Who Do We Worship - P2

Jehovah Nissi

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.”

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 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. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

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 memory of Amalek from under heaven.”
Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner.

Exodus 17:8-15

In this battle with the soldiers of Amalek, we observe a situation that we have never seen in any other biblical battle. As long as Moses’ hands were lifted high the Israelites had the advantage. If his hands would fall, the Amalekites would take the lead. As Moses’ body grew tired his arms naturally began to fall. Without thinking Aaron and Hur surrounded him and held up his hands until the battle was won. As a result of this victory Moses built an altar and called it “Jehovah Nissi”, which means the Lord is my banner.

The word banner comes from the Hebrew word meaning a flag or sail. It can also mean a signal or token. A banner is used for basically two purposes. The first is to announce or proclaim the coming of something or someone. You can see the sails and the flag of a ship long before you can see its body. Far away in the distance you can see that a ship is coming. You may not know exactly which ship it is, but you know it is coming.

The other purpose for a banner is a symbol or token. A banner declares, “This is who (or what) I represent. This is what I stand for. It is who I am.” Having recently watched the Democratic and Republican national conventions I saw several groups of people sitting underneath a banner with the name of the state in which they represent. We fly our national flag to tell the world, “I am a representative of the United State of America. I love my country, and I will do whatever I can to respect and honor it.” In either case, a banner always leads the procession, and it is lifted high for everyone to see and know who is coming.

In this battle with the Amalekites, Moses recognized that as long as his hands were raised, the Lord was going before the army. However, unlike a traditional banner or sign, when the Lord goes before you He does more than announce your coming, He literally fights the battle on your behalf. When Moses’ hands were lifted, they were more than just a symbol of morale to the armies down below. I believe that Moses’ hands were lifted in worship unto God. This is one of the amazing things about worship. Whenever we teach our children or a new believer about raising hands in worship we always use the explanation that it is a form of surrender—at that is true. We use the classic example, “If someone had a gun pointed at you, you would naturally lift your hands in surrender. You would yield to them because they are in a position of higher power for the moment.” But at this battle Moses was not raising his hands in surrender but, rather, in victory. He was literally sending God out as the banner lead fighter for the army as long as his hands were raised.
Friends, there is a time and a place to humble yourselves before God and yield to His leading, but there is also a time to throw your hands up and rejoice because as you worship God is fighting the battle on your behalf. When God fights there will always be victory!

Psalm 20 gives us a wonderful illustration of this fact. May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the god of Jacob defend you; may He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion; may He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice. May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose. We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions…..Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

Worship declares, “I have put my trust in God, for He alone is able to bring victory, and He alone is the standard by which I live my life.” As I write this I am reminded of a song that we would often sing in college: Lift high the Lord our Banner; Lift high the Lord, Jesus King. Lift high the Lord our Banner; Lift high your praise to Him sing. As we worship we are lifting Jesus high like a banner. We are declaring that He is greater than our current circumstance, and we are yielding to His Lordship and to His standard—not ours.

The Lord himself has declared that He carries a banner over us. …His banner over me is love. (Song of Solomon 2:4) Whenever the Lord comes onto the scene, he may be coming in salvation, forgiveness, judgment, or correction, but before any of that He comes in love. He has declared that He loves us with an everlasting love.

Just as Moses held up his hands in worship for the victory that God would bring, you can do the same. The next time you are facing the Amalekites in your life remember that God has given us this wonderful tool called worship, and as we do that God will literally go before us and fight those battles until they are won.











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