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By Pastor Jared Decker



First Mention: Exodus 17:15
And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:

Meaning: The Lord My Banner

We began a series two weeks ago looking at how God reveals himself in Scripture through various names that describe His character and relationships with mankind.

In this passage, we see many key people and elements:

Israel – Weak, untrained, never fought before – vs. 9

Joshua – A willing servant, not a battle hardened general, ready to proceed in an impossible task, defeat a trained army – vs. 10

Amalek – An enemy who would have the curse of God placed upon his nation for being the first to oppose Israel – vs. 14 (I Chronicles 4:41-43)

Moses – The man of God who held his hands up toward the God of heaven for victory – vs. 9, 11

Aaron and Hur – Men who held up the hands of the man of God and thereby helped, without a sword, to secure victory for Israel – vs. 12

An Altar – Moses dedicated this altar to the God who won the victory for Israel, Jehovah-Nissi, “The LORD My Banner.” – vs. 15-16

1. A Banner Was Used To Identify. Psalms 60:4

The banner was a symbol of strength, pride, relationship, or ownership. With regard to the army of Israel, each tribe had its own banner and banner bearer, and were commanded by God to set up their banners as identification in the camp of Israel. Numbers 2:2

In war, opposing armies flew a banner on a pole at the center of their respective front lines; this was intended to give their troops a feeling of identity, and pride. These banners are known affectionately as their “colors.”

When an army won the victory, they would raise their flag over the city of the defeated.

Example: On November 25, 1783, the last British troops and authorities boarded vessels headed for England and left the shores of Manhattan. Wounded British pride resulted in the nailing of a Union Flag to the flagpole in the Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, and a greasing of the pole. After a number of men attempted to tear down the offending symbol of tyranny a veteran, John Van Arsdale, was able to climb the pole with the use of cleats, remove the flag, and replace it with the Stars and Stripes before the British fleet sailed out of sight. The Continental Army had won!

Through salvation we have the ability to identify with victory, because the Lord is the very symbol of victory for His people. Isaiah 11:10, II Timothy 2:19, Ephesians 2:10

2. A Banner Was Used To Rally.

The banner was also a place to rally to at a point when the battle was not going as was expected.

Example: Roman soldiers – regroup at banner to form new attack.

Psalms 115:11, I Samuel 4:3-5

Israel chose a banner to rally behind, they just chose the wrong one. They did not trust in the strength of the Lord, but in the power of an object which they had idolized. Proverbs 29:25

3. A Banner Was Used To Embolden.

The banner was also something that gave courage by the very sight of it. The men, fighting valiantly, would look to their banner; if it still flew they fought more fiercely. Their banner was a “refuge” for their courage … the LORD is our banner, and we find refuge in Him.

Example: The famous picture of the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima
This is what God is to us: a banner of encouragement to give us hope and a focal point in times of battle or danger. Proverbs 14:26

We find courage in knowing that the victory is from the Lord. John 15:5

The Lord Jesus Christ has given us the commission and ability to fight the good fight of faith, to hold fast the profession of our faith, and to share that faith with the world.

This kind of responsibility is not without obstacles, difficulties, battles, etc. It is a serious matter of warfare.

We need the courage and boldness to continue through the many adversities.
1 Corinthians 16:13, Philippians 1:27-28

He is our banner, our identity, our rally point, our source of emboldening, and he has given us a spirit able to proceed to victory. 2 Timothy 1:7, Romans 8:37