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The next in our series of the names of God, Jehovah Nissi, meaning The Lord is my Banner, is not commonly used today but is so powerful. If you haven’t heard this name of God before or wonder what Jehovah Nissi means, I want us to dig into the meaning of this Hebrew name of God, where we find it in scripture, and what it means to us today. (If you missed the previous posts on the names of God, you can find them here: Jehovah Rapha, Abba, Adonai, Yahweh, Jehovah Rohi, Jehovah Elohim, and Jehovah Jireh)
What Does Jehovah Nissi Mean?
Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly.
Nes (nês), from which Nissi is derived, means “banner” in Hebrew. In Exodus 17:15, Moses, recognizing that the Lord was Israel’s banner under which they defeated the Amalekites, builds an altar named Jehovah Nissi (the Lord our Banner).
Nes is sometimes translated as a pole with an insignia attached. In battle, opposing nations would fly their flag on a pole at each of their respective front lines. This was to give their soldiers a feeling of hope and a focal point. This is what God is to us: a banner of encouragement to provide us with hope and a focal point.
Below are some verses where you can find Jehovah Nissi in its original or Hebrew form:
Let’s take a closer look at Exodus 17:15 and how we can apply that verse and God’s name to our lives:
After leaving their oppressive bondage in Egypt, the Israelites found themselves wandering through a hostile desert. But even this seemingly insurmountable challenge was no match for the strength of God! While being attacked by the Amalekites—a powerful group dreaded throughout many lands—Moses stood atop a hill with nothing but his faith and trust in Jehovah-Nissi. In one hand, he wielded “the rod of God” from which clearly miraculous events had already been performed – like providing water amidst an arid landscape.
It was no ordinary battle between the Israelites and Amalekites; Moses’ success depended on his hands staying in the air! Eventually, it became too much for him to bear, so Aaron and Hur stepped up and gave him some support by each lifting one of his arms. After hours of struggle, Jehovah-Nissi (which translates as ‘The Lord is my banner’) shone through by providing strength to claim victory over their enemy.
The Israelites’ improbable victory in battle was no accident. With their own military might failing, divine intervention clearly gave them the edge – a stunning reminder that we are never too far from God’s protective hand! That day it became unmistakably clear who has control of every situation: “The battle is the Lord’s.”
Just as a soldier rallies around their country’s flag, the Israelites rallied under God’s banner in battle. With His strength and guidance, they conquered every challenge that stood before them – guided by Jehovah-Nissi (God is my Banner). Such was their faith that even when outnumbered, they defended with courage, knowing it was an opportunity to fight victoriously for Him.
Moses’ raising of his rod in battle is a symbol of intercessory prayer – the power of righteous people seeking God’s blessing, even as their earthly strength fails. Jehovah-Nissi was how this victory altar got its name; it reminds us all that our sure triumph lies only when we look to and honor His Name above any other.
Remember that Banners are Visible
Banners are attention grabbers! They make a statement and demand to be seen – whether it’s celebrating an accomplishment, keeping the memory of someone alive, or spreading the news, they exist as powerful symbols.
Banners live to be seen! They beckon strangers, inviting them in with their colorful display. A banner lures the curious and draws people together.
God is the protective symbol of us as believers, who have faith in Him like Moses, Aaron, Hur, and Joshua before us. He’s our banner—our Jehovah Nissi!
Jesus is Our Banner
Isaiah had a special message for us; he spoke of the coming Messiah who would be like a shining beacon to guide people all around the world. In his words, this hope was pictured as an outstretched ‘banner’ for the nations”.
In Romans 15:12, the apostle Paul quotes Isaiah’s words and applies them to Jesus. And Jesus Himself said,
When Moses held his staff above the Israelites in battle, it was a symbolic gesture of God’s protection. Jesus is our banner of salvation; when He was lifted up on the cross to face death and defeat Satan, that act ushered in an indomitable power over all evil forces attempting to encroach upon us. As long as we fixate on His sacrifice for us, no force can ever overcome us!
Jehovah Nissi is a name for God found only in Exodus 17:15, which translates to ‘God Is My Banner.’ The Bible uses this symbol of protection and salvation as an example of His unwavering faithfulness.
God’s banner is a symbol of who truly belongs to Him – those He has redeemed from their sins, giving them eternal life. What a remarkable privilege it is for us to be part of His family!
How God is Our Banner – Jehovah Nissi Still Today
Each day we rejoice in the grace offered through God’s extraordinary guidance. His steadfast love is like a banner soaring over us, constantly reminding us of how our faith has been blessed by scripture, Christ, and all He stands for.
We are so blessed to be called children of God, adopted through the miraculous work of Jesus. As representatives on earth, we joyfully display His banner and make visible His beautiful transformation work.
God is our banner, inviting us to open our hearts and minds to Him. Even if we don’t yet understand the full extent of what it means or how to do so – He will lead the way.
The Lord Is My Banner, and We Are the Lord’s
When Moses created the altar, “The LORD is my banner,” he was making a statement of thanksgiving and remembrance, declaring that we were chosen by God to be His people. It’s something any believer in Jesus now can proclaim – celebrating victory under our faithful Lord, Who stands as an unwavering symbol for us all.
