Bible Society of South Africa

The Lord gives us victory – 30 June 2020

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

15Moses built an altar and named it “The LORD is my Banner”.

Exodus 17:15GNBOpen in Bible reader

The banner or standard has always been very important to any army or regiment. It is the sign of who and what they are, who they are fighting for, and they will defend it with their lives. As long as they have the banner in their possession, it shows that they are not vanquished. When an army had lost a battle, the banner was the first thing the conqueror got hold of to show that he had won.

The translation for Yahweh Nissi as ”The LORD is my banner,” in a sense, alluded to the staff that God gave Moses. According to the story, as long as Moses held the pole aloft, the Israelites were winning, but as soon as he put his arms down, the Amalekites started to get the upper hand. When Moses grew tired, his arms were held up by Aaron and Hur, and thus the pole was kept visible, and Joshua and the army defeated the Amalekites.

After the victory, Moses built an altar right there on the mountain and called it “The LORD is my banner”. By naming the altar in this way, he gave honour to the One who gave them the victory. It was not Moses and his pole that determined the result of the battle, but God who made all victories possible. It was very important that the Israelites understood this concept. There was no hidden power in the staff. It was only the symbol of the presence of God.

We are sometimes so eager to carry our own banners, hold up our own poles, attribute our “victories” to our own abilities, build our own altars and show off our own prowess – forgetting that it is God alone who is able to help us to conquer life itself.

Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, please forgive me for being proud so often. Thank you for giving me the potential to be successful, but please keep me humble. Amen

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