As I continue to learn about the names of God and the revelations of what they tell me about His nature, I’m constantly finding myself with deeper understanding of who my Saviour is. Today’s name has really grown on me the past few months. So let’s talk about Jehovah Nissi, the LORD our Banner.
There are a few examples of this name in God’s Word that we can discuss, but I want to start with Exodus 17:8-16:
8 Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9 And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands became heavy; so 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 the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14 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.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner (Jehovah Nissi); 16 for he said, “Because the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
A banner is “a flag, military ensign, the principal standard of a prince or state”. They honor champions, and commemorate heroes. They are meant to be seen and not ignored. On the battle field they even have more significance, the banner summons and calls people to it. It is a rallying point. The impact of this never really clicked with me until recently when I watched an old favourite movie of mine, called The Patriot. There’s this epic battle at the end of the movie, the enemy was advancing on them, the front line was faltering. The Flag Bearer fell, and the troops began to retreat.
You see in battle opposing nations would fly their own flag on a pole at each of their respective front lines. This was to give their soldiers a feeling of hope and a focal point. The battle field is often chaotic, stressful, noisy and even worst filled with smoke and debris. So, I’m watching this movie, and all of a sudden Mel Gibson stops what he is doing, grabs this flag off the ground and starts waving it around. He’s screaming like a mad man with the banner. And then it happened, the troops see it, hope surges, courage rises, passion pushes them forward. In that moment your own heart surged, it like “Let me in the fight”. It’s all over, there was no stopping this army now.
This is what was happening with Moses on top of that hill. The banner of God was being raised with his hands towards heaven. When lifting high, the enemy was routed. When let down, the enemy would advance. So they supported the hands to prevail.
This is what God is to us: a banner of encouragement to give us hope and a focal point. Jehovah Nissi is always visible on the battlefield because he is above the chaos. I told my son, who likes to play Apex Legends, that even when Bangalore drops their smoke on the field, when we look up above the smoke, it’s still clear.
Another important thing about banners is that they act as an anchor in times of uncertainty. When we are lost, hopeless and confused that banner reminds us that not only is Jehovah present but He is our standard to tell us what is real and what’s not. Jehovah Nissi is solid anchor of truth that can always be depended on.
The battle with Amalek was not just a physical battle but a spiritual one. Jehovah Nissi is our source of power, hope, courage and deliverance. God gave us other examples of Jehovah Nissi in Numbers 21:8-9 when the bronze serpent was lifted up on a pole and those who looked upon it were healed. How much more was that a foreshadowing of John 3:14-15 when Jesus, God Himself, was lifted up on a Cross for the Salvation of the world! Nissi is powerful! God is rallying the troops together in these last days. He’s calling us to pray. The sleeping giants are awakening and his Banner calls us to arise and conquer. It’s a day to advance and take the territory.