Jehovah Nissi- the Lord is My Banner

Call Me by Name

Jehovah Nissi- the Lord is My Banner

Sunday, March 12th, 2023   

Welcome! Come into Worship, Psalm 77

What is the purpose of a banner? Think about the different banners you see. It could be to promote something or draw attention to something. It could be to show our allegiance to something or someone. Look at the way banners are used in all kinds of formats to signify our loyalty and pride in sports teams. 

In parades there are banners out in front for bands, sports teams, clubs, and military-to all say who is coming behind and to take notice of them. 

This is similar to how armies worked back in biblical times. When they would go to war against a nation, they would have their banner out in front of the men as a sign to the other army who was coming and to who their allegiance was, but also for the men in the army as a focal point to keep their confidence up, to rally their courage and belief in who they were and what they were fighting for. 

In Moses’ time, they didn’t use a big flag or cloth on poles as we might think of today-now it’s vinyl more than likely. Then it was a big pole and on top, there would be a shiny ornament that could reflect the sun. It would be held up high for all the people to see until the battle was over. It was their banner over them. 

Today we’re going to look at how God is our banner over us. Another name for God is Jehovah Nissi, which means the Lord our Banner

Moses was leading the Israelites toward the Promised Land. God rescued them from the hands of Pharaoh out of Egypt and now they were making their way through the desert. Out of nowhere comes a group of people to attack them. God calls Moses to go and fight these people and assures him, He will be with them. This is the first group they would encounter and history will prove this particular group of people would continue to attack God’s people from generation to generation. 

Let’s look at what God commands Moses to do and the actions Moses and his men take to trust in the power of God as their banner, in the midst of this battle. Let’s be mindful today as to why seeing God in this light and calling upon Him in this name, will prove highly beneficial for all of us as we face our own battles. 

Exodus 17: 8-16 NIV

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” 10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner16 He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”

  • The Flesh, “Amalek” Attacks the Spirit, “Israel. 

Exodus 17:8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.

Much of the Bible and the people within it provide us examples to learn from regarding our nature apart from Christ and our rebellion towards God. Sometimes entire groups of people reflect more than just that nation at that time. This is the case for Amalek and his descendants. Amalek and the nation of Amalekites were a type of the flesh. They were always rebellious to God and to God’s people. They set their hearts on living for their fleshly cravings-all the world could provide them, and they were bent on destroying others to get it. 

We must understand their history to grasp how deep this rebellion goes and why it provoked God to have His hand against them. 

Remember last week we spoke about Isaac as the promised child through Abraham and Sarah-the one whom God’s blessings and favor would rest. Isaac grew to have his own children and had twin boys- Esau and Jacob. Esau was the firstborn and in those days, the firstborn son had an extra blessing from his father. Jacob wanted that blessing as he grew and he saw that his brother Esau was driven by fleshly desires, so he used that to his advantage in a moment Esau was weary and weak. 

We read in Genesis 25: 29- 32 29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob.

This was huge. Jacob acquired something of great significance and value and Esau freely gave it up-to satisfy his temporal physical hunger. The point is, Esau did not hold value to the greater things but lived for temporary pleasure and to feed his cravings. Jacob would later receive the blessing of his father Isaac and that blessing would pass through to all his descendants. Esau lost that blessing and would continue to live chasing after and feeding his earthly cravings. He and all his descendants would be against God and those living under His blessing. Esau later had a grandson named Amalek who followed the pattern of his grandfather. Amalek would raise up an entire nation that would forever be at war with the people of Israel. 

In this case as Israel was on their way to the Promised Land, the first trouble they find with other people are the Amalekites. They attacked out of nowhere and provoked Israel to battle. So now we see a shift from when they were leaving Egypt and Moses told the people to stand firm and watch the deliverance of the Lord-which He did by parting the Red Sea to rescue them from Pharaoh and his army. Now that they had been saved, we see, God calling them to go and fight the Amalekites and conquer them, in His power upon them. 

This is the same for you and me. All we need to do is call on Jesus to rescue us from certain death and He will save us. He redeems us and makes us new as His Spirit lives in us. However, we still have these earthly bodies and our souls that carry our fleshly nature. So our fleshly nature becomes the enemy within that attacks out of nowhere and provokes us into battle. Because the flesh is set against God and His ways-always rebellious. 

You know this is true. Just look at the many ways you still rebel against God and resist His ways time and time again. Once we are saved in Christ, our battles begin because now we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us-desiring to take the lead and bring us into righteous living-which releases the blessings and favor of God upon our lives. But our fleshly nature constantly rears it’s ugly head saying I still want power; I want control; I have cravings I must satisfy. So the Spirit and the flesh will forever be at war, just like the Amalekites and the Lord’s people.  

Galatians 5: 16-17 NASB 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want.

The name Amalek means warlike. Amalek would never promote peace. 

When we feed our flesh, we are not seeking peace. Our flesh doesn’t care about peace; it will argue, disrupt, and destroy our families, our marriages, our health, and even our church life. 

  • The Lord Our Banner, Conquers the Flesh.  

Thanks be to God, we are not in this battle alone! He is our banner over us! He goes before us, and in His power, He gives us victory over the flesh!  But God will call us to destroy the cravings of the flesh because He knows our flesh will continue to attack, bringing destruction and preventing His blessings from flowing in our lives. 

