The name I chose for today is a compound name. A compound name is either God’s personal name YHWH or a generic noun meaning “god” combined with a word describing an attribute or role of God. In Exodus 17:15, we are told that Moses built an altar and named it Jehovah Nissi which means “The Lord is My Banner.”
The story behind this name begins in Exodus 17:8 when Amalek attacked Israel. The Israelites had recently escaped from Egypt, but the thrill of freedom was fading as the reality of life in the wilderness set in. The wanderers had camped at Rephidim after coming face to face with their total dependence on God for food and water. The word Rephidim means “rests,” and some scholars believe that name is significant because we are often at our most vulnerable when we are at rest.
Moses appointed Joshua to mount a defense against Amalek while Moses went up on the top of a nearby hill. He took with him the staff or rod of God, the same staff he had used to perform miracles in the presence of Pharoah and to strike the rock at Horeb to produce water for the people. The staff was a symbol of God’s presence and of His power.
On the hill, Moses positioned himself where he could see the soldiers and be seen by them. He raised his staff as an appeal to God for His help and also as a banner to encourage the soldiers. As the battle continued, Moses began to tire. While his arms were raised, the Israelites did well, but when his arms sagged, the tide turned in favor of the Amalekites. Aaron and Hur, the brother and brother-in-law of Moses, had accompanied him to the hilltop. When Moses could no longer hold up the staff, they found a rock for him so sit on, and they supported his arms for him.
Ultimately, the Israelites prevailed, and God instructed Moses to write an account of the battle as a memorial. Moses also built an altar and named it Jehovah Nissi, The Lord Is My Banner. It was his way of giving the complete credit for the victory to God.
In today’s society, flags have become an identifying symbol for nations, schools, and social organizations, and they often becoming
rallying points in times of crisis. Fans of the Olympics are familiar with the emotional response of seeing Old Glory displayed in the opening ceremonies. In addition, most of us remember all the flags that flew in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. Flags can also become signs of victory as was the case in Iwo Jima during World War II.
Those of us who are Christians look to Jesus as our banner. He was lifted up as a sacrifice for those who choose to identify with him. He gathers us to Himself, he encourages us, He is our victory, and He is the Lord our Banner.
Here are some other names of God that begin with the letter B:
Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13
In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. Jeremiah 33:15
And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. Revelation 21:6