did not bring about the deliverance of the Lord. They did not save their families. And when God delivers us from the Coronavirus, when God continues to provide for our needs, when God saved people from their sins and brings them into this church, then we must take no credit for ourselves, for these blessings come from God alone! Yes, we must be faithful, but the Lord is our Banner! When God delivers us, we hold up God as the banner of our success. He is the Banner of our salvation, to God alone be glory forever and ever, amen!
Let us pray…