Name in English Translation: The LORD is my banner

Hebrew name: Nissi – [my banner]

What it means

The Israelites were facing their first real challenge in battle. Yahweh had wiped out the Egyptian army that pursued them using the Red Sea. He required no assistance from the Israelites. He wanted to make a miraculous statement in defeating the Egyptians. And He did!

Now the Israelites were up against the Amalekites. Yahweh had other plans for defeating them. Moses sent Joshua and the Israelite men to defend against the Amalekites. While Joshua led the Israelites into battle, Moses, Aaron and Hur went up on the hill to view the battle.

As long as Moses had his hands in the air, the Israelites were winning. When his hands were down, the Amalekites were winning. Once they figured this out, Aaron and Hur made Moses sit on a rock and they held his hands up continually. And so Joshua and the Israelites won the day over the Amalekites.

After the defeat, the LORD told Moses that the victory over the Amalekites was a big deal and should be written down for future remembrance.

In addition,“Moses built an alter and called it The LORD is my Banner.” (Exodus 17:15) He could have called it “The LORD is my victory, or my commander, or my protector, or my something else.” But Moses chose “is my banner.”

A banner is unique in a battle situation. First, it is a rallying point. If the troops get disoriented or lost, they can look through the fog of war, find their banner and rejoin their fellow soldiers. As long as the banner is up and visible, it inspires courage in those who serve under it. It also provides focus. The soldiers know which direction to head. Toward the banner!

Second, the banner identifies who you are. You may recall that it was common during the United States Civil War for each group of soldiers to serve under the flag, banner or colors of their regional regiment. There was a great deal of pride in knowing that your enemies and your allies knew that you were on the field. It was a privilege to carry the banner into battle. But you carried a flag and not a gun. It also made you a target. If you shoot the banner bearer, the flag falls to the ground and the enemy can become confused. As soon as the banner hits the ground, another soldier shouldered his weapon and lifted the colors.

Third, it was a signal. Point the banner in one direction and the soldiers move that way. Wave the flag and it signals something different.

Now when we look at Moses hands they take on new meaning. As long as his hands were up toward the LORD, they served as a banner for the Israelites. The Israelites could see the raised hands they would be encouraged. The hands were up. They were pointed toward God. Men were reminded that they were on the side of the LORD. The LORD would help them.

The raised hands also served as a banner to the Amalekites. They were reminded that they were fighting Yahweh's chosen people. And they were well aware of the events at the Red Sea.

Sample prayers to praise with

I praise you Yahweh-Nissi because you give the victory.

I praise you Yahweh-Nissi because you give identity as your soldier.

I praise you Yahweh-Nissi because you help me.

I praise you Yahweh-Nissi because the battles of my life are yours.

I praise you Yahweh-Nissi because you are victorious over Satan and the forces of this world.

I praise you Yahweh-Nissi because you provide direction for my life.

I praise you Yahweh-Nissi because you give commands for me to obey as a demonstration of my love for you.

Verses to memorize and meditate on

Exodus 17:15 -- Moses built an alter and called it The LORD is my Banner.

Psalm 60:4 – But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow.

Isaiah 11:10 – In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious

Books to read

The concept of a banner appears ten times in the book of Isaiah. It is never directly included in a name for Yahweh. It does sometimes refer to God as a banner. Isaiah talks of God wanting a banner raised to encourage people to return to Him and give Him the glory due His name.

Old Hymns

His Banner Over Me is Love

Attributes related to this name of God

Omnipotence – all powerful

Omnipresent – all present; everywhere


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Posted January 5, 2011