Jehovah-Nissi: The Lord My Banner

Imagine an army on a battlefield awaiting the arrival of their foe. As they stand, shoulders weighted by heavy armor, hands holding sword and shield, they see something in the distance. “What is that?” they ask themselves. They squint, working hard to help their eyes focus on what is coming. Then they see it, a white banner rippling in the wind, carried by an army of angels. They know they are on the losing side of this battle.

This is just an example of the war being waged every day in the spiritual realm. The enemy is after you because God placed within you a purpose that will root out strongholds and shine His light in dark places, and he will use every method possible—distraction, slander, plots and schemes, guilt and doubt—to try to stop you from accomplishing God’s plan. It is in those moments, when darkness is at its peak, and it looks as if the enemy is going to win, that Jehovah Nissi unfurls his banner letting everyone know the battle is His and that He will have the victory.

Like modern day flags, banners were once used as forms of identification for troops marching into battle, striking fear in the hearts of their foes. They were symbols of unity and strength, a rallying point for safety, and were raised in victory when a battle was won.

God first revealed himself as Jehovah Nissi, The Lord is My Banner, in Exodus when he enabled the Israelite army to defeat their enemy, the Amalekites. Afterwards, God told Moses, “Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: For he said, ‘Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation’” (Exodus 17:14-16 KJV).

But this is not the only instance where God promised to show up on the battlefield to save his people. More accounts can be found throughout the Bible, including:

-Psalm 60:4: “But you have provided a banner to show your faithful followers where they gather to escape the enemy’s attack”;

-Isaiah 11:10, 12: “He will be like a banner that all nations gather around…and the place where he is will be filled with glory…but he will raise his flag (banner) as a sign for other nations, and he will gather his people together again”;

-Zechariah 9:16: “The Lord their God will save them in that day, for they shall be like jewels of a crown, lifted like a banner on His land.”

The word of God is consistent. What he did then, he will do today, and that includes showing up to defeat your enemies.

What is your battlefield? Is it at the office with a co-worker that tries to sabotage your projects, or a supervisor who slanders your name? Is it marital strife at home that has caused you to retreat into silence instead of talking through your issues? Is it voices in your head that try to convince you that you will never be good enough to earn favor with God? 

These are the battles that our Banner, Jehovah Nissi, wants to fight for us, but only if we are willing to be in the trenches with them. If there’s one thing that was revealed in the scriptures, it is that Jehovah Nissi showed up when his people were ready to fight. Being equipped on your battlefield means being suited up in your spiritual armor with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, having your feet fitted with the Gospel of peace, with the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit in your hand, and the helmet of salvation on your head (Ephesians 6:14-18).

But the most important weapon on your battlefield is prayer, and praying to Jehovah Nissi means you are praying to the God that will overcome your enemies. His arrival in your battle looks like God showing up on your job and “preparing a feast for [you] right in front of [your] enemies” (Psalm 23:5);  God entering your home to “destroy the dividing wall of hostility” between you and your spouse (Ephesians 2:14); God replacing words of death in your head with words of life which are “like honey…sweet to the spirit [that] bring healing to the body” (Proverbs 16:24). 

Praying to the Lord Our Banner marks God’s territory around us. It gives us courage even as we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” because we know Jehovah Nissi is there ready to strike (Psalm 23:4). It gives us confidence because the enemy is defeated before the battle begins. It gives us hope because we know God will neither leave nor forsake us on our battlefield.

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Please join me for on Wednesday, October 12th for Jehovah-Shalom, "The Lord is My Peace", the next installment in my "Praying the Names of God" Fall Selah Blog series.