The Names of God: Jehovah Nissi

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 12, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Jehovah Nissi: The Lord my banner

I’ve never been the kind of person that does war cries or chants or pep talks or what not. I know their purpose and their intent to rile someone up, get them on an emotional high, and spook out the opponent. It doesn’t matter whether its in actual war, a sport, or even a business meeting. I’m simply not that kind of person. I find shouting at your opponent is a waste of energy while I simply stand there with confidence of “Watch out!”

There only time I’ve ever actually enjoyed a war cry is from Eric Ludy’s short sermon on the Israel’s war cry which I wrote about in one of my first blog posts for Worldview Warriors. RAK CHAZAK! Be strong and courageous! Do not give in to fear! That is the only one I’ve ever been able to buy into.

The purpose of war cries and chants is to get the people motivated, and there’s something about crowd mentality in that too. When you see a group of football players getting into their rhythm, you don’t want to interrupt that, because they are a force to contend with. When the group gets a high morale, it is tough to break. Likewise, when the morale is down, it takes a leader to raise the banner, the flag, or the symbol of what you fight or play for and call for everyone else to bring on their best. In the movie The Patriot in the final battle, the American lines fell before the British troops and Benjamin Martin, played by Mel Gibson, grabbed a U.S. flag from a retreating soldier and rallied the troops to where they soon claimed victory.

The Bible has such a moment too, and that is where the name Jehovah Nissi came about. In Exodus 17, Amalek rose up to try to stop Israel from crossing the wilderness and reach Mt. Sinai. Moses sent Joshua out to lead the battle while he climbed a hill to oversee it. Moses lifted his hands and as long as his hands were up, Israel won, but when they fell, Amalek gained ground. Aaron and Hur realized this and rushed to Moses’ aid, holding his hands up until victory was achieved. Moses’ raised hands was little different than raising a flag or a banner and as long as it was up, the people’s morale remained high. Moses knew he was nothing special in this, but it was God the whole time. So, he gave God the name Jehovah Nissi to commemorate that battle.

In each of these cases, we see a leader or a banner, some image that represents all the athletes and soldiers stand for. It is the rallying point, the signal caller, and the hope of the combatants. When a fort surrenders, they lower the flag. When a fort is in distress, they fly the flag upside down to notify those outside there is danger in the fort. When a fort or nation is in mourning, they fly the flags at half-mast.

What should be the most famous case of a flag flying can be found at Ft. McHenry in the War of 1812. This was the moment in which Francis Scott Key penned the Star-Spangled Banner. The British troops pulled their entire armada to shell the fort only to be stopped by surrender, as recognized by that flag on the fort ramparts. The people knew precisely what that flag meant and despite being shot down again and again, the people ran to that flag throughout the night and held it up in person. That is something we Americans don’t understand anymore: the courage to “rather die on your feet, than live on your knees” (quote from movie clip cited above). But it is also something missing in our Christian lives as well.

We have a banner, a rallying point, and a symbol that represents who we fight for and who we represent. That banner is God himself: Jehovah Nissi. He is not only the one we turn to for shelter, but He is the very symbol that brings us together, riles us up, and sends us charging back into the battle for souls. God is the one telling our souls to get up, to get back into the fight, to rise up, and engage the spiritual forces holding people hostage.

The problem is so few of us only turn to God for our immediate needs and not as a rallying point. We go to church mostly for the social gathering or for listening to a good talk, but church is meant to be so much more than that. Church is meant to be a place where the flag of Jesus Christ flies. It is a place where a pastor sounds the horn to rally the troops, give us our orders for engaging this world, and send us back to battle strengthened and encouraged. So few pastors see their role that way. Even though I lead a Bible study group at my church, I often don’t think of it this way either. But imagine the change of church behavior and attitude if we did.

Do we have someone calling to us to rally us together? Do we see the banner to be raised? In this sermon excerpt, Paul Washer says what costs him sleep is this: “To pace a room at night, saying ‘There is a place. There is a place, where He is not worshiped, where He is not worshiped. There is a place where He is not worshiped. I cannot sleep. There is a place where He is not worshiped. There is a place where the flag of Zion does not fly.’” Who thinks like that? It’s supposed to be Christians. Not super-Christians, not elite Christians, but everyday Christians. Our job as ambassadors is to not merely plead with people to come to Christ but to expand the territory of the Kingdom. Do we think that way?

To whom do we rally? To what cause? For which kingdom? Sadly, many of us fight for something other than Christ and His Kingdom, and especially when we do so under the guise of doing just that. It’s a clever trick of the enemy and he’s good at it. Instead, let us raise the banner of Christ high and let the world know that we proclaim the name of Jesus, Jehovah Nissi, the Lord my banner. He is our war cry. He is our rallying point. He is our motivator. He is our general who gives us His orders. Let us rally together at the banner that is Christ and see to it that His name be raised and glorified in every aspect of our lives.

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