I’m going though my book on the names of God at the moment. Each week I read one an then update our blackboard in the man cave with the name. This weeks one is God is almighty, (El Shaddai). When I wrote this one up I was reminded of my of my favourite name for God – Yahweh Nissi. I was also reminded of the blog post I wrote a few years ago about “God is my banner”, after reading it again I decided to repost it, with some editing.
Back in the day when the Israelites were fighting the Amalekites, Moses went and stood on a hill and raised his arms. When his arms were up the Israelites were winning the and when they were down the Israelites were loosing the battle. When the Israelites had won the battle Moses made an alter and called it Yahweh Nissi – The Lord is my banner. (You can read the whole story in Exodus 17:8-15)
Why did Moses call the alter Yahweh Nissi and not something else? After giving it some thought, I think these could be why he called it Yahweh Nissi.
1. When an army goes into battle a banner is always flown at the front the army. It identifies who the army is. When someone is being attacked they like to know who is attacking them – The banner does this. The Israelites were Gods chosen people, He represented them and they represented him in the world. God gave them their identification, just like a banner gives an army their identification.
2. The banner always directed where you were going because it was in the front of the army. If the banner carrier went left, you went left. This also represents how God always went before the Israelites and directed them where to go and what to do.
3. During a battle the banner helped the members of the army find their comrades when they get lost or disoriented during the battle. The banner helped them to stay focused on where to go and it also inspires courage among the army. When they see the banner it helps them to realize that they are not alone and apart of a “team”. Moses sat on the top of a hill – he was the Israelites banner. When his hands were up the Israelite army could see him – they were motivated to keep fighting and they were focused on the task.
Some more thoughts on the name Yahweh Nissi
Deuteronomy 31:8 says “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. I often pray this, because it’s true. God goes before us where ever we go, whether it’s a battle or not. He’s our banner.
As Christians we need to be focused on God – constantly looking to Him for direction and motivation. Just like a banner gives an army direction and motivation when we look to God we find our direction. It also helps us realize that we’re not nearly as lost as we imagine and we are able to refocus and get motivated again. All we need to do is look to God and we’re able to find our way.
1 Peter 2:9 says “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…..” This verse describes how God sees us today. Jesus, when He chose to die for us, made it possible for us to become Gods chosen people today. This is our God given identity. God like a banner gives us our identity.
I love this name of God because it reminds us that He always goes before us and that He is the one who gives us our identity.