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Monday, August 21, 2017

My Jehovah Nissi

For several weeks, our pastor has taught the names of God that reveal His character, and what each name means in our relationship with Him. Yesterday we looked at Jehovah Nissi. A few years ago I did some research on the names of God, and in my study, this name was exactly what I needed to hear. Some times in our lives we discover that, in what God has called us to do, we are exhausted and tired. And then—just like with Moses praying for the Israelites in the heat of battle with the Amalekites, a miracle happens. Friends like Aaron and Hur come along side us and lift our weary hands so that we might win. We discover that we are not alone. Jesus, through their support and prayers, is offered as our “paraclete”—the great “I AM”, the powerful Holy Spirit, who comes along side to carry us.

God as “Yahweh” the great “I AM”, existed before all else. “Jehovah” comes from “havah”, the Hebrew name which means “to exist” or “to be”. God, as the “I AM” of the universe—the great “Yahweh”, is “Jehovah” who reveals himself as the God who wishes “to become known”. He is the all-powerful personal “Jehovah”, who longs to have a relationship with the people He has created. And in that incredibly powerful relationship, I learn that I not alone.

“Jehovah”, in conjunction with “Nissi”, is only mentioned once in the Old Testament, and that is in Exodus 17. “Nissi” is derived from the word “nes”, which means “banner” in Hebrew. In Exodus 17:15, the Israelites, having just defeated the Amalekites because of Moses and the support of his faithful friends, rejoice in their victory. Moses erects an altar to “Jehovah Nissi”. The word “nes” can be seen by thinking of a flag as a focal point in battle. In Old Testament history (and throughout history) opponents in war flew their own flag on their front lines. This focal point reminded soldiers of their purpose. When they focused their mind to win, they received encouragement that their efforts would not be in vain. This is what God, “Jehovah Nissi”, is to us. He is our focal point, our “banner” on which we can focus our mind―all our thoughts, strength, hope, belief, and life. Isaiah wrote of God as this “banner”. “You guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You” (Isaiah 26:3, AMP).

In the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament written for Jews two centuries before Christ) the word “nissi” is translated as “refuge”.  When I focus all that I amall that I believeall that I liveall of my being on His unfailing standard, character, promise, and purpose, then He is my refuge in whatever comes before me. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High (Elyon),” the Psalmist writes, “shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (Shaddai) [Whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust” (Psalm 91:1-2, AMP). He is my “Jehovah Nissi”, the one in whom I can confidently trust.

God is not only my “banner”, who gives me strength and purpose; He is also my “refuge” and my fortress in the heat of battle. He is my strength to stand against all evil. When I put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17), no weapon can come against me. The enemy is defeated. And when I am tired, He is the one who carries me because I trust in Him. The verse following Isaiah 26:3 explains the faith that I can have in the Lord, my “banner” and my “refuge”, when my mind and whole life is focused on Him. “So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]” (Isaiah 26:4, AMP).
As long as Moses raised his arms in prayer during the rage of battle, the Israelites won. When he was tired, his faithful friends, Aaron and Hur, supported his arms so that victory would be secured. If God is the focal point of your life, you know Him as your place of safety—as the one on whom you can rely. If He isn’t your banner—your focal point—you are adrift and defeated. Make Him the center of your life. If you are tired, He sends His servants to help you win against the enemy.

You are not alone. Yes, He longs to be your “Jehovah Nissi”—the one in whom you can always trust.

© 2017 Lynn Lacher

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