Tuesday, August 28, 2007

In Other Words

"Under the banner of God, victory is always assured; but apart from it, defeat is a certainty. When the banner of God's rod was not held high, Amalek prevailed.
You can't do battle against the flesh under your own power."

~ Kay Arthur ~
Lord, I Want to Know

In the Ladies Bible study that I was blessed enough to attend on various Thursday evenings, we did a study on the names of God.
One of the names of God, is YHWH Nissi, which means Lord my Banner.

I found my old study guide sheet for that name of God and wanted to share some of it with you. Please note: I am paraphrasing my study guide, but these are not my words. The study sheet was written by Sharon, my Bible study leader. I also realized once I was finished, that this is very long. I apologize, but I think it's worth the read! ;o)

The Israelites had started on their journey, but they were thirsty and found that there was no water to drink.They became frustrated and irritated and began to quarrel with Moses and said, "Is God with us or not?"
God wasn't angered by this. He knew that they had a lot to learn. But God proved His presence and provision, by having Moses strike a rock allowing water to gush forth.

After that, the Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands."

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered and Moses, Aaron & Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but when ever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. Then Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone & put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron & Hur held his hands up-one on one side, one on the other-so that Moses' hands remained steady till the sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven."

Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. He said, "For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD." Ex:17:8-16

There are two words translated banner in the OT. This one –Nes- is the most significant of the two. It literally means that which shines or that which is lifted up. The nes was a banner raised on special occasion and always on some elevated place or object used as a rallying point to call the whole people together to hear some vital message or to assemble for some important action.

Moses named the altar of thanksgiving, after the defeat of Amalek, YHWH Nissi. The altar was a memorial that YHWH enabled HIS people against their foes. Therefore announcing that the LORD HIMSELF is the rallying point for HIS people and thereby kindle hope and effort in difficult/impossible situations.

The battle and the altar announced that GOD HIMSELF is the banner/ that point to look to for enablement and deliverance. Since the battle with Amelek directly follows YHWH's giving them water from a rock we see GOD bring the point home by repetition. When a need arises reach out to GOD for supply, enablement and protection.

But it wasn't long after the battle that was won, that the Israelites became discouraged again. They were hungry and thirsty. They spoke against GOD and against Moses and said, "Why have YOU brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is not bread and there is no water! And we detest this miserable food."

Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them and they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD told him to put a snake on a nes and lift the nes up in the sight of the people so when they were bit they could choose to look at it. If they had been bitten and then looked to it they would healed and not die of the bite.

Here we think of judgment but do you see that the LORD in great love/ yes, I said love - sent more on top of their present heavy struggles for the purpose that they come to the end of themselves and cry out (reach out Act 17:26,27) to GOD their NES! The rally point/ their source of supply

You may ask how I can say it was love, not damning judgment. What GOD told Moses to do proves GOD's motive of love. GOD told Moses to make a snake and put it up on a NES (lift up the NES in the sight of the people) Anyone who is bitten can look at it and live..

If one would only choose to believe looking would help & look at the snake they would be healed. But that would take faith for it sounds ridiculous! (But GOD loves to use foolish things to confound the wise and asks that we walk by faith)

GOD says that these things happened for our learning (I Cor 10:6,11) For GOD was painting another picture. JESUS explains that picture in Jn 3:14, 15 "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert so I must be lifted up that everyone that believes in ME may have eternal life.

When we focus on the difficulties/ problems / our now situation we have taken our eyes off JESUS. HE is our Shepherd and without HIM we get lost real quick. HE calls but we don't often listen. HE must keep us close to protect us from all the dangers in the world therefore we must learn to focus on HIM. Lam 3 speaks loudly on the subject of what happens when we refuse to do this & I suggest that sometime you prayerfully read through.

Lamentations 3:39-41
39 Why should a living man complain,
A man for the punishment of his sins?
40 Let us search out and examine our ways,
And turn back to the LORD;
41 Let us lift our hearts and hands
To God in heaven.


Side note: I really needed this study today. My hubby and I are dealing with some stuff right now...mainly worry wanting to sneak in and discourage us. We are job searching and it has been rough. This was JUST WHAT I NEEDED today. Thank you Loni for today's quote! God Bless you!