The LORD is my Banner

Many debate whether Yahweh is involved in our life events or not, and also, if He is involved, to what extent He is involved. Is He really interested in helping me with my problems? Is He really there to support me in times of trouble?  Let us look at a record of Moses leading the children of Israel into battle against the Amalekites to help us make a determination about the reality of experiencing Him through events and circumstances in our own lives.

The record covered in Exodus 17:8-16 follows an incident when Israel was quite angry at Moses and Yahweh because they were in an arid place with no water to drink. To remedy this, Yahweh had Moses strike a specific rock and then water gushed out of it. Yahweh chastised the Israelites for their unbelief when they murmured, “Is the LORD among us, or not?”

After that problem was solved, the Amalekites, pagan enemies of Israel, came to Rephidim where they were camped, and Moses knew what to do.

Exodus 17:9-10   So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

Taking the staff of God in Moses’ hand represented God’s involvement and power in the battle.  Just before this, Yahweh told Moses to take his staff and strike the appointed rock where water spewed out. This staff was the same one that Moses used to strike the Nile and turn it into blood. It was a symbol of Yahweh’s power and might.

The Amalekites were the first to fight against the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. Amalek and his people were marauders who attacked the weak and weary of the Israelites and “did not fear God” (Deut. 25:18b).

During this battle at Rephidim, the armies were in the valley, and they could easily see Moses, Aaron, and Hur on the top of the hill.  What Moses did was quite unusual.

Exodus 17:11   So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed.

The battle was clearly being directed by Yahweh. Moses was familiar with raising his hand with the staff to Yahweh. In Exodus 9:22, Moses was instructed to stretch out his hand with his staff toward the sky, and Yahweh caused thunder, hail, and fire to run down to the earth. Hail rained severely, and the lightning was the worst they had ever encountered in Egypt. So holding his arm up with the staff had great meaning to all of Israel.

A battle generally takes a lot of time.  Moses became tired.

Exodus 17:12-13   But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

This is such a wonderful detail about Moses becoming tired and having to sit down and requiring help to hold up his hands with the staff.  The battle was clearly Yahweh’s. It could not be said it was won by Moses’ might for sure!  Aaron and Hur were there to support Moses. Yahweh made sure that Moses could do the task at hand. Yahweh had a job for Moses to do and gave him the ability to do it.

How many times do we shirk away from some event, circumstance, or problem because we think we cannot do it? The truth is we cannot, but with Yahweh, we can.  He provides the wisdom, strength, and power to get our work accomplished.  We also may need the help of others in the body of Christ to assist us in our work.  By Moses’ example, we are to accept help so that we can succeed, keeping our eyes steadfast on Yahweh.

Exodus 17:14-15   Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner;

Later, Amalek and his people were overcome finally by King David and utterly destroyed by the Simeonites at Mount Seir (1 Chronicles 4:43). To this day, there are no archeological findings to support that there ever were Amalekites.  Yahweh said He would “blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven,” and He did.

Back to the concern if Yahweh is involved in our lives, it clearly appears He fights our battles, helps us when in need, and cares about our well-being. (Remember the water coming out of a rock – enough for all 2 million people plus livestock?)  Reading records like this in the Scriptures builds our faith that Yahweh is indeed uniquely and powerfully involved in our lives when we are believers in Him and His Son, Jesus the Messiah.  When we look to Him, He is there to give us what we need (i.e., wisdom, peace, longsuffering, patience, forgiveness, and love). We may need support from the body of Christ. We cannot do this battle of life on our own.

Armies would carry a banner out in front of their soldiers to identify who they are. The banner could generally be seen from a distance and the opposing or confederate soldiers would know who to fight or not to fight.  After the battle, Moses built an altar and named it ‘Yahweh is my Banner’.  He did this to remind Israel of the victory that Yahweh provided. Every day, wherever we are, we need to remember that Yahweh is our banner, our protector, our provider, the One who loves us, gave His Son for us, and is present all the time.

It is profitable to remember where and when Yahweh has clearly intervened in our lives. Writing these events down in a journal helps us to be able to go back and remember when we get disheartened. Ask Yahweh to help you remember them.

Psalm 103:2-5   Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits;  Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

Just as Moses sat on a stone on top of a hill with two friends helping him hold his hands and staff up; just as those warriors on the field of battle kept their eyes on Moses representing Yahweh’s power; just as Yahweh was victorious against the Amalekites and utterly destroyed those who hated Yahweh and His people, He will do the same for you and me. His banner is ever before us as His people.

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