Today's chapter was encouraging to me. Today I read Exodus 17. This chapter can be divided into two parts. The first part showed the Israelites thirsty once more, and complaining to Moses once more. And once again, they were asking him why he brought them out of Egypt only to die of thirst. God gave Moses directions, and by striking a rock with his staff, water began pouring out of the rock so the Israelites could drink their fill. The Israelites had further proof that God would take care of their every need, even when it seems impossible. What impossible need am I finding today? It would do well to remember the Israelites and how God took care of them at all times.
The second part of the chapter is actually the focus of today. In this chapter, the Israelites were challenged by the Amalekites. They came to fight the Israelites. Moses sent Joshua with the Israelites to fight the army, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to a nearby hill. Moses held his staff up and while he was holding up the staff, the Israelites were winning. But when Moses's arsm would grow tired and he would lower the staff, the Amalekites would gain the advantage. eventually, Moses could not hold his arms for another minute, so Aaron found a rock for Moses to sit on, and while Moses sat, Aaron and Hur stood on either side of him and held up his arms for him. As a result, Joshua and the Israelite troops defeated the Amalekites. God told Joshua and Moses that he would be at war with the Amalekites for every generation, because they dared come after the Lord's throne. This is where God is introduced as Yahweh Nissi- which means"The Lord Is My Banner."
Now I admit that at first I was a little stumped as to what "The Lord Is My Banner" could entail. I mean, when you think of the word banner, you think of a flag or a fancy poster like thing announcing an event. Why would the Lord want to be a banner? That doesn't make sense. But then I thought for a while and thought on ancient war. I'm no war expert, but I do know that once upon a time, people fought "under" a banner at war. Whether that be the banner signifying a King or a Noble or other member of royalty, a banner represented that person. Moses, in this case, was being a standard bearer. By holding up his staff, Moses was holding up God's Banner, and the Amalekites still dared to wage war. Subsequently, they were defeated.
In this instance, the Amalekites could represent just about anything. But today they are going to represent selfishness. The represent the selfish nature that we all have and God fights and puts to death. We all battle that selfish nature, likely on a daily basis. Yet we can find the strength to overcome that selfishness in prayer and communication with God. He will give us the strength to overcome the selfish nature. Yahweh Nissi can help us win the battle, all we have to do is ask and he will be our standard- or our banner in the battle.
Right now I'm battling with myself. I'm really struggling with some issues that are going on with our church and some other people within. While I am certain that I am right about some of these, I also don't think that it is right for me to bring the situations to anyone's attention. I think that would bring up conflict, which we really don't want in our small church. But it is so hard! It is hard right now for me to even want to go to church. As many times as I can pray about these things and say "God, please take care of this" they are staying at the forefront of my mind and causing some problems for me. Today's reading was definitely needed. Somehow, I do need to be able to completely give my battles to God. Hopefully by spending more time in his word and in prayer, a solution can be revealed. Something that will make me better able to follow his command and fellowship, because right now, that isn't really possible for me.
Yahweh Nissi, he will be my Banner.