Thursday, September 20, 2012

Jehovah Nissi

Jehovah Nissi


And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner; for he said, “Because the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” – Exodus 17:15-16

There are many beautiful names of God in Hebrew, but perhaps one of the most beautiful is Jehovah Nissi.  It was given to Him by Moses after the war with Amalek in Exodus 17, but to understand it’s full meaning we have to know what a the purpose of a banner was.
When the tribes of Israel were assembled in the wilderness, they built the tabernacle as a dwelling place for God, and a place for sacrifices.  They were given specific details from God about where to setup camp around the tabernacle by tribe.  In Numbers 2 God details where each tribe should setup camp, and that they should have a standard or banner to fly for each tribe.  Think of it as a national flag, or a family coat of arms.  It was used to identify the camp and the people that lived there.  (There are lots of good resources about this online, but this is one of my favorites:  Each tribe had its own banner.

In Exodus 17 the Israelites are in the wilderness and the Amelekites have risen up against them.  Moses has Joshua assemble an army, and they went to war with the Amelekites. Moses talked with God about this war, and God told him to go to the top of the hill and take the rod with him that he used to hit the rock and bring water from it, which was known as “The Rod of God”.  When Moses held up the Rod, Joshua prevailed over the Amelekites.  But when he got weak and lowered his arm, the Amelekites began to win. 
Seeing their leader needing help, Aaron and Hur went to Moses rescue and put a stone under him for him to sit on.  Yet his arm was still weak.  So Aaron and Hur stayed with Moses and lifted his hands for him, one on each side so that he was able to hold his hands up until the sun went down.  They remained with him the entire day, strengthening him, so he could do as God commanded, and Joshua won the battle.

To celebrate the victory Moses built an altar to God and called it Jehovah Nissi, “The Lord is my Banner”.  Moses was celebrating that the tribes had won the battle, but also noting that they had come together into one family under God.  Moses and Aaron were of the tribe of Levi.  Joshua was of the tribe of Ephraim. Hur was of the tribe of Judah.  By helping Moses, Moses was able to serve God. 
Jehovah Nissi is a beautiful name because it clears away our family ties and unites us into a new family.  He is our banner – our identity.  This is a foretelling of the coming of Christ, who has united us as one family, the Body of Christ, Children of God.  We fight together, we support each other, and we find victory in Him. 

Isaiah 11:10 says:
And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”

Truly, His resting place is glorious!  His love for us gives rest from the long battle.


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