Word Nerd Wednesday – Yahweh Nissi

I’m excited to welcome AdeleAlys back for this week’s edition of Word Nerd Wednesday to share her fascinating research on what it means that God is our Yahweh Nissi.

Yahweh Nissi  

The symbolical title bestowed by Moses upon the altar which he erected on the hill where his uplifted hands in prayer had caused Israel to prevail. 

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as a reminder and recite it to Joshua, because I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”And Moses built an altar and named it The LORD Is My Banner. 

Exodus 17:14-15 Berean Study Bible 

Strongs H3071 Jehovah is my banner  (Exodus 17:15)

compound from H3068  yahawah (God’s name)  and H5251  nasaya  (lifted up) 

Banner: a piece of cloth bearing a design, motto, or slogan ; often mounted on a staff and carried in battle

What’s a banner for?

1) Banners are used for identification during times of peace.

When Liz reached out to remind me of the due date for this article, I was touring Israel with my Pastor and a group from my Church.  Although I knew the Holy Land to be sacred to all three Abrahamic faiths, I was astonished by the crowds and the frenetic energy they created. In such an atmosphere, following the wrong guide and getting on the wrong bus was a real possibility.

Hoping to prevent that, many groups suggested their members dress alike. We had blue hats; another group wore red jackets; and  still another had purple shoes.  It was a good plan. But a Japanese tour group had an even better one. Their leader carried a brightly colored umbrella  with a unique design. When it was time to leave a location, he stood  still and held it over his head. That made him instantly and easily findable. Rather than looking in all directions to find each other they had simply to look up and find him.

This is in keeping with the first mention of banner in the Bible :

“The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron saying saying ‘The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers’ houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side.'” 

ESV Numbers 2:1-2

2) Banners are lifted up to rally the troops during a battle.

And he will lift up a banner to the nations from afar, and will whistle unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed, swiftly:  

Isaiah 5:26 King James 2000

On that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples. The nations will seek Him, and His resting place will be glorious.

Isaiah 11:10 Holman Bible

Life this side of heaven is hard. If we ever forget it, we have Ephesians 6 to remind us. We wrestle with temptation, struggle to make the right decision and still  sometimes choose wrongly. And when we do, the Enemy is there to ridicule and discourage.  But if we look away from our circumstances and look up towards heaven, we will surely find  Jesus standing with us and  waiting for us to come to enlist his help  in the battle – help he has promised to give:

Indeed,” he said, “a hand was lifted up toward the throne of the LORD. The LORD will war against Amalek from generation to generation.”

Exodus 17:16 BSB

3) As Christians, the banner that connotes our ultimate victory is the cross.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent and lift it up as a banner, and it shall be that anyone that is bitten and looks upon it shall live.

Numbers 21:8 Jubilee Bible 2000

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up , that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.

John 3:14-15 Berean Study Bible

As for Me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all [people] to Myself.

John 12:32 Holman Bible

Threads of  the image of Jesus and the cross run thru many of the books of the Old Testament. Exodus Chapter 17:1-13- the passage just before our key verse-  is one of them.   It recounts the battle the children of Israel – still wilderness wanderers- fought against the Amalekites at Rephidim. When Moses lifted his staff  to God, the Israelites prevailed. When Moses tires , he dropped his hands,  and the Israelites started  to lose. So…Aaron and Miriams son Hur flanked Moses- and they held up his hand and arm-one on each side-for so many hours it confused the sun and it did not set. In this way Israel prevailed  and won the battle. How like the crucifixion, when Jesus overcame death between two men-his arms stretched out to them both.

4) Getting Our Praise On

Now that you understand the how and the why of Yahweh Nissi,  I’d love if you could find and share a what.

Share a Scripture and /or Hymn or Praise Song Link with Lyrics that speak of God as your banner.

Here are mine.

He brought me to the banqueting-house, And his banner over me was love.  

Song of Songs 2:4 ASV

Here are two options found in the song Lift High The Cross.

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Meet AdeleAlys

Adele-Alys Spil

The daughter of a Lutheran minister and a Catholic college professor, Adele-Alys faith life has always been a patchwork. Married to a Jewish man for 38 years, she delved deeply into his faith. It sharpened my picture of Jesus and popped my spiritual ears in ways I could not imagine.” You can connect Adele-Alys via Twitter (@morgantonrose), Pinterest, and her blog (adelealysblog.wordpress.com).

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