But you have raised a banner for those who fear you—a rallying point in the face of attack. Now rescue your beloved people. Answer and save us by your power. [Psalm 60:4-5 (NLT)]
Following the Israelites’ victory against the Amalekites at Rephidim, Moses built a memorial altar and called it Jehovah-Nissi, which meant “The Lord is Our Banner.” Bearing the insignia of a country, opposing nations would fly their banners at the front line to rally and encourage their troops. The Amalekites were an army of fierce marauders with no fear of God. The Israelites, however, weren’t an army; they were weary travelers with women and children in their midst and they had no flag under which to rally. Moses’ staff was the closest thing they had to a banner. Naming the altar “Jehovah-Nissi” acknowledged that it was God’s presence and power that gave them their triumph. By not calling it “The Staff is Our Banner” or even “Our Banner Brought Us Victory,” it was clear that Moses knew it wasn’t battle strategy, military might or even his staff that defeated the Amalekites. God, and God alone, was the author of their victory.
Jehovah-Nissi: the Lord is our banner. Unlike the Israelites, we’re not being attacked by an army of marauding warriors but, like them, the enemy attacks us every day with desire, discontent, despair, anger, and guilt. If we keep our eyes focused on the Lord, as the Israelites did on Moses’ staff, victory is ours. We have a banner of encouragement, courage, hope, power and might. Because of Jehovah-Nissi, we don’t have to fight our battles on our own strength – we have His!