Words of Worth

By Whose Standard?

November 13, 2011

Even though those of us in the Northeast have already had a taste of winter, the calendar reminds us that it is only November and the next big event will involve going “over the river and through the woods” to have Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house. We are also reminded by the commercials on television for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Now, I’ve never been to New York City for that particular parade but I’ve watched bits and pieces of it on TV as the house fills with the smells of turkey and pumpkin pie. There are celebrities, floats, cute kids, and lots of marching bands.

And in case you haven’t noticed (if you watch the parade), in front of every marching band someone carries a banner that announces the name of the school or group. The musicians know to fall in line behind that sign and follow it along the parade route.

One of the most interesting names of the Lord and maybe one of the lesser known ones, is “The Lord is my Banner” – Jehovah Nissi. The story is found in Exodus 17 and it happens right after the Israelites experience God’s provision at Massah and Meribah. Unsurprisingly, on the heels of God showing up to provide water for the grumbling people, an enemy shows up to provoke them to battle. The Amalakites came to fight. (Exodus 17:8) Joshua rallied the troops but Moses, Aaron and Hur moved to the top of the hill. It seems from reading the Scriptures that the outcome of this skirmish was literally in Moses’ hands. When his hands were up the Israelites prevailed, but when his hands dropped, the Amalekites gained the edge. So Aaron and Hur held the hands of Moses steady until the sun set and the Israelites gained the victory.

It would seem that the name of the Lord given on that occasion would reflect something to do with Moses and the help given by Aaron and Hur. But instead Moses built an altar and named it, “Jehovah Nissi – The Lord is my Banner”.

A banner is a standard. Whether it’s a flag or an insignia on the uniform of the military, a banner is a source of identification and those standing underneath that banner are committed to a code of conduct. When Moses named the altar, the Lord is my Banner, he is proclaiming – “I rally behind Jehovah. It is He to Whom I look. It is He Whom I will follow.”

What is this standard of the Lord? I believe it is found in the verse we have been using as a foundation for knowing His name. Jeremiah 9:23-24,

“…but let him who boasts, boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justices, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, declares the Lord.”

Is your banner the standard of His lovingkindness, His justice, and His righteousness? Are you holding up His standard with your conduct? Can you be identified by the One you follow? Look to the Lord and follow His way. He alone holds the victory in your life over your own personal “Amalekites”. As you fight, remember you are re-presenting His name. (CT)

“We will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners.” Psalm 20:5

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