Exodus 17:16 16 He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”

This did hold true, as we read in the Bible we see the Amalekites were a problem to Israel over and over again. When King Saul was reigning before David, God gave an order to Saul to fight this nation and destroy them and everything they had. Wipe out their existence because this rebellion was so deeply embedded into their dna, God did not want them influencing and destroying His people. God’s purposes always prevail and He reigns with justice and righteousness. So we must remember, rebellion will always be dealt with. 

1 Samuel 15: 2-3 NKJV Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them.

Saul went out with his army and fought against the Amalekites and God’s favor was with them. They did overpower this nation and conquer them. The problem is, Saul decided to spare the king and take him hostage and keep the very best of the animals and loot. God specifically said destroy everything because it was all tainted with a rebellious spirit. Then when Samuel the prophet confronted what Saul did, he tried to justify his actions and defend why it was ok. He tried to say he was going to give it back to God as an offering. But that’s not what God commanded. Saul started determining what he should listen to and what would be ok to hold on to.                            Sound familiar at all? 

This is the slippery slope we walk when we pick and choose what of the flesh we want to keep feeding. It won’t be so bad. I can manage it. It won’t get out of control. I just really like this so I don’t want to let it go. 

But God knows the heart is deceitful and He knows how weak we are like Esau -that when we’re tempted. in those moments of weakness, we throw away our spiritual blessings to satisfy our temporal cravings. We come out from under the Lord as our Banner.  God commands our absolute obedience and loyalty because that is where we receive and experience His blessings that are far beyond what this world can offer. 

We find victory to conquer the flesh under His banner. 

The prophet Samuel shared this truth with Saul. 

1 Samuel 15: 22-23 NKJV 22 So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”

To obey is better than sacrifice and rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Witchcraft is all about deception, manipulation, and power over others. That is exactly what a rebellious heart breeds-which is why God calls for us to obey and walk with Him.  To trust Him with all our heart. For He is good and He plans good for us, but if we are focused on satisfying the craving of our fleshly nature, we will forsake His covering. 

Did you notice when Moses’ arms were down, the Amalekites had the upper hand in the battle. When Moses’ hands were raised with the staff from God, the banner lifted high, Israel was winning. Israel defeated the Amalekites that day because  Moses remained steadfast in his post and Aaron and Hur held his arms up to keep that staff listed high as a symbol of the Lord God Almighty fighting for them. They were not fighting in their own power that day, but in the power of God. And they stood together-so when one was weak the others could carry him.

So it is with you and me. If we have a spirit like Esau and Amalek, we will forever be at war with the Lord. Life will be so much harder than it has to be; harder than God desires it to be for you. But if we like Moses, believe and call on the Lord our Banner, we absolutely find victory every time our flesh attacks us. We will have the upper hand as we yield to the Holy Spirit within and put to death or destroy the cravings of the flesh. 

Galatians 5:24 NASB 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Remember God declared war with the Amalekites from generation to generation. There will always be a war between our flesh and the Spirit who dwells in us. But we can choose daily, and we must, to crucify the flesh and its desires and heed the voice of the Spirit as our guide and power. 

  • In Christ our Banner, We Fight From Victory. 

Do you hear this today? In Christ, who is our Banner, we fight FROM victory! We are not fighting for victory, hoping we can conquer and win. We already have victory. Notice there is still a battle. God told Moses to go and fight Amalek. But look what else He said. 

Exodus 17: 14-15 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.

So while God called Moses to go and fight; He also assured him He would in fact blot out the name of Amalek. This means absolute victory in every battle as you walk with Me and remain faithful to Me. 

For us this means, God’s plan and purpose is to destroy our fleshly nature. The truth is, our flesh will never get better or become reformed. It will always rebel the ways of God. It’s our Spirit that is transformed and it is our Spirit that we learn to yield to, so it guides our thoughts and actions. The flesh must die-which is why Jesus died on the cross. He took the sins of the world upon Himself and his earthly body died as the sacrifice for sinful man. This is the power of the cross. In the cross we find salvation and we are reminded of God’s infinite power and absolute victory over the enemy. It’s His resurrected body that is glorified and it’s through His death and resurrection, His Spirit is sent to dwell in the heart of every believer, which imparts His righteousness to us. 

This is where we find true freedom, by putting to death the cravings and desires of our flesh that is deceitful and destructive in nature. In Jesus we find and have victory! It is to Jesus we owe our allegiance to, not our flesh. 

Romans 8: 12-13 NIV 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV 14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

The Lord our Banner, goes before us, He hems us in from behind; covers us in His protection and power, and brings us to certain victory every time we call on Him and follow His lead. 

And as we look to Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our Banner, let us know and remember the source and motivation of His power. 

Song of Solomon 2:4 NASB He has brought me to his banquet hall, And his banner over me is love.

Conclusion:  Let us rejoice today for the Lord’s love is our banner over us. Let us call on Jehovah Nissi when “Amalek” comes to attack and remember victory is certain when we make the Lord our Banner. 

Let’s pray: 

Offering: This month our mission focus is to the Rio Area Food Pantry

Announcements: No big egg hunt, but library is doing a Swing into Spring event. We would love to donate 3-4 Easter baskets $20 range for their raffle give aways. They could also use a few volunteers day of April 1st

We will do an egg hunt here so we welcome candy donations for that. 

We welcome flowers for spring to be donated here

Jesus Revolution movie-anyone want to go? Form a group to go to Portage? 


Final Blessing: 1 Corinthians 15: 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

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