Jehovah-Nissi – The Lord is Our Banner
Jehovah-Nissi is the name used for God that I have least understood. What does it mean?
I decided to do some research and, after looking at a few resources, found the website “Got Questions,” whose byline is “Your Questions. Biblical Answers.” Their response to the question of the meaning of the name was informative and important in our quest to make God bigger (in our own estimation, of course). This site explains that Moses gave God this title in recognition that He is the Victor in the battle and that nothing is won without Him.
The story finds the Israelites on their 40-year trek through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land when they were attacked by the Amalekites. During the fighting, Moses stood on a hilltop above the battle, where he lifted up the “rod of God,” which God had given Him during their encounter at the burning bush. As long as he held it aloft, the Hebrews prevailed. When his arms got too tired to hold it up any longer, the Amalekites got the upper hand. Moses brother, Aaron, and another man found a place for Moses to sit down and supported his arms and the rod overhead until the battle was won at sundown.
Moses built an alter to honor Jehovah-Nissi in thanks and acknowledgment that the victory had been secured by the power of God alone. You can read the story in Exodus 17:8-16.
This tale helps me remember that in my day-to-day struggles, I can trust God to fight for me. Other scriptures that remind me of this are Isaiah 30:15 (spoiler alert – this verse warns me of the consequences of trying to go it alone!) and Exodus 14:14.
It also reminds me that my job is to listen to God for instructions regarding what I am to do during the battle. It was Moses’ job in this clash to hold God high above the fight. I definitely need to exalt Him as Lord over my battles, but if you read more about the Israelite scrimmages in the Old Testament, you notice that each one had its own unique instructions for showing that they trusted and depended on God for the Victory. For example, they took Jericho with a shout after seven silent days of marching around the city (Joshua 6:1-21) and Jehoshaphat sent the worship team out ahead of the army only to find the enemy had fought and slaughtered themselves! All that was left to do was pick up the loot (Chronicles 20:14-24).
The other thing about this story that gives me encouragement is that, though God gave Moses the job of lifting the rod above the battlefield, he was not required to do it alone. Friends and family came to his rescue and strengthened him until the job was complete. My God sends help even with the small tasks He gives me.
What do these verses show you about the nature of God?