Does life ever feel like a battle to you? It does to me. I get tired, I feel alone, the battle seems endless. Sometimes it seems as if I could comfort myself with the thought that it will be a short battle, so I’ll just “get through it”. Other times, long battles come into my life, like eight years of chronic pain, and I realize that I need more help than to just, “get through it”. In fact, getting through it seems impossible.
The name Jehovahnissi appears only one time in the Bible. The story is Moses and Joshua fighting against the Amalekites. You may be familiar with the part of the story where Aaron and Hur hold up Moses’ arms so that Joshua could win the battle. But this name of God comes after the victory is won.
At the end of the battle, the Amalekites are defeated and Israel is rejoicing. But God commands Moses to remember what happened here. To remember the battle fought and won. He is to write it down, rehearse it in the ears of Joshua, and they are to specifically remember that God has completely defeated their enemies.
Then Moses does something interesting. He builds an altar. Altars in the Bible were used to either worship or remember. Moses knows that its important for the Israelities to remember this victory. And he calls the name of the altar Jehovahnissi, the Lord our Banner.
Banner here gives the idea of a pole with a flag attached, carried during the battle. The job of this banner was to essentially rally the troops. It gave them something to look at, a visual reminder of who they were fighting for and why they were fighting. It gave them a sense of fighting together, that they were not alone. There was a great cause, a team. That banner waving in the wind was a focal point that the soldiers looked to when they needed encouragement.
Here Moses is reminding the soldiers that the Lord is our banner. It is Him that we fight for, Him that we look to. He is our source of encouragement in the battle. He is our encouragement because it is through Him that our battles are won.
Have you won a battle? May I encourage you to build an altar? There are Joshuas fighting right now who need to see an altar and need a Moses. Someone to rehearse in their ears the name Jehovahnissi. To remind them to look up and see the Lord our banner. To focus on Him in the battle.
Are you in the middle of a battle? Look up. Always up. Imagine in the sky there is a banner waving. A tangible reminder of the Lord. That He is with us, fighting for us. That we never have to face a battle alone. Jehovahnissi.