We’ve been working our way through the various different names of God. Our God is uniquely different to other gods and deities in that He is everything and by everything I mean that other cultures have individual gods and goddesses for individual purposes. For example, there are gods and goddesses for healing, or for war, or for agriculture, or for the heavenly elements, or for fertility or pro-creation and so on. But our God has power and capacity for absolutely everything. Because those other gods don’t actually exist, their supposed power is also non-existent.
We learned about His attributes and character through the names He has and what they reveal about Him. In our previous program we learned that He is Yahweh Rapha, God our healer and that’s not primarily talking about the healing of our bodies from sickness, only God’s kind of healing is vastly more holistic. In our program today we’re going to look at the name Yahweh (Yeho’vah) Nissi.
This name comes from an event that we read about in Exodus 17 where the Israelites were fighting against the Amalekites, Moses was situated at the top of a hill from where he sat to overlook the battle. Whenever Moses raised his hands up over the people, the battle went in Israel’s favour, but when his arms got heavy and he lowered them, the battle went in the Amalekites favour. So Aaron and Hur sat Moses on a rock and they each held up one of Moses hands and stayed like that until the sun went down and Israel won the battle. After the battle was won, Moses built an altar.
Exodus 17:15, “Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner.”
The Hebrew word used here is ‘Nes’ which is referring to a standard or ensign which is hoisted on a pole, a sign or a sail. ‘Nes’ is how we get the word ‘Nissi’, which itself comes from the root word ‘na’sas’ which means ‘lifted up as an ensign’.
‘Nes’ or ‘Nissi’ is referring to this banner, or standard or ensign which was like a signal, a rallying point that the people could see and know where to be and that would be a place of safety and security. You run to that ensign, that signal and that was the safe place. That’s what the purpose of the ‘banner’ is, a place of refuge and safety.
Psalm 60:4-5, ‘You’ve given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of truth. That Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand and hear me.’
This banner is about safety and deliverance.
Song of Solomon 2:4, ‘The Shulamite to the Daughters of Jerusalem. “He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me is love.”’
Again, this verse is talking about an ensign of love demonstrated with provision and safety within a banqueting situation, so it’s a safe and happy occasion.
Isaiah 11:9-12, ‘They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious. It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria (Mesopotamia) and Egypt, from Pathros (lower southern regions below Egypt) and Cush (Ethiopia), from Elam (Iran) and Shinar (Iraq), from Hamath (Syria) and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.’
I love this passage of Scripture because it talks about both the Gentiles coming under the banner of the Lord as well as His people Israel – the Jews – who’ve been scattered throughout the world, to the four corners of the earth. Especially as He specifies that He would gather them ‘the second time’. The first time He gathered them was from the Babylonian exile and the second time was after the exile that resulted from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the destruction of the Temple.
The banner is identified as the ‘Root of Jesse’ and Jesse was king David’s father, and who is the root of Jesse? The Messiah who came from the lineage of David. The ‘Root of Jesse’ is a title for the Messiah. The Messiah is the banner that is lifted up for the Gentile world to rally to and the Messiah is the banner for the remnant of the Jewish people to rally to after the Lord has gathered them home to their ancient homeland once again…the second time.
What does the Messiah do? He redeems, He saves, He rescues. The Messiah is a refuge of safety and security. That is Who Yahweh Nissi is. He is the rallying point, the refuge of safety and salvation. That’s who our God is!