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Jehovah Nissi, The Lord is my Banner
The next in our series of the names of God, Jehovah Nissi, translated as The Lord is my Banner, is not one commonly used today, but it is so powerful. I want us to dig into the meaning of the verse, where we find it in scripture and what it means to us today. (If you missed the previous posts, you can find them here: Jehovah Rapha and Jehovah Jireh)
Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly.
Nes (nês), from which Nissi derived, means “banner” in Hebrew. In Exd 17:15, Moses, recognizing that the Lord was Israel’s banner under which they defeated the Amalekites, builds an altar named Jehovah Nissi (the Lord our Banner). Nes is sometimes translated as a pole with an insignia attached. 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. This is what God is to us: a banner of encouragement to give us hope and a focal point.
Below are some verses where you can find Jehovah Nissi in it’s original or Hebrew form:
Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day,
“In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”
Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
And he erected there an altar, and called it EleloheIsrael.
You have given a banner to them that fear you, that it may be displayed
He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love
We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.
Moses said to Joshua, “Select some men for us, and go fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the hilltop with God’s staff in my hand.” Joshua did as Moses had told him, and fought against Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed. When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put [it] under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down.
FREE Bible Study Worksheets to Help You Dig Deeper Into His Word
So Joshua defeated Amalek and his army with the sword. The Lord then said to Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a reminder and recite it to Joshua: I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and named it, “The Lord Is My Banner.” He said, “Indeed, [my] hand is [lifted up] toward the Lord’s throne. The Lord will be at war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
In this passage Moses held God’s staff in his hand and as long as his hands and God’s staff were raised, Joshua and the Israelites won the war with the Amalekites. What I want us to pay particular attention to is that this battle was all about God. Joshua, Moses, Aaron, Hur, and the Israelite armies were simply vessels God used, but the battle itself was orchestrated by God. Moses knew this and wanted to make certain the Israelites knew it and remembered it. Nothing that he or they did in the physical realm brought about victory.
God’s presence and power took them into the battle and assured the victory when the battle was done. Throughout life, we will face many battles. Some big and some small. Financial strains, health problems, addiction, abuse, relationship problems, stress at work, marital difficulties, wayward children. Some are familiar to you, some not.
What battles are you fighting today?
Is the battle you are in one that the Lord has chosen for you?
Strange question, isn’t it? Scripture is very clear in this particular passage that the Lord, in fact, chooses certain battles for us to fight. Does He lead the way as Jehovah Nissi in your current battles?
Perhaps the battle you are in is a battle that you have chosen, one that is outside the will of God? Are you fighting in your own strength? Are you struggling to be victorious in the battle? If Jehovah Nissi is leading the way in your struggle, then you are assured success, but if you are fighting your battle in your own strength, your defeat is imminent.
Where in your life do need God to show Himself strong as Jehovah Nissi – the Lord my Banner – and go before you so that you may know victory?
Applying God’s Name Jehovah Nissi to Your Life
God provides us with “weapons” to fight spiritual and earthly battles. From Ephesians 6:13-18, what are the weapons God supplies in order for us to fight a spiritual battle? How can things like Truth, Christ’s Righteousness, Salvation, Faith and God’s Word, etc. be used as weapons against the devil, our sinful nature and the temptations of the world?
How do you “put on” the armor of God? Which of these are offensive weapons? Defensive weapons? When have these weapons helped you? How can you use them for someone else?
Use this week to focus on the “weapons” that God has provided us and put at least one weapon to use this week.
Questions to Ponder and Discuss
During a “battle’ in your life, to whom do you turn?
What was Moses’ strategy against the attacking Amalekites and what were the different responsibilities he assigned (17:8-11)?
What are some of the different types of “enemies” we all face in life?
What is usually your first reaction when an “enemy” comes against you? What are some strategies you have used?
What can you do today to show faith in your Sovereign Lord?
Is God your Adonai, your Master, or are you the “master” of your life (and then you wonder why you get into such “fixes”!)?
What is your favorite of God’s names? What has learning about Jehovah Nissi revealed to you about God’s character? Tell me in the comments below.
To learn more about this, consider checking out the Hebrew Institute of Biblical Studies article on this topic.
Or, to really dig deeper into the meaning of God’s name Jehovah Nissi, here are some recommended resources:
Because of Him,
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