The nation of Israel was camped in Rephidim. God had already delivered them from Egypt and was providing for their needs including water (Exodus 17:5-6). In fact, this was the place where the Israelites had asked, “Is the LORD here with us or not?”
Then the word comes that the Amalekites, another powerful nation, is about to attack. So, Moses instructs Joshua to take his soldiers and go into battle. Meanwhile, Moses will be on the mountain with his hands lifted to God.
God grants the Israelite nation victory in the battle and as a result, Moses selects a fascinating name for God.
“And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:” (Exodus 17:15, KJV)
The significance of this name can be lost to modern audiences. But to the nation of Israel, it was a powerful reminder. For during their time, a nation going into battle would display a banner (or flag).
The flag runner would be at the front of the army, carrying the nation’s symbol. Soldiers in the middle of battle could look to the banner to remember what they were fighting for. They could find strength and courage from this, for it was a rallying point in the face of death and destruction.
But there’s no record of Israel having such a banner…until Moses makes a bold declaration. He declares that God is the banner over Israel. He was making it clear to everyone that God was their rallying point. That He was the one they would find strength and courage from.
It’s easy during the battle to lose focus and get discouraged. Maybe you’ve been praying for your drug-addicted daughter to turn her life around. Perhaps you’ve cried out for your wife to be cured of cancer. Maybe you’ve begged God to heal your infertility and grant you a child.
In the battle, God is your banner. He is your strength and courage. He is the one you must turn your eyes to if you want to find victory in this place.