Jehovah Nissi "The Lord is My Banner" - Significance & Meaning of God's Name for Today

Barnabas Piper

Jehovah Nissi Friday, October 18, 2019

“And Moses built an altar and named it ‘The LORD is my Banner.” -Exodus 17:15

When Israel faced the Amalekites in battle at Rephidim it wasn’t with overwhelming force, an experienced army, or the best commanders. It was as a transient tribe of herdsmen escaping slavery in Egypt and travelling uncertainly to a promised land they hadn’t seen in over four hundred years. They were trespassers travelling through the lands of fierce fighting peoples. They travelled with women, children, herds, and all their possessions. The battle was for survival, for hope, for a future.

But they travelled with something else too, something else that no other nation on earth had – a pillar of fire, a cloud of smoke, the very presence of God. Israel did not fight its battles alone. No matter how inexperienced or overmatched they were they were never the underdogs. No matter how desperate they felt they were never at a loss. The great general, the perfect protector, the LORD was with them. The very name used in Scripture is Jehovah Nissi - "the Lord is my banner"

Jehovah Nissi

The Lord Was with Israel in Battle

As the armies lined up to do battle, the men of Israel, under the command of a freshly appointed general, named Joshua, could have looked up to a nearby peak and seen three figures – Moses, Aaron, and Hur - standing there overlooking the battle. When the first battle cry sounded and the foes engaged, none of the combatants had time to look. But Moses, the middle of the three figures, raised his hands over the battle, and when he did, Israel began to take the upper hand.

But, as the day wore on and the sun rose high and hot, Moses tired. He was not a young man and the battle wore on; Moses sagged and dropped his arms to his side. Immediately, the Amalekites rallied and began to press the Israelites. Aaron and Hur realized what was happening and stepped to Moses’s side; they dragged a small boulder close for him to sit on and each took an arm and raised them again over the battle. As they did this, the Israelite fighters rallied to Joshua, found new strength, and the Amalekites felt new fear.

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Jehovah Nissi

God Showed the Nation that He Conquered on Their Behalf - "My Banner" Jehovah Nissi

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, Aaron and Hur supported Moses’s arms. They lifted him as he lifted the people before God. The people of Israel prevailed in battle that day. It was a day to remember, for it was the day God first showed them as a nation that He fought for them, that He led them in to battle, that He protected and conquered on their behalf, and that He was their banner.

The question arises, though, what does it mean for God to be our banner? When Moses names the altar, “Jehovah Nissi – The LORD is my banner,” we know it is significant. We know it is for remembrance, but what else is it, and what does it mean for God to be our banner today? Consider how banners are used, and it will begin to reveal some of what this title means.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

Jehovah Nissi

Banners are raised to celebrate and honor.

They hang from the rafters of arenas honoring champions. They are raised to honor soldiers returning from war. They adorn public places to celebrate occasions or people who deserve honor.

Banners are to remember and commemorate. Towns all over America raise banners on certain holidays every year to commemorate something dear to them – a patron, a product, a hero, a tradition, a holy day.

Banners are labels and signets. They announce names and images which people can recognize from a great distance. They show the location and identity of a business or event so people can navigate to it.

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Jehovah Nissi

Banners are visible.

The whole point of a banner is to be seen, unmistakable and un-ignorable.

Banners are for those who raise them. They are an act of celebration, remembrance, or announcement.

Banners are for those who see them. They are an invitation and a gathering place. They summon and call. They attract passers by.

As you consider all this, you may see how God is the banner—Jehovah Nissi—of all who believe, all who are His followers, all who trust Him with the same faith Moses, Aaron, Hur, and Joshua trusted.

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Jehovah Nissi

How God is Our Banner - Jehovah Nissi Still Today

God is our banner because we live to celebrate and honor His faithfulness to us, shown in myriad ways, from the rising sun to the risen Christ. God is our banner because we remember all His deeds and His words graciously given to us in scripture. God is our banner because He gives us identity, and our label is “God’s children,” because of the saving work of Jesus. God is our banner because we are his representatives to the world, making Him visible and showing the beauty of His transforming work. God is our banner because all of this is an invitation, a gravitational pull, a summons, a tug to any who would believe but do not yet know what that means or how to do so.

Photo Courtesy: Lightstock

Jehovah Nissi

The Lord Is My Banner and We Are the Lord's

When Moses built the altar and called it, “The LORD is my banner,” he was creating a place of remembrance, a celebration of victory, an expression of thanks. He was making a declaration, one that any follower of Jesus can share in today: The LORD is my banner and we are the LORD’s. It was a declaration not just of who God is and what He has done, but of who were as His people.

Photo Courtesy: Lightstock

Barnabas Piper is the author of three books and co-hosts the popular Happy Rant podcast. He blogs at BarnabasPiper.com, and writes for He Reads Truth as well as contributing to numerous other websites and publications. Piper also speaks regularly at churches and conferences around the country and lives in Nashville where he works in publishing.

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Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also on Twitter and at her blog www.debbiemcdaniel.com


This article is part of our Names of God Series featuring the most used names and titles of God found in the Bible. We have compiled these articles to help you study all that God says He is and to help you understand His nature and character. Our hope is that you would focus on these truths and find hope as you rest in the promise of God’s presence, no matter the circumstances.

7 Meanings of Yahweh - God's Name in the Bible
Son of Man - Jesus’s Favorite Name for Himself
Meaning of Elohim in the Bible
Abba Father - What it Means and Why it’s Important
What Does it Mean that Jesus is the Lamb of God?
God is the Alpha and Omega - Meaning & Understanding
The Meaning of Hosanna - Powerful Name of Jesus from the Bible
Jehovah Jireh: “The Lord Will Provide” Name of God
Jehovah Nissi: "The Lord is My Banner" Name of God
What is the Meaning of the Name El Shaddai?
What Does Yeshua Mean? Biblical Name for Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

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