Lessons from Moses and Jehovah Nissi
1) God will fight for us.
Despite having no battle experience, God gave Israel the strength to overcome their formidable enemies, the Amalekites. With the Lord’s intervention, they found success in a seemingly impossible situation – proving that our heavenly Father is always ready and willing to come alongside us during times of struggle!
Scripture tells us,
We have an incredible opportunity to join God in achieving victory – He’ll do His part as long as we do ours! Just look at what happened with Moses and the Israelites: by cooperating, they triumphed over their enemies. So let’s work together for success that comes from depending on our Creator!
2) Come alongside others to gain victory in their lives
When we help others achieve the victories God desires for them, it’s like being Aaron and Hur to Moses. We can be encouragers in their daily battles, lifting up prayers on their behalf and providing strength when they feel weak.
3) Remember and Celebrate God
Celebrating the unique way that God leads and guides our paths is a powerful reminder of His presence in, and impact on, our lives. Just like Moses built an altar to commemorate all He had done for Israel as, Jehovah Nissi, The Lord Is My Banner, it’s important for us today to take time out from the busyness of life and remember what God has already accomplished for us – because there are so many blessings we can give Him thanks for! Not only that, but He also reminds us through scripture – “Don’t be afraid; I will never leave you”– further solidifying his promise always to stand by your side.
4) Show Gratitude for the Blessings God Has Given Us
We should express gratitude for God’s blessings. The psalmist wrote:
Demonstrating our appreciation for the Lord signals both our adoration and an invitation to others. Through expressing gratitude, we honor Him and encourage those around us.
Applying God’s Name Jehovah Nissi to Your Life
God provides us with “weapons” to fight spiritual and earthly battles. From Ephesians 6:13-18, what are the weapons God supplies in order for us to fight a spiritual battle?
How can things like Truth, Christ’s Righteousness, Salvation, Faith, God’s Word, etc., be used as weapons against the devil, our sinful nature, and the temptations of the world?
How do you “put on” the armor of God? Which of these are offensive weapons? Defensive weapons? When have these weapons helped you? How can you use them for someone else?
Use this week to focus on the “weapons” that God has provided us and put at least one weapon to use this week.
Jehovah Nissi Song of Praise and Worship
What Banners Are You Waving?
Above, we learned that Nissi was derived from the Hebrew word Nes (nês), and is translated as “banner” A banner is raised or displayed to honor and celebrate.
As a football fan, my husband has a Kansas City Chiefs banner hanging in our media room.
As proud Americans, we display the American flag on a flagpole out on our property.
We create and hang banners to celebrate events or people.
Do you attend church on Sunday, yet cuss like a sailor and wear revealing clothes?
Do you read your Bible at home, but spend your weekends at the bar?
What banner are your words and behaviors displaying to those around you? Those who you can reach for the Kingdom of God?
Banners mark places and honor people, but they also serve as name badges.
Does your name badge read “Daughter of the King” or “Sunday prophet and weekday sinner”?
What battles are you fighting today?
Is the battle you are in one that the Lord has chosen for you?
Strange question, isn’t it? Scripture is very clear in this last passage that the Lord, in fact, chooses certain battles for us to fight. Does He lead the way as Jehovah Nissi in your current battles?
Perhaps the battle you are in is a battle that you have chosen, one that is outside the will of God. Are you fighting in your own strength? Are you struggling to be victorious in the battle? If Jehovah Nissi is leading the way in your struggle, then you are assured success, but if you are fighting your battle in your own strength, your defeat is imminent.
Where in your life do you need God to show Himself strong as Jehovah Nissi – the Lord my Banner – and go before you so that you may know victory?
Questions to Ponder and Discuss
Click the image below for a SEVEN-page PDF with questions to dig deeper into not only studying God’s name, Jehovah Nissi but applying this attribute of Him to your everyday life.
When I’m fighting a battle, I love listening to this song. Surrender (Fight my Battles). What a great reminder that God, Jehovah Nissi, fights our battles!
Jehovah Nissi Prayer
Thank you, Lord, Jehovah Nissi. I praise You as You are the God to fights my battles and is victorious over all evil. I’m thankful to be a soldier for you.
Lord, thank you for fighting for me and leading me to victory against every temptation, impure thought, distraction, and self-centeredness. I have been saved by the blood of Jesus through You and your victory over sin.
I bless and praise Your name, Jehovah Nissi.
I humbly ask that you give me the courage, strength, and peace to fight this spiritual battle that I’m facing. The evil one may be attacking, but You are my banner, my stronghold, and You defeat every evil.
Please give me peace over this issue and fill my mind with the confidence of absolute victory.
I will rejoice that you have already defeated my enemy and have won this battle for me.
To learn more about this, consider checking out the Hebrew Institute of Biblical Studies article on this topic.
Or, to really dig deeper into the meaning of God’s name Jehovah Nissi, here are some recommended resources:
Jehovah Nissi: Perfect Redemption Plan by Gery Malanda
100 Names of God Daily Devotional by Christopher D Hudson
Or you may wish to listen to them on Audible Plus with a free trial!
Because of Him,
ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”