Names of God – Part 38
The LORD is our Banner
YHWH is God’s actual name which he revealed to Moses from the burning bush, it implies the personal nature of God.
The second part of the name here is how God relates to us: YHWH Nissi (Yahweh is my banner) is the name given to an altar built after defeating the Amalekites at Rephidim. This is the only time that this name appears on the Bible, in Exodus chapter 15.
There is no equivalence here to the Roman Emporer Constantine using the cross as a banner to defeat his enemies. The circumstances are altogether different. Constantine was the overlord, the Hebrews were the underdogs. Constantine was the attacker, the Hebrews were attacked.
The story of Rephidim is that after escaping from Egypt through the Red Sea, the Hebrews were in the desert, heading to Mount Sinai, and water was scarce. God told Moses to strike a rock, which he did, and water poured from the rock. Now that there was an oasis, the military power of that area, Amelek, attacked the Hebrews, who were defeated whilst Moses prayed to God.
God protected his people, the Hebrews, who were the victims of an attack and untrained in warfare. God often takes the side of the oppressed people when they turn to him. God has revealed his heart for the oppressed, for widows and orphans.
The lesson here is that if you are in a position of power, do not use your privilege against those who are weaker than you are. That is not the way God does things. God’s banner is not about aggression but protection. His banner is love.