The children of Israel had gone from Marah to Elim. At Marah, they came to know God as Jehovah - rophe , Johovah who heals. Then they went to Elim where they were rested and refreshed. Then the journey led them to Rephidim. Here there was no water at all, bitter or otherwise. Now in Chapter 17 of Exodus, they ask "Is the LORD among us or not?" God speaks to Moses and with the tap of his rod, the waters gush out of the Rock of Horeb. Now, comes the experience which occasioned jehovah to reveal Himself as Jehovah-nissi. Exodus 17:8 says: "then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim".
WHO are these Amalekites? Amalek was the grandson of Esau according to Genesis 36:12. They in Exodus 17, become the first enemy to attack Israel since coming out of Egypt. In Deuteronomy 25:17,18 we see that Moses calls upon Israel to "remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way as ye came forth out of Egypt; how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, all that were feeble behind thee, when thou was faint and weary; and he feared not God". So vicious was their attack on Israel, that God said: "For I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven" and "Jehovah hath sworn that Jehovah will have war with Amalek from generation to generation" Exodus 17:14-16
Centuries later, Samuel came to King Saul with a commission from Jehovah to utterly destroy the Amalekites with all of their possessions so that not a trace of them or theirs should remain. I Samuel 15:3 King Saul failed to do this, and ironically, it was an Amalekite that killed Saul when he was wounded in battle. II Samuel 1:16 Not until Hezekiah was the King of Judah was the commandment carried out that "the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped were smitten" I Chronicles 4:43 Still, it is noteworthy that 1,000 years after the command of God to Moses, that the Jews were almost wiped out throughout the Persian empire by the deeds of one named Haman the Agagite. Decendant of King Agag of the Amalekites! But, God took care of him!! These were a people, related to God's people, and yet constantly opposed to the purpose and plan of God.
Israel's triumph: Two factors .... Joshua and Moses. Joshua, ws once Hoshea, a prince of the tribe of Ephraim. Numbers 13:8. His name meant "to give deliverance or help". But in Numbers 13:16, Moses changed his name to Joshua, which means: "Jehovah is help, or Jehovah is Salvation". God used this man of confidence to win the battle. The other factor is Moses. He stands on hilltop with the "rod of God" in his hand. As it is raised up over his head, the Israelites win the battle. When it is lowered with heavy arms, the Amalekites start winning the battle. Aaron and Hur will help stay his hands above his head, and the battle will be won by Joshua and the Israelites.
It is this rod that represents the banner of God. A banner was not necessarily a flag as it would be today, but a bare pole with a bright shining ornament. Banner means "to glisten". It is a symbol or standard that signals to God's people to rally to God.
A Rephidim, God's people must fight. We too are to "fight the good fight of faith" and "earnestly contend for the faith". We are to "endure hardness as a good soldier" and "put on the whole armor of God." The Christian is called into a warfare! A fight! But, not one fought solely in the flesh. We war against "powers and principalities", and we cannot fight this fight alone. The presence of Jehovah-nissi must be with us. HE is our banner!! We go under His direction, we battle with His strength, and with Him, we are assured that it is God "which giveth us the victory through our LORD Jesus Christ" and that HE "always causeth us to triumph in Christ".
As the rod held over Moses' head; As the brazen serpent in the wilderness; so the Cross of Christ is our banner. Our emblem of victory! Our banner of complete and total victory throughout eternity. Jehovah-nissi, Jehovah our Banner!!
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